NorCal Update: Sacred Heart Prep Pulls Away From Los Gatos in Season Opener

(Photo: Casey Vock, 3d Rising)
(Photo: Casey Vock, 3d Rising)

On Thursday night, 3d Rising’s trek to NorCal brought us to Los Gatos High School, located just a few miles outside of San Jose. The Wildcats hosted Sacred Heart Prep in what was the first meeting for both teams.

After dusting off some early season jitters and getting through some sloppy play, the teams settled in by halftime and produced an exciting second half that became a back-and-forth slug fest late in the game.

Holding onto a three goal lead late, Sacred Heart had to survive a late surge by the Wildcats, who managed to rally with a flurry and tied the game at 11-11 with 5:45 on the clock.

But running hot, the Gators’ offense asserted itself and would regain the three-goal lead fueled by some key possessions down the stretch and a few authoritative goals. The 14-11 win put Sacred Heart at 1-0 to start the year.

After the game, we caught up with Gators head coach Chris Rotelli, who came out west after winning the Tewaaraton trophy as a college player and has been coaching for more than a decade in NorCal. View the interview below.

Below, read about some of the players who stood out in the fourth game we caught on our trip. Be sure to follow us all season long on Twitter (@3dRising) and Instagram (@3drising).

Jack Crocket, Midfield, Sacred Heart Prep, 2018 – Princeton

Crocket had a monstrous, impressive performance in leading the Sacred Heart offense against Los Gatos with a terrific nine-point outing. He’s a relentless, machine-like offensive presence who puts the stick out and dodges extremely hard and uses his off hand and body to protect the stick while he takes aggressive, quick jabs at his man. When carrying, it was hard to tell if he was going to attack the cage or feed, and he made himself a tough matchup every time he touched the ball with unpredictability. He quickly puts the stick by his ear to push the ball. He didn’t hold it long and was consistent in catching, moving his feet, moving the ball. He saw his times to dodge and made the most of them. He is strong and can fight through body and stick checks. From X, he was a tough matchup with his sense for the cage with little angle. He got things going early distributing from X, but then quickly got into the action himself with a cut to the inside and a finish in front on a broken clear. Crocket was fearless in his takes and his cuts off the ball – he was ready to cut and catch and was not afraid of the middle. Several times, he impressed with his determination alone to get a quality shot off. He scored a goal from below GLE on the extra man, catching it, hesitating and going low-to-low to squeak it in. When the Gators needed one, he used an explosive move from X to get topside to his left, leave his feet and sting the top shelf with his off hand. He either scored or assisted on the three goals that put it away for Sacred Heart.

 

Mike Fogerty, Midfield, Los Gatos, 2017

Fogerty’s a promising midfielder with athleticism and talent. He had an excellent showing against Sacred Heart. He’s a good-sized player who stands at something like six foot, maybe 6-foot-1. He is smooth and has great spring in his step and really became a huge playmaker for Los Gatos. He could initiate and move the ball and get the defense to move. He’s got fast, soft hands and uses fakes and looks comfortable and confident carrying the ball on the dodge. From up top, defenders can’t get all over him and that lets him see the field below and make good passes. He easily found several cutters as defenders had to give him a little bit of space. But he can glide and has good feet and easily got separation. Mix in his stick, and it made him really stand out. He was impressive running the field on the clear, evading checks with the bounce in his legs and his slick handle. One of his goals came on a move to the inside where he shed the defender to get his hands free for a sidearm shot. His other goal was really gutsy – he beat numerous sticks to a groundball inside the Sacred Heart defense, pulled it up, avoided two stick checks and bounced the ball to hit top shelf. Fogerty looks like a really nice midfield prospect who possesses skill and athleticism. He finished the game with a pair of goals and three assists.

Adam Elliott, Midfield/Attack, Los Gatos, 2017

Elliott is a very slick and really tough player who can be dynamic and absolutely was one of the most involved and talented players on the field against Sacred Heart. His first goal was a beauty – he used a heavy bounce step to pivot to the outside, curling inside of his man, throwing the stick to just his left, then pulling back up, getting his hands free inside and slapping the ball off the ground to the low right corner. His groundball skills were also notable – he has a nose for it and hustled. He was slick to come up with the ball using a one-handed snag and kept his head up. He played tenacious defense and turned back some of the better dodgers on Sacred Heart’s roster – his low build helps him and he’s super quick side to side. He was pound-for-pound one of the best players on the field and few could match his change of direction and motor. More impressive is that he’s coming off a knee injury and still looks made an impact all over the field. He finished the day with four goals, including what was the tying goal late in the game on off-hip, off-stick bomb from outside. Another came in transition and showed his fast hands and ability to fake before finishing.

Jake Birdwell, LSM/Defense, Sacred Heart Prep, 2020

Birdwell is a bright, promising young defender who has a blue-collar approach on the field and technical skill with both his body and stick. A shorter, but sturdy and quick righty, Birdwell was outstanding in the middle of the field with his stick in the air and going for the ball on the ground. He is smooth with the ball in his stick and uses the long pole with his hands in the loaded position when not defending; passes were all pumped right from the shoulder. On the ball, he carved out effective checks and was efficient in coming up with the ball and dodging through traffic to show off the good handle. He’s got a motor and was still moving at full speed at the end of the game. He was a difference maker late in the fourth as he flew off the wing on consecutive face-offs to snag the ball, get it to safety and establish the key possessions. Birdwell has a history of playing on the other side of the ball and those skills are translating well over to the defensive side.

