Things haven’t exactly gone as planned for Manchester Valley’s boys lacrosse team this year. Thursday night at home, though, maybe the Mavericks have figured out a new formula: Get a big lead and hold on.
Manchester Valley ran out to a six-goal first-quarter lead, but had to hold on in the end to record a 13-11 win in a Carroll County league game.
Grant Miller led the Mavericks (5-7) with four goals, while Blake Ray chipped in three. Jesse Jason led Liberty (5-7) with four goals.
“I think we were fired up a little because it was senior night,” Mavericks coach John Piper said. “We started out the game moving our feet well and moving the ball quickly. That carried us.”
In the early going, it looked like the Mavericks would run away with the game. In the first quarter, Manchester Valley scored the first six goals, three from the stick of Miller, to take a 6-0 lead. Only a Jason tally with one second remaining kept Liberty from being shut out in the quarter. Meanwhile, down at the other end, Mavericks goalie Kevin Connor made some great saves to keep the Lions off the scoreboard.
Much to their credit, Liberty kept chipping away at the lead. The Lions outscored Manchester Valley, 5-2, in the second quarter, using three goals by Aiden Ventura to cut the halftime deficit to 8-6.
In the second half, The Mavericks got two goals from JT Calhoun and one from Nick Grimm to outscore the Lions 3-2 for the quarter, and carry an 11-8 lead into the fourth.
Liberty, behind two goals from Jason, and one from Ventura, cut the advantage down to one, 12-11, with 6:46 left to play. Although Liberty did have a few opportunities, Manchester Valley did a good job of holding on to possession. The Mavericks effectively closed the game out with 4:13 left when Blake Ray capitalized on a defensive mistake by the Lions and scored on an open net to lengthen the margin to 13-11.
“We’ve talked about what to do in situations like that,” Piper said. “We’re a young team, and our theme has been to keep getting better. Earlier in the year, we may have panicked in a situation like that, but this shows how much we’ve grown.”
Connor said the reason the Mavericks won was the defense.
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“I have to give it to the defense tonight,” he said. “They made my job so much easier. I was seeing the ball really well, but it was their effort that carried us.”
Liberty coach Steve Fabian wasn’t pleased with the result, but he did like how his team got off the deck after suffering the early deficit.
“The score obviously didn’t come up like we wanted it to, but I’m still proud of the effort these guys displayed,” said Fabian. “We just came out flat tonight, and – in the end – they pulled it together and we couldn’t possess the ball.”
Goals: L – Jason 4, Ventura 3, Blyden 3, Hatfield; MV – Miller 4, Ray 3, Reid 2, Calhoun 2, Morris, Grimm.
Assists: L – Wright 3, Hatfield, Ventura; MV – Onkst 3, Miller 2, Calhoun 2, Fique.
Saves: L – Mancha 7; MV – Connor 11.
Half: MV, 8-6.