The Fallston boys lacrosse team made the final quarter of the season its finest in Tuesday’s Class 2A-1A state semifinal against South Carroll.
The No. 15 Cougars scored six unanswered goals to turn a close game into a 14-7 win over the Cavaliers at UMBC Stadium.Senior midfielder Zach Wheeler provided most of the offense with a record-breaking performance, finishing with five goals and five assists. His 10 points broke the single-game record in Class 2A-1A , previously nine, and tied the mark for all three classifications. The No. 15 Cougars began the season 1-5 but rebounded with 15 consecutive wins to end the season.
"I don't know what to say, it's just unreal," said Wheeler, who finished the season with 53 goals and 25 assists for 78 points . "I couldn't do it without my teammates and all the great coaches we have."
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The Cougars never trailed in the gamebut couldn't shake the Cavaliers (10-9) through the first three quarters, holding on to an 8-7 lead with 12 minutes to play.
From there, it all clicked for the Cougars. Kyle D'Onofrio (two goals, one assist) and James Glezen scored 20 seconds apart to build a 10-7 lead with 9:04 to play . Wheeler scored twice and added two assists in the fourth.
"The fourth quarter was a blur," Fallston coach Matt Parks said. "It just seemed like one [goal] right after another…All the seniors we counted on for leadership all throughout the year just made one big play after another and we just seemed to roll from there."
Fallston proved a notch above the Cavaliers in most every facet to build a 3-1 advantage after the first quarter. The Cougars won four of the quarter's five faceoffs, were quicker to ground balls and sharper with their passes with much more time with the ball.
Wheeler, Greg Horsham (two goals, one assist) and Jason Lawrence (three goals, one assist) provided the goals with South Carroll goalie Taylor Schmitz keeping the game close with four saves .
The Cougars took a 4-1 lead when Wheeler scored his second goal with 3:22 to play before the halftime break. The Cavaliers attack enjoyed an offensive splurge the rest of the half, getting goals from Dylan McDermott (three goals) and Jake Brown 30 seconds apart to cut the lead to 4-3. After Wheeler made it 5-3 with 1:52 to play, McDermott and Sam Willingham scored in the final 28 seconds — Willingham's goal in front coming with four seconds left to tie the game at 5 going into intermission.
Also starting the season at 1-5, the Cavaliers proved to be a resilient bunch in reaching the program's first state championship game.
"We were right with them, it just seemed to be one or two mental errors … and a team like that, you can't make mistakes like that. They capitalized and opened up a little lead and it's hard to come back when you're trying to be patient and work our game plan," South Carroll coach Bill McDermott said. "They played their hearts out. The last month of the season, I couldn't have asked anything more from them."
Class 2A-1A state final
15 Fallston 14, South Carroll 7
Goals: F –Wheeler 5, Horsham 2, Lawrence 3, Brown, K. D'Onofrio 2, Glezen;
SC – B. McDermott, D. McDermott 3, Brown, Willingham, Chaconas.
Assists: F – Badger, Wheeler 5, K. D'Onofrio, Lawrence, S. D'onofrio, Esser, Horsham;
SC – Runci 2, Chaconas, B. McDermott, Smith.
Saves: F – Abney 7;
SC – Schmitz 8.
Half: 5-5 .