Bags of ice taped to his body, River Hill boys lacrosse goalie Darius Khademi ached. The junior made 14 saves Tuesday against visiting Centennial – many of which ricocheted off his body. Though his muscles were all but certain to be sore in the morning, Khademi couldn't help but smile.
Thanks to his stout play, as well as teammate Zach Beard's four goals on offense, the Hawks outlasted the Eagles, 7-6.
"Our motto all year has been 'sell out,'" said Khademi, whose final save came on a potential game-tying shot with less than one minute on the clock. "You have to sell out for your teammates."
Coming into the game, the Hawks (4-4, 5-5) had lost four games by just one goal. In the second half, the second-place Eagles looked as if they were going to make it five.
With one minute left in the third quarter, Mike Moore got a pass from Andrew Gavlin and scored, cutting the Hawks' lead to just two goals. Then, just as the final frame began, Gavlin found John Kolp for another score.
Just when Centennial (6-2, 6-4) appeared to be on the brink of tying things up, River Hill got two critical goals within 30 seconds of one another.
The first came from defender Robert Thyberg, who scooped up a ground ball and ran the distance for the score. On the next possession, Beard fed Chris Moseman for what was ultimately the game-winning goal.
Centennial's Quinn Western scored with 38.5 seconds remaining, but the visitors failed to get that elusive seventh tally.
"That's a team that has played a number of one-goal games," Centennial coach Nick Kellinger said. "When that happens, they know they are better than their record states."
River Hill coach Keith Gonsouland beamed following the game, calling his team's performance "by far" the most important showing of the season.
"That's a big win for our program," Gonsouland said. "I am just so proud of our kids, because they keep fighting and they keep believing in one another. They're just persevering, and I think that just says a ton about our group of guys."
Unlike most games, according to Khademi, the Hawks got off to a fast start against the Eagles.
Jake Friedman hit Beard twice in the first 10 minutes for goals, and Danny Issac's spin and shoot over the Centennial defense put the home team ahead by three before the first quarter was even over. "We had to have that mentality that we couldn't open up flat. We wanted to set the tempo," said Khademi.
Beard scored two more times in the second quarter, and after only allowing goals from Moore and Kolp over the first 24 minutes, the Hawks had a comfortable lead heading into the break.
The third quarter proved to be the Hawks' biggest enemy, as the Centennial defense failed to allow another score for the entire 12 minutes.
In that time, the Eagles took advantage of their possession control, and Khademi had his work cut out for him.
The high-powered Centennial offense fired a number of shots on the junior, who recorded five saves before finally allowing one to slip by.
The team's motto "sell out" rang true for Khademi, who said it didn't matter how he had to get the stops – stick or body – he just knew it needed to be done.
"The kid made a ton of big saves – from in tight and from a distance. I know, as a goalie, that can really lift a team," Kellinger said.
A big defensive stand in the final minutes of the fourth quarter helped the Hawks hold on. Though River Hill improves to .500 on the season, Gonsouland said the team's biggest victory came in the form of confidence going forward.
"We've shown we can play with anyone," he said. I think we're as good as any team. We just need to figure some things out."
River Hill 7, Centennial 6
Goals: RH – Zach Beard (4), Danny Issac, Chris Moseman, Robert Thyberg; C – John Kolp (2), Mike Moore (2), Dean Fachios, Quinn Western.
Assists: RH – Jake Friedman (2), Jimmy McEneaney, Beard; C – Gavlin (3), Western.
Saves: RH – Darius Khademi 14; C – Dan Pomeranz 9.
Half: 5-2, Hawks
Around the county
Howard 8, Mt. Hebron 3
Fueled by John Travisano's three goals, the Howard boys lacrosse team took down Mt. Hebron, 8-3, Monday to stay undefeated on the season.
Leo Sementilli added two goals and two assists for the visiting Lions, while Eric Schroeder, Cody Ford and Nolan Dunnigan all scored as well. Goalie Bryan Mauser recorded 10 saves.
With just five minutes left on the clock, Howard clung to a two-goal advantage. But, a three-goal spurt in that time from Travisano, Sementilli and Ford helped solidify the victory.
"It was a hard fought game by both teams, a ton of credit to Mt. Hebron for that," Howard coach Jimmy Creighton said. "I thought our guys just grinded this one out. They stayed the course and kept the pressure on defensively. Our team finished strong in the fourth quarter when we needed it most. Our defense and goalie were once again exceptional."
Kyle Watts, Shane Brookhart and Brian Demek all got on the board for the Vikings. Casey DuBois stopped 16 shots in the loss.
Goals: H – John Travisano (3), Leo Sementilli (2), Cody Ford, Nolan Dunnigan, Eric Schroeder; MH – Kyle Watts, Shane Brookhart, Brian Demek.
Assists: H – Sementilli (2), Schroeder, Brad Zulick; MH – Kyle Sutton, Will Hamman.
Saves: H – Bryan Mauser 10; MH – Casey DuBois 16.
Half: 3-1, Lions.
Atholton 9, Wilde Lake 7
Goals: A – Sam Smith (2), Tyler Shams (2), Colin Mercilliott (2), Jordon Maddox, Joey Brewer, Scott Brown; WL – Siyon Lowe (3), John Radcliffe (2), Pierson Swanson (2), Ryan Tiffey.
Assists: A – Smith (2), Ryan McHugh (2), Shams, Rick Mooney; WL – Riley, Lowe.
Saves: WL – Joe Boccher 24.
Reservoir 12, Oakland Mills 6
Goals: Re – Hans Wicklein (4), Austin Mitchell (2), Cole Evans (2), Matthew Marsh (2), Drew Rutten, Jackson Hill, Steven Schinner; OM – Wyatt Neely (3), Evan Riss (2), Thomas Brumbaugh.
Assists: Re – Mitchell (2), Evans, Max Schuster; OM – Neely (2), Riss.
Saves: Re – Trent Teodori 3, Jake Smith 1; OM – Jesse Ketchum 11.
Marriotts Ridge 8, Long Reach 1
Goals: MR – Austin Dorsey (2), Jack Grote (2), Troy Hensh, Sam McCoy, Mak Kennedy, Patrick Clipp; LR – Konner Kick.
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Assists: MR – Grote, Hensh, Nick Anania, Kennedy; LR – Skylar Briscoe.
Saves: MR – Chris McTague 6; LR – Anthony Valenza 20.
Gerstell 12, Glenelg Country 7
Goals: GCS – Ben Murphy (2), Wyatt Naylor (2), Reid Chaconas, Sean Escalante.
Assists: GCS – Escalante (2), Chaconas (2), Murphy (2).
Saves: GCS – Christian Vinyard 11.
Glenelg 9, Hammond 2