Hugh Crance does not get to play lacrosse against his best friend very often anymore.
Playing against Brett Greenlee back in Orange County was an even more special opportunity, provided Saturday night by the sixth annual Pacific Coast Shootout game at Orange Coast College.
The two Corona del Mar High alumni were on opposite ends of the field, with Crance as a senior defender for the University of Notre Dame and Greenlee as a senior longstick midfielder for the University of Denver.
“Competing with some of my new best friends against kids I’ve played with since I grew up, it was awesome,” Crance said. “It was great … Brett Greenlee played football with me at CdM. I talked to him a little bit during the game and I’ll text him later tonight.”
The No. 10-ranked Fighting Irish got the victory on this night, holding on for a 10-7 victory over the No. 8 Pioneers before a near-capacity crowd.
Crance certainly contributed for Notre Dame (3-1) with a game-best five ground balls and one caused turnover. The Fighting Irish built an 8-3 halftime lead.
“I thought we were playing very well defensively throughout the first half,” Crance said. “I thought we were in control, calm and playing our game. In the third quarter, we kind of came out a little cocky, almost. We got out of character a little bit and definitely gave up some easy goals. Matt Schmidt, our goalie [who made 10 saves] played awesome … and our offense held on and got us the win.”
Former Foothill standout Ellis Geis, who had a goal and two assists, tried to help the Pioneers (4-2) rally. They got within two goals at the end of the third quarter when Geis assisted Alex Simmons’ goal to make it 8-6, but they couldn’t get closer.
Geis also assisted Austin French’s goal with 9:18 remaining in the fourth that again pared the deficit to two at 9-7, but Notre Dame’s Conor Morin scored with 4:58 left to provide the game’s final goal.
Junior midfielder Bryan Costabile led Notre Dame with three goals, while Brendan Gleason, Brian Willetts and Wheaton Jackoboice all had two goals each.
Colton Jackson and Ethan Walker each scored twice for Denver, which also included Huntington Beach natives Ryan Harnisch, a senior, and Samuel Harnisch, a redshirt sophomore, on its roster. The Harnisch brothers played high school lacrosse at St. Margaret’s.
“I was here as a senior in high school in 2014, when they had [the Pacific Coast Shootout] for the first time and Notre Dame played Denver,” Crance said. “Just to see where the event was in 2014, and where it’s come to now is incredible.”
CdM boys’ lacrosse coach G.W. Mix, who organizes and promotes the event along with his wife Mary, felt the same way after watching two of his former Sea Kings do battle.
“It just warms the heart, for sure,” Mix said. “And they’re products of Orange County. They’re not kids that grew up somewhere else and just happened to move here, and were good lacrosse players when they got here. They came up through the youth program, and they are true California lacrosse players.”