Westminster’s boys lacrosse season ran out of time Saturday night.
A fourth-quarter comeback attempt by the Owls fell short in an action-packed second half as Marriotts Ridge prevailed 13-10 at Ruby Field in the Class 3A East Region 1 championship game.
The teams combined for 14 goals in the second half as the offense came fast and furious. The Mustangs took command of the game with a dominant stretch to start the second half. Leading by a goal at the half, Marriotts Ridge struck early in the second with a goal by senior Charlie Reynolds.
Moments later, the Mustangs stretched to a three-goal lead when junior attack Kennedy Topher fired one in off a Westminster turnover. Senior Jack Slack followed with one of his five goals in the game as the game looked to be getting away from Westminster.
The Owls (8-2) didn’t quit and rallied with two late goals in the third period, pumping life into the fans and team. Senior Cam Doolan and sophomore Jackson Zaranski each netted a goal as Westminster halved the deficit.
“Our mentality is we are never out of it, no matter what the score we always feel like we can come back,” Doolan said of his team’s late rally. “We really did think we had a shot at it.”
Marriotts Ridge quelled the rally with two straight goals to start the fourth period, one by Slack and another from senior Jake Levey. The Owls scored shortly after to pull within two on a driving shot by Zack Johnson. Westminster couldn’t pull any closer, however, as the Mustangs responded to each Owls’ score with one of their own.
Doolan had two goals and two assists for Westminster, while Johnson had four goals and Zaranski had two. Slack led all scorers in the game with five goals, while Reynolds had three to go along with four assists.
“We really came together this season and improved a lot,” Doolan said. “I am proud of the way our boys played this year.”
Westminster coach Steve DeFeo was encouraged by how far his team progressed in such a short season, telling his players in the postgame huddle that he’s excited for the return of 24 players next year.
“[Zaranski] had two goals and an assist today and he just got moved up less than two weeks ago, so that is a really good job with that,” DeFeo said. “I think the future looks pretty good going forward with things. This is a good experience for those guys. It a good pressure experience. The playoff atmosphere is pressurized. I think that will motivate them going forward.”
For Marriotts Ridge, it’s onto the state playoffs, where three victories separate the Mustangs from a championship.
“It’s exciting,” Slack said. “We don’t know who are opponent is yet, but we are going to keep practicing hard and come out and play our hearts out again.”
Goals: MR-Jack Slack 5, Charlie Reynolds 3, Jake Levey 2, Kennedy Topher 2, John Miller. W-Cam Doolan 2, Jackson Zaranski 2, Zack Johnson 4, Jacob Hogue, Mason Fisher
Assists: MR–Reynolds 4, Levey 2, Miller 2, Topher Kennedy; W-Zaranski, Johnson, Hogue, Doolan 2
Saves: MR-10 (Thomas Coakley 8, Tyler Gladstone 2); W-12 (Matt Kunert 12)
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Halftime: Marriotts Ridge, 5-4