Words: Giana Han
In their first play-off game on May 9, the Eagles boys’ lacrosse team pulled out a decisive victory over Winters Mill.
The Eagles had earned a bye for the first round of play-offs, and played the winner of the Winters Mill Century match up. At first, it looked to be a competitive game, one that would leave hearts pumping and adrenaline rushing long after the final buzzer sounded.
With only one minute twenty-eight seconds lapsed, the Falcons scored their first goal. Barely a minute later, Austin Kraisser tied the game with an assist from Quinn Western. Two minutes later, the first penalty flag was thrown against Western.
The Falcons quickly killed the power play with a goal, putting them up 2-1. However, a great save from Dan Pomeranz and a recovered ground ball by Chase Conley led to a goal by Mike Moore, assisted by Western, which tied the game.
This was followed by another penalty flag, this time against Conley. Pomeranz’s saves helped hold the Falcons to the tie so that Andrew Gavlin could step up and get his first goal for the game. His unassisted goal put the Eagles ahead for the first time. 12 seconds later, an unassisted goal was scored by Winters Mill, tying the game 3-3.
The second period started with two penalty flags thrown, one against Winters Mill, one against Western. The ball changed possessions rapidly until 6:25 when Dean Fochios, assisted by Gavlin, started the Eagles’ scoring streak. Two more penalties were called, both on Conley, but Pomeranz had several consecutive saves that helped hold the Falcons to three goals.
At 4:26 Gavlin was able to find the open man for another assist, and Sam Clay put another goal on the board.
The Eagles’ scoring streak was momentarily broken when a penalty against the goalie left the net vulnerable, and the Falcons were able to squeeze in a fourth goal, bringing the game within one goal. With 38 seconds left, Western hooked up with Gavlin for a sixth goal, which restarted the streak again.
The clock was stopped once again for a penalty against Winters Mill, and Fochios, assisted by Gavlin, managed to score one more goal before the horn sounded with the Eagles up 7-4.
The third quarter was much like the second. Many penalty flags were thrown, but the Eagles were able to overcome and score six more goals. Conley, Gavlin, and Fochios each made another goal, with Moore putting up three more. At the end of the quarter, the score was an overwhelming 13-4.
The Falcons began to put up a bit of a fight in the fourth, scoring their fifth goal 57 seconds into the quarter. John Kolp answered with one of his own. Winters Mill scored one more around eight minutes, and then the two teams were at a standstill until three minutes. With three minutes left, the Falcons tried to stage a comeback, closing the gap to 14-9. However, the Eagles sent their starters back in, and they were able to hold them until the game ended 14-9.
Although the score makes the victory seem very decisive, the Eagles had a lot to work through, including a slow start and the ten penalties called against them.
“We kind of shot ourselves in the foot with penalties early in the game and throughout. We played a lot of man down and we didn’t shoot particularly well in the first quarter. A lot of times in these play-off games, you come out after a first round bye and you’re so amped up and so hyped up and there’s so much adrenaline that it’s hard to slow down and be patient,” said coach Nick Kellinger. “But I love the way we came out of half time, we came out patient, we came out focused, and we played our game.”
Gavlin concurred. “It took patience. We took a little time to get into it. We had to get into our sets, slow down, and try to figure out what we were doing, where they would be, and protect it. We had to make sure we wanted it more than they did.”
Gavlin had six assists and three goals this game, and is one of three players to be voted to play for the all state all star game for seniors.
“He makes our team go. We don’t really hide anything. We’re coming at you with big number one and it’s up to you to stop him, and not many kids can stop him,” said Kellinger.
From here, the Eagles will be facing Glenelg for third round of play-offs. This will be the first time the Eagles have played them since the first game of the regular season when they broke the Gladiators’ in-county win streak.
“We didn’t do a lot of the things tonight that we’ll do on Monday. We’ve got some different things, some different looks that Glenelg hasn’t seen,” stated Kellinger.