Empire lacrosse: Casa Grande boys remain unbeaten with rout of Cardinal Newman

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The Casa Grande High School boys lacrosse team kept its unbeaten streak alive by relying on a heavy offensive attack and tough defense to beat Cardinal Newman 16-2 Friday night in Santa Rosa.

“We have some guys that can ping the ball around pretty good and are pretty aggressive attacking the cage and they did a pretty good job of that tonight. And the defense only gave up two goals — that’s going to help you a lot in this sport,” Casa Grande coach Benjamin Hewitt said.

The Gauchos (16-0 overall, 7-0 North Bay League) previously defeated the Cardinals (6-6, 3-5 NBL) 18-3 back on March 27.

“Any adjustments we made were super-duper subtle. We were more focused on us than them for the purposes of this game,” Hewitt said when asked about changes his team made ahead of Friday’s rematch.

In the last 10 games of Casa Grande’s 16-game win streak, the Gauchos have truly dominated — outscoring opponents an impressive 172-46. Before their win Friday, MaxPreps ranked the Gauchos 14th in the state and 88th in the country.

Casa proved to be too tough of a foe for Newman who, after starting the season winning five of its six games, had recently entered a losing slump — dropping four of its last six.

Casa did not waste any time in Friday’s game, getting on the board two minutes into the first quarter as Josh Garcia drove to Cardinals goalie Eddy Calderon, sending in a quick shot past his head and into the back of the net for an early 1-0 lead.

On nearly every offensive possession, Casa found a good look and sent some hard shots at Calderon — but he also made some equally good saves after letting in the early goal.

Halfway through the quarter, the Gauchos wore Calderon down and scored again — this time on Joe Veliquette’s wraparound shot from behind the net.

Less than a minute later, Casa struck again on an accurate long-range shot from Colin Patchet that flew by Calderon’s legs.

The Gauchos finished the quarter strong as Zachary Labanowski, Dominic Gomi and Jeremy Bonner each scored to give Casa a 6-0 lead after the first.

The Gauchos were not only dominant on offense but also relentless on defense, as they forced multiple turnovers and delivered some crushing blows throughout the game.

Casa continued to put the ball in the net with relative ease though the second quarter as Todd Evans, Logan Rogers and Dylan Guth each scored once, and Garcia scored twice.

With less than 10 seconds left in the half, Newman was able to get on the board as Chase O’ Keefe scored on a breakaway opportunity.

The Gauchos led 11-1 at the half.

Casa opened the second half with another quick goal as Rowan Pritchard scored after a quick cut toward the net.

But Newman answered this time with a goal of its own, with Tyler Facto scoring on an assist following another breakaway run.

Despite the Cardinals’ response, Casa continued its success on offense as Pritchard and David Grant each found the back of the net in the third to give the Gauchos a 14-2 lead heading into the final quarter.

Casa focused on running out the clock in the fourth but still was able to tack on two more goals, from Grant and Mason Colaizzi, to cap the 16-2 victory.

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