Story by Zack Martin '18
If there was a game this season that could be more hype than the Dogs’ OT win over Episcopal, it was the Friday home IAC tournament matchup versus St. Stephen’s St. Agnes. It was the first time STA had hosted a postseason game in several years. It was Flower Mart Friday. It was Alumni Weekend. The BEEF came in numbers. Even the rain cleared in time for the opening faceoff. It had all the makings of a game for the history books. The Bulldogs had already defeated the Saints in a regular season thriller (8-7), and confidence occupied much of conversations amongst the team and St. Albans community. Come gameday, however, the mentality of the team still remained focused on going all-out and leaving nothing on the field, no matter the results of contests from previous weeks. Brian Geffroy ‘17 spread this mindset with the phrase, “Burn the boats.” In his words, “Burning the boats is when you go into a battle and you burn your own ships because you are either going to win or die trying. There is no such thing as retreating.”
The Dogs did just that. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough. In another gritty, one-goal battle, SSSA switched the plot and defeated STA (6-5) in what came down to a last-second shot. The Bulldogs had an offensive possession with under a minute to play, and in the final seconds, Michael Asuncion ‘18 had a nice top-shelf shot that would knot the game up. It hit the crossbar. Time expired as the ball bounced away towards midfield. The reactions that ensued were of course emotional. For me, it was more shock. In the first few minutes after, I could not help but look around silently in disbelief. I had felt so sure we would come out victorious. To admit the game was over seemed so wrong. Surely we had another quarter left, or the scoreboard was wrong and OT would begin soon. I realized it truly was done once I started hugging the seniors. For me, that’s always been the hardest thing about varsity sports. The Class of ‘17 deserves much credit for what was still a remarkable and successful season for the STA Lacrosse program, and quite honestly a great year for St. Albans Athletics as a whole. Even though we couldn’t hang up a banner, STA Lax took incredible steps forward this year that cannot be overlooked, and they will only lead to greater triumphs in the future. That is something to be proud of.
I want to finish off with a tribute to Todd Faiella. I wish everyone on the Cathedral Close could get to know Todd. For those of you who don’t know, Coach Todd is a new assistant lax coach and leader of the most dominant defense in the IAC this season. He is former Coach of the Year in the state of Texas, and he won a National Championship at UVA (2011). Coach Todd is special not only for his impressive lacrosse career but for the way he approaches his daily life with infinite passion and energy. I have never experienced being coached by someone who can make a hugely positive impact on a program in such little time as Todd has this spring. This is his first year at STA, yet it feels as if he’s coached here long before I even arrived on campus. His pregame speeches are the stuff of legends, and I will always remember him as one. I think I speak for the entire varsity team that his instant unprecedented care for us from the moment he arrived was inspiring. Sadly, Coach Todd will not be returning to STA next year, as he is moving to Costa Rica. It goes without saying that everyone on the team will miss him, and his enthusiastic influence will not soon be forgotten.