The Eastside Catholic Crusaders boys lacrosse team was simply not going to be denied in the Washington High School Boys Lacrosse private school championship game against their fiercest rival.
The Crusaders put together one of their most impressive performances of the season when it counted the most, cruising to a convincing 18-2 victory against the O’Dea Fighting Irish on May 27 at the Starfire Athletic Complex in Tukwila. It was the first time the Eastside Catholic boys lacrosse program had won a state title in school history. The Crusaders started off the game strong building a 5-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Eastside Catholic led O’Dea 11-1 at halftime. Crusaders goalie Jeff Walton, who surrendered just one goal in the contest, said he was ecstatic during the postgame celebration which included a sizable amount of Eastside Catholic students on the field.
“We are the first EC [lacrosse] team in history to win a state championship. It is amazing. I love playing for this team. I love these kids with all of my heart. I couldn’t be more happy right now,” Walton said. “We came in here expecting a good game and we didn’t let up at all. We kept the foot on the gas the whole time and came away with the result we wanted.”
Eastside Catholic senior defensive player Justin Prukop echoed Walton’s sentiment following the biggest victory in school history for the Crusaders boys lacrosse program.
“It was great being the first ones to get it [championship]. It feels so good. I love it how we dominated out on the field,” Prukop said. “I’m really looking forward to see the guys doing well next year. I won’t be here but I know we have a bright future ahead of us.”
Prukop said the Crusaders are a selfless squad that doesn’t care which guy gets the accolades.
“Fighting for each other is the big thing. We really focus big on the team aspect. It is not just individual play. We don’t care if people are All-Americans or going to whatever college they are going to. We just leave that all behind us and we go out there and play for each other,” he said.
Crusaders senior Ethan England was jovial following the final game of his high school career.
“It is a great feeling. It is great to have one last win,” England said.
Eastside Catholic head coach Chuck Goodman, who was mobbed by a bevy of well-wishers and fans following the game, posed for several pictures with a multitude of his players following a championship game where everything clicked on all cylinders for his squad.
“We knew that O’Dea was going to bring their best. Our message all week was we really got to go in there knowing we had to play our best game of the season. The guys did that. We had good game plans on both the offensive and defensive side. Offensive coordinator Mike Pittas did a great job of getting the offense ready to play today,” Goodman said. “This is very special. This is our division [private school division], this is our trophy and this is what we played this season for from day one. This was our goal and this is what we were here to do and sure enough here we are.”