It’s not easy to make history at a high school that was founded more than 125 years ago, but the Long Beach Poly boys’ lacrosse team did just that on Tuesday afternoon on Burcham Field. The Jackrabbits earned the school’s first ever playoff win in lacrosse, easily dispatching of University High, 15-4, in their CIF-SS Division 3 first round matchup.
The visiting Trojans scored the first goal of the day, but the Jackrabbits proceeded to rattle off 14 consecutive goals to put the game out of reach and advance to the quarterfinals.
“The boys came out to play, we were getting paid today,” said Poly head coach Milan Moliere after the win, “That’s been our mantra this whole season. Goals equals money, and we’re filling our pockets right now … The boys just went off. The chemistry was there, everybody is gelling. The defense was solid, the offense was solid, we just handled it.”
Poly was led by a six-goal performance from Griffin Jeannette, who was active cutting in front of the goal all day and was set up with some quality point-blank looks from his teammates.
“This was just phenomenal,” said Jeannette after the win. “Being out here with these guys is great. They’re the best group of guys I’ve ever played with and I’m glad to go through this ride with them. I think the passes were connecting today, the cuts were there, and people had their heads up and it helped a lot. First game of CIF definitely had a different energy so everyone was coming out a lot more excited.”
Jeannette had four of his six goals in the first half, and got scoring help from Jason O”Toole who added a first-half hat trick. Je’shawn Walker netted all three of his goals after halftime and Gavin Cuellar added a pair of second-half goals as well.
Poly’s dominance really came through on the defensive end, where senior Kyle Johnson was again terrific between the pipes with 17 saves. After University’s Collin Nguyen scored the first goal of the game less than two minutes in, the Jackrabbits tightened up their defense and held the Trojans scoreless for over 33 minutes. By the time Uni scored their second goal, there was less than a minute to play in the third quarter and the visitors trailed 14-2.
The Jackrabbits will hit the road for the quarterfinals on Friday, visiting a Temecula Valley team that had a first-round bye.
When asked if the Jackrabbits are playing their best lacrosse of the season, Moliere didn’t hesitate.
“Definitely,” said a confident head coach after the win. “If the boys play like this for the rest of the playoffs, we’ve got it in the bag no problem. I’ve got full confidence in my boys.”