Casa Grande patiently rallied in the second half to win the showdown of lacrosse unbeatens Friday evening, defeating rival Petaluma, 10-9.
Playing before a large an enthusiastic crowd at Lucchesi Park, Casa Grande regrouped after trailing at the half, 5-4, to charge to victory in the second half, keeping constant pressure on the Petaluma goal. However, unlike in the first half, when the Gauchos fired quickly at almost every opportunity, only to be frustrated by outstanding stops from Trojan goalie Hunter Mevis, Casa was more deliberate in the second half, taking its time to set up for good shots.
"We made a couple of minor adjustments," said Casa Grande coach Ben Hewitt, "but more than anything else, the guys were more patient in the second half."
Although there was little to choose between the two rivals throughout the game. With both showing sparks of domination, only to have the pendulum swing the other way, Petaluma did seem to have a slight advantage through the first half, only to see Casa Grande some alive in the second half.
"We played with more passion in the second half," Hewitt said. "Petaluma is a really good club. Thy take advantage of every mistake."
The Casa Grande win didn't negate a brilliant performance by Petaluma's Maxwell Krieg, who was a threat every time the Trojans went on the attack. He finished with five goals. Charles Walker also had a big game for the Trojans with three goals. Bradley Alvarez accounted for the other Trojan score.
Casa Grande scoring was much more balanced, with Luke Durkin scoring three goals, Angelo Lagomarsini, Devin Felger and Joe Reid two each and Cody Husa one.
Although both teams scored, it was not at will, with both putting up stiff defensive resistance in front of goalies Mevis for the Trojans and Cameron Guerner and Colin Ridenour for the Gauchos.
With emotions running high the entire game, excitement elevated even more as Petaluma valiantly, but ultimately vainly, tried to even the score as they final minutes ticked away. The last Petaluma effort ended with a crucial pass interception by Casa's Miles Gardea that gave the Gauchos a chance to calmly run out the clock without the Trojans ever regaining possession.
Petaluma is now 8-1 for the season, while Casa Grande is 8-2 overall, but 8-0 in league with both its losses coming in a pre-league visit to Las Vegas.
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