Fairytale Season Ends as CVHS Boys Lacrosse Loses in Championship Match

The CVHS boys’ lacrosse team was all smiles after its CIF-SS victory over Downey.
Photos by Justin HAGER

By Justin HAGER

Many forget that the original Grimm Brothers Fairy Tales were dark stories that often ended in tragedy. True to form, the CIF-Southern Section boys’ lacrosse championship match between CVHS and the Vista Murrieta Broncos had enough twists and turns to be worthy of the annals of great literature and ended in a tragedy for our heroes’ fairy tale season.

As reported last week, the Falcon boys’ lacrosse team entered this weekend’s championship match with the 13 founding members of the team, now all seniors, ready to compete for the Southern Section title.

The match started as a defensive battle with neither team able to score until less than five minutes remained in the first quarter. But a shaky defensive half for the Falcons gave Vista Murrieta the early lead, 2-0 at the end of the first.

         With an assist from junior Parker Trillo, Falcon sophomore Quincy Lunt would finally put the Falcons on the board in the second, bringing the game to 2-1. But CV struggled to contain Bronco seniors Tanner Ennis and Luke Kish. Ennis scored two in the second quarter while Kish, who had already scored once in the first, added another goal with less than 20 seconds remaining in the half giving the Broncos a dominant 5-1 lead.

But Falcon senior standout and co-captain Mason Daly wasn’t ready to end the half. Winning the faceoff, Daly ran down the field and in just nine seconds secured another goal for CVHS, making the score 5-2 going into halftime.

Teammates celebrate as junior Anthony Gharapitian gets the game ball for scoring his first career goal.

The third quarter added to the drama as the two teams traded a set of goals, putting the Falcons at a dangerous three-goal deficit, trailing 7-4 heading into the fourth and final quarter of play.

Those who have followed CVW coverage of Falcon boys’ lacrosse this year know that these boys are a second half team that does not go down without a fight. Saturday’s championship match was not an exception. Led by a squad of seniors that include Henry Kaufman, Easton Caneva, Ezra Suh, Nathan Kilgore, Mason Daly, Dylan Valdez and goaltender Hayden Lunt the Falcons stormed onto the field for the fourth quarter.

Following a flurry of activity the Falcons scored four goals in less than six minutes, giving them their first lead of the match with just 6:19 remaining on the clock; all they had to do was hold the lead.

Coach Nik Soforenko said, “There was no doubt in my mind that the Falcons would come back,” adding, “I knew it was going to happen, if you’re up four or five goals on us, it doesn’t matter.”

However, as with all great fairy tales, the villain often rises in the final moments. And with just 23 seconds left in the game, and victory within the grasp of the Falcons, Vista Murrieta scored to send the game into a sudden death overtime.

It was the Falcons’ first overtime since before the pandemic and with the sun blazing high in the sky raising temperatures on the field to 96 degrees both teams were digging deep to find some extra energy. Unfortunately for the Falcons, the Broncos had a bit more left in the tank. After a scoreless defensive battle in the first overtime, Vista Murrieta put the game away and secured the victory just a couple of minutes into the second overtime.

Coach Soforenko said his squad simply ran out of steam.

“The boys did what they came to do,” he said. “In the end they fell short of what they wanted to do, but one game does not make them – the last four seasons do. And, in my opinion, this is still the best team in Southern California.”