In the THSLL Division I quarter-finals on Sunday, Senior attack Will Perkins scored a career-high seven goals to carry the North District #2 seed St. Mark’s to a 10-8 victory over Central District #1 seed Westlake. Last year, the Chaps (12-5) were also eliminated by St. Mark’s in the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs. The Lions (16-3) now advance to a semi-final match-up against South District #1 seed Houston Christian High School (16-3), who will be eagerly anticipating its first Division I semi-final game and first ever match-up between these two squads. St. Mark’s has now progressed to a Texas Final Four berth in five out of the last six years, but are still looking for their first THSLL state championship trophy.
St. Mark’s had advanced to today’s quarter-finals by eliminating South District #4 seed Episcopal School of Houston on Saturday by a score of 11-7. Senior captain Perkins scored four goals in that game to lead all Lions’ scorers, while EHS senior attack Max Skibber scored three goals in a losing effort. Houston Christian ousted North District #3 seed Plano West 10-6 to earn its pass to the championship round in Georgetown, TX next weekend.
On a muggy Sunday afternoon, Westlake senior goalie Jackson Grimes frustrated St. Mark’s early by surrendering only 2 Lions’ goals (both to Perkins) on the first 21 shots to protect a narrow 3-2 half-time lead. Westlake senior attack Jacob Rockwell recorded 2 first-half goals and senior middie Matthew Gabriel contributed 2 helpers to pace the Chaps early in the contest. But the third quarter turned into a showcase for the University of Michigan commit Perkins, who scored four additional unanswered goals to carry St. Mark’s to a 7-4 lead with only a quarter left to play. Westlake’s Gabriel sparked a fourth quarter rally that twice brought the Chaps back to within a single goal of the lead, but Perkins seventh goal combined with tallies from freshman attack Jack Fojtasek and sophomore middie Christopher Marlow secured the game for St. Mark’s in a dramatic final frame that saw the teams exchange seven total goals.
Westlake’s Grimes recorded 17 saves, and stopped virtually every shot from each St. Mark’s player whose last name did not begin with a “P.” Scoring for the Chaps came from senior middie Matthew Gabriel (3G, 2A), senior attack Jacob Rockwell (2G, 1A), junior attack Tanner Thompson (2G), junior middie Tate Bowden (1G, 1A), and senior middie Blake Kemper (1G). Junior pole and All-State face-off specialist Michael Edwards was spectacular at the X while gathering up 12 GBs in a losing effort.
In cumulative scoring over two rounds of Super Regional play, St. Mark’s saw scoring generated from nine different players including: captain Will Perkins (11G), freshman attack Jack Fojtasek (3G, 1A), sophomore Christopher Marlow (2G, 2A), junior middie Danny Koudelka (2G, 2A), junior middie Evan Chang Tung (1G, 2A), junior attack Andrew Graffy (3A), senior attack Peter Addy (1G), senior d-pole Amir Saboorian (1G), and junior d-pole Bear Goldstein (1A).
Defensively over the weekend, strong outings were turned in by junior defenseman Justin Harvey (10CT, 5GB), senior captain Saboorian (4CT, 10GB), junior captain Goldstein (2CT, 6GB), and freshman defenseman Mathew Meadows (3CT, 2GB). The midfield hustle of junior middie Chang Tung (5CT, 6GB) and junior attack Graffy (2CT, 8GB) helped the Lions maintain possession at critical junctures and hold opponents to a combined successful clear percentage of only 61%. Junior goalie Chris Roach recorded 18 saves against Episcopal Houston and an additional 8 stops against Westlake to turn in a 65% save percentage for the weekend.
In other THSLL playoff action today, North District #1 seed Dallas Jesuit (16-1) defeated South District #3 seed St. John’s School (14-6) by a score of 6-4. The Rangers will now face North District #4 seed and perennial rival Highland Park (10-7) who earlier today had dispatched of Central District #2 seed Austin High by an 11-2 score. The two teams will meet in a THSLL semi-final match-up on May 5th at 5:30 PM in Georgetown, TX. Dallas Jesuit appeared in the Texas Final Four last year and suffered a 10-8 loss to Coppell High School in the championship game. Highland Park returns to the final playoff weekend for the first time since 2010 when they won their last of three consecutive state championship crowns – the last two over St. Mark’s by identical 7-5 scores.