By Rick LeBeau
In the CIF Division III boys’ championship final played Nov. 17 at the Coggan Family Aquatic Complex in La Jolla, Cathedral Catholic played catch-up all game long, through regulation play and then into overtime, finally taking its first and only lead of the game with 90 seconds remaining in the second overtime period, then holding on to give coach Bret Ormsby’s squad the crown with a 9-8 final score.
Bishop’s actually took control early, scoring on their first possession when senior Chris Hewitt’s shot from 7 meters found its way through a thicket of outstretched arms to hit the back of the net. From there, Viktor Wrobel took over offensive duties for Bishop’s, scoring on a man-advantage situation and then again from outside to put the Knight’s up 3-0 with just five minutes gone in the game. Moments later, Caleb Schultz blocked a penalty shot for the Knights, preserving the shutout. At that point it looked like it was going to be all Bishop’s.
When Evan Elig scored with 2:13 to go in the half, the Knights once again had a three-goal lead in a contest that was increasingly dominated by defense. On their last possession of the first half, Bishop’s earned another ejection foul, and called time out. Coach Ormsby told his team that he just wanted a stop on that man-down situation, and even if they went into halftime down 4-1, they would figure out a way to scrape their way back into the game. Ormsby’s words were prescient, as the Dons did shut down the Knights for those 30 seconds, and started the third quarter with a renewed offensive purpose.
Coming out of halftime, Jordan Colina scored the first of his four goals to bring the Dons within two, and then took advantage of a 5-meter penalty shot to get Cathedral within a goal. Wrobel then scored his third goal from outside to give Bishop’s a bit of breathing room, but by the end of the quarter, lefty Austin Rone had scored his first goal for the Dons, and Colina added his third goal of the quarter on a counter-attack to tie the game heading into the final quarter of regulation.
The fourth quarter continued the seesaw scoring, with Bishop’s taking the lead on another outside shot by Hewitt. Then Elig gave the Knights the lead at 7-6 when he buried a beautiful backhand shot while being double-teamed. Spotting the Bishop’s goalie out of position, Rone then put in a perfectly placed lob shot tie the score once again with a full three minutes to go. Both teams were unyielding on defense until the final buzzer of regulation, and the crowd was whipped into a frenzy at the prospect of overtime play.
Both defenses dominated again in OT, as Bishop’s scored to take its final lead at 8-7 on a penalty shot by Wrobel late in the first 3-minute overtime period. Cody Smith knotted the game yet again for the Dons on their first possession of the second overtime, setting the stage for the final act, a 5-meter penalty shot by Colina with 1:27 remaining. Cathedral defended their only lead of the game — 9-8 — for the remainder of the period, as Bishop’s was unable to mount a serious offensive threat.
Viktor Wrobel and Jordan Colina led all scorers with four goals each, while Cody Smith, Austin Rone, Evan Elig and Chriss Hewitt each contributed two to their teams’ efforts.