The Gonzaga boys’ lacrosse team was not fazed when St. John’s scored four straight goals to tie the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship game in the fourth quarter Monday night.
To explain the Eagles’ mind-set afterward, the word everyone seemed to use was “good.”
It was a sort of mantra for this year’s team, senior Brian Collins said. Before the season started, the Eagles listened to and talked about Jocko Willink’s podcast, in which the retired U.S. Navy SEAL preaches the importance of finding good in every situation. Top-ranked Gonzaga used Willink’s words as inspiration to fend off St. John’s, 8-6, in a dramatic title game at Ludwig Field in College Park.
“Good is just . . . it’s like, anything that happens, something good can come from it,” Collins said. “We like to say that.”
Added senior goalkeeper Tim Marcille: “You got to look at everything as a positive. Even the small setbacks, even some of the overtime losses we had early on, those are good. You just got to learn from all your mistakes, you know, good. Just, good.”
In the heart of an upbeat postgame victory partyfeaturing tailgates, tents and music, the “good” motto was validated.
Gonzaga (18-3) scored five straight goals to take a 6-2 lead early in the third quarter. Three of those goals came in the last 2:18 of the first half, and Gonzaga didn’t allow a St. John’s possession during that streak.
But St. John’s (12-6) — which had lost to the Eagles, 6-2, just 10 days earlier in the regular season finale — fought back. The Cadets tied it with 8:18 left.
A minute later, Gonzaga senior Henry Mudlaff scored the go-ahead goal, and Marcille turned away two close-range shots down the stretch to preserve the one-goal lead. Collins added an empty-net goal with 42 seconds left.
“I think our guys proved that they can play with the best, but again, three, four really, really bad turnovers, and that’s it,” St. John’s Coach Wes Speaks said. “That’s the difference.”
Collins scored twice for Gonzaga, including the night’s first goal just 2:02 into the first quarter. That one came off a set the players called themselves, showing the strength that has led Gonzaga to two straight WCAC titles since a loss to St. John’s in 2017.
“Through bad or through adversity comes some type of good,” Gonzaga Coach Casey O’Neill said, going back to the same refrain. “Just good. Through bad things, it’s good. We’re good. We’re good.”
St. Andrew’s beat Flint Hill, 16-1, in the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference title game in Potomac to complete an undefeated season in league play.