In THSLL semi-final play in Georgetown, TX today, the North District #2 seed St. Mark’s Lions relied upon suffocating defensive pressure in tandem with poise in the offensive zone to eliminate South District #1 seed Houston Christian High School by a 10-3 score. Lions’ junior attackman Andrew Graffy led all scorers with 2 goals and 2 assists, and St. Mark’s senior middie Nick Mahowald controlled play at the X with 6 GBs and scored a season-high two goals in support of the win. The Lions (17-3) now advance to the THSLL Division 1 State Championship Game on Sunday against District #4 seed Highland Park (11-7), who upset heavily favored and #1 ranked Dallas Jesuit earlier today by a 5-4 score in the other semi-final match-up. Although St. Mark’s has defeated the Scots in their last two regular season meetings, Highland Park now returns to the final day of playoffs for the first time since 2010 when they won their last of three consecutive THSLL Division 1 crowns – the last two over St. Mark’s. The Lions have now progressed to the Championship Game in four out of the last six years, but are still looking for their first THSLL state championship trophy.
On the same day they were running the Kentucky Derby, St. Mark’s sprung quickly from the gates and galloped to a 3-0 lead on successive goals by senior middie Griff Cassagne, junior middie Evan Chang Tung and Graffy. Despite two tallies from junior middie Ivan Morris and a goal from junior attack Brooks Lehle which brought the score to 5-3 in the 3rd quarter, the Mustangs were able to hold this margin only briefly before the Lions opened it up on the backstretch with 5 unanswered goals and claimed a trip to the winner’s circle. All-American Mustang senior attack Bucky Desadier was unable to get his hands free all evening against the relentless Lions’ defensive pressure, and was held scoreless with only 2 shots. The Lions defense was led by All-American junior Bear Goldstein and junior defenseman Justin Harvey who combined for 10 takeaways against the Mustangs’ offense unit who could find the net only 3 times tonight after scoring a total of 224 goals in their last 19 contests.
Lions received scoring from: junior attack Andrew Graffy (2G, 2A), senior middie Griff Cassagne (2G), senior middie Nick Mahowald (2G), senior attack Will Perkins (1G, 1A), junior middie Danny Koudelka (1G, 1A), junior middie Evan Chang Tung (1G), freshman attack Jack Fojtasek (1G), senior attack Peter Addy (1A), and freshman middie Michael Fletcher (1A). St. Mark’s freshman goalie Conner Mullen responded with 10 saves in his first playoff action of the season.