Lacrosse: Cohen Krudwig saves day as Foothill wins Southern Section Division 1 crown

Foothill's Luke Fox kisses the trophy after the Knights beat Loyola for the Southern Section Division 1 title May 12, 2023.
Santa Ana Foothill High captain Luke Fox, who scored four goals, kisses the trophy after the Knights beat Loyola 9-8 on Friday at Downey High for their first Southern Section Division 1 boys' lacrosse title. (Luca Evans / Los Angeles Times)

Loyola coach Jimmy Borell didn’t even have a scout on the kid.

The Santa Ana Foothill High goalie had come from nowhere. No preparation. No warning. On nobody’s radar except Foothill’s, in and out of the Knights program for a couple of years, not picking up a jersey until midway through the lacrosse season this spring upon enough poking and prodding from coach Jon Fox and his team captain son, Luke.

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And there he was, in early April, swallowing up Loyola’s powerhouse offense during a Foothill victory in which the Cubs scored just five goals.

“He just showed up out of the blue,” Borell said, “and we were like, ‘Who the heck is this guy?’ ”

Cohen Krudwig was unknown to the Cubs because lacrosse was a hobby. A “baby brother,” as he put, to the sport in the driver’s seat, ice hockey, in which Krudwig is a defender on an 18U team with the Junior Ducks. Before a playoff match against Santa Ana Mater Dei last Saturday, he had come straight from a five-day hockey tournament in San Jose, bouncing a ball against his hotel room wall to make for a likely horrid vacation situation for his neighbors, trying to stay ready before he returned at 2 a.m. that Saturday.

He gave up just seven goals in a win for Foothill.


It doesn’t make sense, really. Lacrosse goalie is one of the hardest jobs in sports. But to Krudwig, the pressure in the cage in lacrosse, amid a mad scramble, is familiar: He can relax and take his time, relying on hand-eye coordination he has built from years of learning to juggle.

“I think this sport,” Foothill coach Jon Fox said,” is actually a little slow [for him].”

After stifling Loyola earlier in the season, Krudwig excelled again against the Cubs in the Southern Section Division 1 championship game Friday at Downey High, snaring enough shots off the darting sticks of senior Trent Turner and junior Ben Horowitz to preserve a 9-8 win. Krudwig embraced best friend Luke Fox in a bear hug at the end of the match, the Knights flinging their helmets into the air with tearful glee.

“Knowing how much they put into this,” Krudwig said, “I didn’t want to win it for myself.”

He wanted it for Fox, especially, the strawberry-blond coach’s son and captain who broke the Foothill program's scoring record with four goals in the championship match. After a back-and-forth first half in which Loyola frequently controlled possession with a deliberate offensive attack, Fox got Foothill going with a pretty fire off a screen and a subsequent nose-dive shot, his third and fourth goals, to give the Knights a third-quarter cushion.


Two more goals came from Bode Jellerson and Alex Craig, and the Knights were up 8-4 with nine minutes to play. The Cubs, however, steadily built momentum with a pair of goals from Horowitz, another strike by freshman Cash Ginsburg and a mad scramble into a clean bounce shot from Turner to tie the score.

Jellerson, however, came right back on the other end with his third goal of the match not a minute later. And with time expiring, Krudwig dove to ward off another shot as Foothill mounted a stand to earn the program’s first Southern Section title after a storied history in club lacrosse.

“Euphoria,” a tearful Jellerson said.

Foothill girls extend dominant run with another title

The chants from the stands rung early and often, driven home when the match ended and Foothill had officially continued to blaze a trail forward for Southern Section girls’ lacrosse:


“Three-peat! Three-peat!”

Indeed, Foothill rode a first-half surge to a 12-5 win over Marlborough on Friday night at Downey High for its third consecutive Southern Section Division 1 girls' title, a loaded and decorated senior class leaving a final mark in history. For those three years, it has been the Knights and everyone else — they haven’t lost to a team in the greater Los Angeles area since 2019.

“We’ve heard from people, ‘They don’t play anyone good,’ ” coach Cristina Rodriguez said. “We do. ... These girls earned every win.”

Marlborough put up a second-half fight, the Mustangs scoring four unanswered goals after sputtering to a 10-1 halftime deficit. Freshman standout Ava Fossati scored three goals on the night, a promising spark for a Marlborough program that has risen from Division 3 to a Division 1 runner-up in just two seasons.

“We’re gonna be chomping at their heels,” coach Meghan Toomey said of Foothill after the match.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.