ESD 14 WOODLANDS 4
UNC Commit, Caden Dundon 3G, 2A
On Sunday at the Jones Family Stadium on the campus of The Episcopal School of Dallas, Caden Dundon led the Eagles to a 14-4 victory over The Woodlands with 3 goals and 2 assists in the highly anticipated inter-district match-up of two of the state’s most storied programs.
The Woodlands and ESD hold the past two State Championship Trophies. These two squads faced each other early in the 2019 season and The Woodlands managed to hold ESD to just 3 goals in the opening weekend of their State Championship run. The second time the teams faced in 2019, it would be ESD that would advance out Super-Regionals and into Final Four weekend before eventually winning it all. After watching ESD dismantle Kinkaid on Friday night, we knew the Eagles were dangerous. We did not expect for them to runaway with this game by 10.
From the opening whistle, Ross Chazanow consistently won possession at the X and the ESD offense would take care of the rest. The game ball went to Dundon for his performance on Sunday, but ESD’s full array of offensive weapons were clearly on display. Wilson Murphree and Jake Griffin both had excellent outings each registering hat tricks. Reed Landin had the 2nd and 3rd goals of the game to extend ESD’s lead to 3-0 at the time, and Drew Wasserman added 1 goal and 1 assist including an angry shot turning the corner on the first possession of the game that really set the tone for the afternoon. Also adding singles were Mac Rodvold and Chazanow.
The flow of the first half was really dictated by ESD. Stellar face-off play and unselfish offense allowed the Eagles to take control early and jump out to 4-1 lead to end the first quarter and head into halftime with a 7-2 advantage. Matthew Nunes made several great saves against the ESD’s offensive barrage, but The Woodlands had difficulty settling into possession as the back line of ESD’s defense was relentless in pressure and disruptive numerous possessions early on. Multiple caused turnovers by the Eagles defense and some great saves by Max Beuck led to second chance opportunities for ESD as the field seemed to be tilted in their favor most the day.
The Woodlands struggle for time of possession would carry over into the second half. As the final whistle blew the first half complete, the Highlanders picked up a penalty that awarded ESD possession and a 1 minute extra man opportunity to start the 3rd quarter. Then, a second penalty against the Woodlands cost them as Murphree hammered his second goal of the game just 1:02 into the second half. The game balanced out for much of the 3rd quarter and the Woodlands were able to get their final two buckets of the game heading into fourth quarter down 4-10 before being held scoreless in the 4th and ultimately losing the contest 14-4.
In the loss, Loyola commit Dylan Binney scored 2 goals for The Woodlands while USAFA commit Donovan Rock added 1 goal of his own as did Duncan Bremner. It should not be all doom and gloom for The Woodlands though as the season is young and they would like to peak in late April headed into the playoffs.
This ESD group is as good as a team as you fill in the state this year. Perhaps, they are the best. Only time will tell. They graduated a lot of pieces defensively from the 2019 State Championship group, but they have certainly reloaded on defense. Braden Montgomery, Henry Watson, Preston Moderi, Michael Bagley, and Eli Huggins are athletic, rangy, skilled, and possess great chemistry . They will torment offensive groups all year long. Furthermore, ESD returns almost every one of their offensive pieces, a dominant face-off man, and have the best goalie tandem the state as to offer in Max Beuck and Kyle Rolley. Do not be surprised if the Eagles hang scores like this on a lot of solid programs this season.
The schedule does not let up much for the Highlanders (2-2) as they get on the road for the 3rd week in a row to play Westlake (3-1) on Saturday and a surging Lake Travis squad (4-0) on Sunday in Austin. They will be battle tested when they begin district play in the HTX. ESD (3-0) won their first North District game Tuesday at home against Plano West (2-1) and will travel to Austin this weekend to take on Westlake (3-1) at 1:00PM Saturday.
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