Kevin Tinsley, Midfield, Sacred Heart Prep, 2017

Tinsley is a tall, wiry and tough midfielder who came up with some important goals for Sacred Heart against Los Gatos. He’s got some rawness to him, but his height and his range on his shot proved to be huge against Los Gatos. His first goal came as he got time and room up high out on the left wing, eyed the 5-hole and snapped a ¾ to strike it. He later scored a big goal to help the Gators put it away in their rally. He can let it go and has a multi-sport toughness and determination to him. His size, range and vision make him a matchup challenge.

Tommy Barnds, Midfield, Sacred Heart Prep, 2019

Barnds had a productive night against Los Gatos, scoring four goals and proving himself to be a threat from the midfield and an all-around tough and reliable player. He’s got an old school handle – he cradles hard and can power through checks with the momentum, and he bounces the ball a lot when he shoots. That’s how he was so helpful against the Wildcats, as he scored timely goals, using the trickery of the turf skip to fool the netminder. One saw him barrel down the gut and use the bouncer from close range on the run. He scored another with time and space and got good torque with the skipper. He played hard-nosed lacrosse and was really competitive. He finished the day with four goals, all of them the product of hard dodges and smart shot selection.

Scott Bohn, FO/Midfield, Los Gatos, 2017

Bohn had a good game against Sacred Heart, highlighted by some timely face-off wins and some exciting plays he made down the stretch to help make it such a grind in the fourth quarter. He’s a low-to-the-ground, quick-legged and durable two-way midfielder who won some of the draws by simply outworking and outhustling the competition. He is excellent on the loose ball and has balance with his body and slickness with the stick. One of his brightest moments came when he made a nice catch with coordination and reach on a lead clearing pass – he caught it overhead in stride entering the box and made a gorgeous play to quickly redirect it to his teammate who was deeper inside for a transition goal that ignited his team. Numerous times Bohn showed the ability to leg the ball through traffic and scrap to safety. He would score one of the biggest goals of the game late in the fourth, pushing the ball forward to himself, securing it, taking it down the right lane, getting inside, increasing his angle to the front of the crease, faking and finishing. It was an electrifying sequence.

David Peterson, Defense, Sacred Heart Prep, 2017 – Lehigh

Peterson showed good mobility in matching up with one of the better attack options on the Los Gatos roster and used his physical play and and hounding style to limit their success. The elder Peterson is a strong right-handed defender who can press out with aggression and has the stick to get the ball and come out of the backend hot. He did that more than once against Los Gatos. He seemed like a leader in an active, quick-to-press-out defense Gators defense. He worked hard on and off the ball, and really shined when he got the ball, even using a stick-back one-handed carry to complete clears.

Will Peterson, Defense, Sacred Heart, 2019

Peterson is an agile defender who had a good game against Los Gatos, using a fast approach and effective checks out on the perimeter early in possessions. He put the ball on the ground more than once and showed good groundball skills coming up the field and good hands making passes. He got all over a ball carrier in the second half and came up with a groundball off the takeaway and sent it up field for what resulted in a goal. The Gators defense seemed to be dialed in as things got going and Peterson was a key piece of it. A lot like his older brother, he has a physical element to his game and just get after the ball.

Patrick Hagerty, Attack/Midfield, Sacred Heart Prep, 2019

Haggerty proved himself to be a smart, productive offensive presence for the Gators. He scored the first goal of the game on a simple cut down the left alley to catch the ball in a loaded position and fire. He’s not a fancy player but can put his head down and go to the cage with a purpose, showing himself to be pretty effective at getting to the cage from X or the wing. As the day went it, it became clear that he’s pretty balanced in terms of his hands and his ability to generate shots, find spots for shots or move the ball to open teammates.

Teddy Vought, Attack Sacred Heart Prep, 2018

Vought is a smart, unselfish offensive player who was another important part of generating motion and good looks for the Gators offense. Early on, Vought helped get things going with a heads up play to help break up a clear and then pushed the ball to his teammate for an easy layup. He made another sharp look later in the game, finding the same hot-handed teammate and putting the ball right in his stick on the doorstep for a pretty connection. Another assist from Vought came in transition. He showed scrappiness and a willingness to ride the ball on the clear.

Charlie Douglas, Goalie, Los Gatos, 2017

Douglas is a big man in cage, and he’s calm and cool and can bait shooters into shots he wants. The lefty has soft hands and is tough with his body. Standing over six feet tall, he takes up a lot of net and is able to make a lot of saves with his body. He made some really impressive stops in one-on-one situations with some of the more skilled Sacred Heart shooters. By the end of they day, Douglas had totaled about 14 saves for a respectable day’s work against a proficient and aggressive offense.

Garrett Wood, Attack, Los Gatos, 2018

Wood was a solid distributor of the ball and motion man for the Wildcats. He has good stick skills and made a number of smart, accurate passes for Los Gatos. He showed that he sees the field well and his first assist was a whip down to the low post to an open attackman. His second assist was more great ball movement as he caught the ball and released it all in one motion down low to an open cutter. Wood also assisted on the game-tying goal for Los Gatos.

Hailing from Upstate New York, Casey Vock is the manager of 3d Rising. Before joining 3d Rising, he spent three years at Inside Lacrosse, where he was a full-time writer for Inside Lacrosse Magazine, InsideLacrosse.com, ILIndoor.com and ILGear.com covering all facets of the game. He was named the editor of ILGear.com in November 2012 after helping launch the site a year earlier. Prior to joining Inside Lacrosse in Baltimore, Casey was a freelance writer in Upstate New York covering professional, college and high school lacrosse for Inside Lacrosse, as well as writing for the Press-Republican newspaper in Plattsburgh and other media outlets. Casey played lacrosse in high school at Indian River and went on to play at Jefferson Community College. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and business from SUNY Plattsburgh, an MBA from Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management and an MS in media management from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse. Reach him by email at cvock@3dRising.com and follow him on Twitter @cvock.