Jesuit Classic Headlines Recent Boys' Action

The 15th annual Jesuit Lacrosse Classic came to a conclusion on Sunday following a busy three-day slate of boys' lacrosse. After a 14-year run seeing Washington, DC-based schools Georgetown Prep and Gonzaga College High School serve as hosts, the Classic moved south to warmer weather this year and was hosted by Strake Jesuit College Prep in Houston, Texas.

A total of nine teams from New York to California participated in this year's tournament, including prominent programs St. Ignatius Prep (CA), Gonzaga and Dallas Jesuit (TX).

"This was a fantastic experience for the kids," said Dallas Jesuit head coach Chris Surran, whose team went 3-1 overall during the tournament. "The guys at Strake Jesuit jumped on the opportunity to host the event this year so teams from both coasts could meet in a central location. The tournament went really smoothly, and I think it's an event that we'll always try to participate in."

Former host school Gonzaga went 3-0 overall during this year's Classic, posting a 11-7 victory over Saint Ignatius Prep, a 14-4 win over Tampa Jesuit and a 14-11 victory over Dallas Jesuit. Gonzaga (5-1) impressively swept through the field this season despite facing a trio of teams with a combined record of 22-6. With standout midfielder David Planning leading the charge, the Purple Eagles averaged 13 goals per game and displayed some dominant, aggressive defense that simply couldn't be matched at times.

Perhaps Dallas Jesuit (7-1) raised the most eyebrows this weekend, winning three of four games overall, and even posting a remarkable come-from-behind 8-7 win over Fordham Prep (NY) on Saturday. Facing a two-goal deficit in the fourth quarter, the Rangers gradually climbed back into the contest before attack Buck McClure tallied the game-winner with just 35 seconds remaining.

"The execution at the end of the game was exceptional," Surran said. "We had to run a lot of plays on the fly because Fordham was rotating its defense so well. That program has really improved since last year and is definitely a team to watch."

The Rangers also notched a 15-9 win over Rockhurst (MO) and a 14-8 victory over Tampa Jesuit before falling to Gonzaga, 14-11. Along with McClure, senior Richie Sapp, junior Matt Miller and midfielder Alex Petsos all combined to make quite a formidable unit over the weekend, demonstrating outstanding play at the face-off X and plenty of fireworks on the offensive end as well.

"Overall, I thought our team performed well against some great competition," Surran said. "This is my favorite event of the year. It's really beneficial because it exposes your weaknesses right away against some of the best athletes and teams. Now we know exactly what to focus on in order to get better."

Meanwhile, Saint Ignatius Prep and Fordham both finished 2-1 overall at the Classic, each registering a pair of dominant victories along with one close defeat. Arguably the most-anticipated match-up of the tournament witnessed Saint Ignatius get nipped by Gonzaga on Saturday, 11-7. Although the Wildcats stormed out to a 3-0 advantage early, the experience and depth of the Purple Eagles proved to be too much for the Wildcats.

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