After building a comfortable lead midway through the second quarter, top-ranked Gonzaga watched as No. 3 Paul VI climbed back into Tuesday night’s game. The Eagles, who were in front by as many as four goals in the second quarter, led by only two at halftime.
Frustrated by near-misses that would have preserved the first-half margin, Gonzaga emerged from halftime white-hot, ripping off five straight goals, three of which came before the Panthers’ first possession of the half. The run effectively delivered a knockout blow in the Eagles’ 12-6 road win over Paul VI.
“Coach gave us a great halftime speech,” senior Alex Corboy said. “We got really fired up and we were ready to come out and beat them pretty well in the second half.”
Gonzaga senior midfielder Joe Fitzpatrick opened the second-half scoring for the Eagles (12-2, 4-0 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference), scoring his third goal of the game just 44 seconds into the third quarter. Corboy followed 46 seconds later with his third goal of the game, a lightning quick shot that the attackman fired while running back towards midfield, away from the goal.
Fitzpatrick and sophomore attackman Timmy Monahan added the next two goals in Gonzaga’s third-quarter burst, but it was sophomore Richie Petitbon’s goal that put the exclamation point on the Eagles’ run.
With just under four and a half minutes to play in the quarter, the Paul IV goalie sprinted out of the crease to track down a groundball, but was beat to it by Monahan. The goalie raced back to the Panthers’ goal but couldn’t get back in time to stop Petitbon, who took the assist from Monahan and scored easily.
“It was awesome, because we just outhustled them on that play and that’s what we really stress in our practices, wanting it more,” Fitzpatrick said of Petitbon’s goal. “That was a big goal for us to get.”
Fitzpatrick finished Tuesday night with four goals to lead Gonzaga offensively. Corboy chipped in a hat trick of his own with three goals while senior midfielder Max Planning added two goals. Senior Robert Murphy was the leading scorer for Paul VI (11-2, 3-1 WCAC) with two goals.
It was Corboy who got the offense rolling for Gonzaga midway through the first quarter with a pair of goals that put the Eagles up 2-0. Corboy managed to split a double team on both of his first-quarter goals, setting the tone offensively for Gonzaga’s offense.
“They were pushing out a lot on defense, so it was easy to run by them,” he said. “That double team they ran, they didn’t run it very well and I just ran through and put it in.”
“We’re very tough to beat. If everything’s clicking for us, it’s hard to stop us,” Fitzpatrick said. “Our defesnse played great, our goalie always plays great, and once we get our offense to start clicking, that’s when we get really dangerous.”