The boys lacrosse team ended its season with a devastating 19-7 loss to Wootton May 17 in the regional semifinals. During the regular season, the boys had a strong 10-3 record including wins against Paint Branch, 16-5, May 7, and Seneca Valley, 13-5, May 10.
The victory over the Paint Branch Panthers was an incredible one. The success is attributed to the team’s chemistry and skill. Following some losses early on, the team refocused its strategy to tear through the county, becoming a nightmare for each team they faced.
“After the losses, we really came together,” freshman Morgan Rhodes said. “We explained what we did wrong [after each game] and improved.”
The Paint Branch game was also a highlight for another reason, as senior attacker Matt Bank broke the county record for scoring the most goals in a single game. Bank scored eight goals on his own, two assists and several more shots.
“I dedicate all my goals to Matt Risk,” Bank said, laughing as his teammates crowded him.
Bank and the rest of the team repeatedly proved their skill during this game, executing clean passes, precise shots, effective checks and solid offense.
The Bulldogs kept a strong lead during the entire game, but slacked in aggressiveness and speed during certain segments.
“We played well in spurts,” head coach Jeffrey Fritz said. “Absolutely the team could do better, this wasn’t a great game.”
Following a break after the first 12 minutes, the Paint Branch Panthers reshaped their strategy and returned to play with more force and speed, placing greater pressure on midfield and defense. Though they won the ball on several occasions and managed to score five goals, the Bulldogs responded by stepping up the intensity and regaining control, cutting them off before they got close enough to make shots.
“[The] defense played really well,” senior goalie Max Kalicka said. “[We] slid well [and] they had a lot of ground balls.”
CHS returned the second half to play flawlessly, gaining possession and scoring a goal within a minute after halftime. The offense pushed harder and used passing to tire out Paint Branch’s defense, making consecutive passes between the same players around the goal several times around before attempting to shoot. While this caused them to miss some potential shots, the technique was effective in distracting the defense long enough to score.
“They got a lot of ball movement [which was] effective,” Kalicka said.
Paint Branch’s offensive line retaliated by pushing harder for the ball, forcing defense to fall back and defend the goal. Though they weren’t as coordinated as offense, they succeeded in clearing the ball out of the defensive zone several times.
According to Kalicka, senior defenders Jake Dockser and Ben Gloger had good games. They were both key players in getting the ball to offense and assisted several shots.
The team won against Seneca Valley 13-5, and on May 15 defeated Blair 14-1 in the first game of playoffs, the regional quarterfinals.
“We had a really good team effort,” senior midfielder Patrick Tamm said. “Offense played well as a unit [and] defense played cohesively.”
The boys played Wootton in the regional semifinals May 17 and lost 19-7.
“We started off strong,” sophomore Cameron Moshyedi said. “[That] motivated them [and] we started doubting ourselves. We could have beat them.”
Win or lose, however, there is no doubt the season will be remembered for the enthusiasm and intensity of each game. The team’s chemistry and camaraderie were evident from the bleachers, and the energy of the players was exploding on the field, the excitement palpable.
“I am proud of them,” Fritz said. “They’ve really got each other’s backs. It is a great team in every aspect of that word.”