The Wilde Lake boys lacrosse team found itself in one of the wildest games of the early season on April 2.
Unfortunately for the Wildecats, though, they were on the wrong side of a 24-15 defeat to Rockville in the Cat Cup at Wilde Lake after knocking off Smithsburg, 8-7, earlier in the day.
Reservoir went 2-0 on the day, beating Rockville, 14-8, and Smithsburg, 18-4.
"Two completely different games," said Wilde Lake coach Jon Robinson. "I think emotionally we really bounced back after falling behind in the first game and answered that and played from behind like 95 percent of the game and finally got ahead with like four minutes left. That was a fun game and the kids played well.
"Against Rockville, I think we just ran out of gas. We put a lot of emotion into that first one and didn't have the same fight in the second game."
Rockville coach Lorenze Lancaster said his team took control of the game by dominating the face-offs. The Rams won 32 of 43 draws, including 18 in the first half, while Koby Kovacs, Hudson Carey and Cole Kirchner each had five goals or more and combined to score 16 goals.
"This is our first time playing in a Howard County tournament and I thought it was heavy competition for us," he said. "The game is going to be won at the face-off 'X' and at the beginning we possessed the ball more on ground balls. You're going to win when you do that."
On the other side, Ryan Tiffey notched five goals of his own for the Wildecats, while younger brother Andrew netted four in the defeat. Robinson knows that when his offense has possession it can be dangerous, but an inexperienced midfield – combined with losing three-quarters of the draws – ultimately was too much to overcome against an opposing talented offense that was quick to score in transition.
It didn't help that both teams were called for numerous penalties early in the contest as things started to get a little heated on the field. Robinson admitted that he thought his team got rattled.
"All that stuff emotionally in the beginning of the game was a hot mess and we put ourselves in the hole," he said. "We kept fighting back and got it to three a couple times, but we just couldn't get over the hump. But they dominated us in transition. That really is what killed us throughout the game. Hopefully when you score 15 goals you come out with the win."
The game was tied, 2-2, just 1 minute, 44 seconds in, and the Rams led 5-4 the first quarter. Rockville kept the pace up early in the second and netted two goals in the first 19 seconds before scoring two more to take a 9-5 lead. Wilde Lake responded well with goals from Ryan and Andrew Tiffey, but the Rams scored four goals in the span of 1:19 to take control of the game at 13-7. They led 13-9 at the break.
"We're definitely going to work on conditioning. You're also not going to play two games in a day so that's that happy medium," Robinson said. "I think we learned a lot defensively and learned a lot as a team. ... We had a lot of JV kids up get some experience and now we have some kids we can count on who can come up and help us out on the field."
The absence of midfielder Kevin Comeaux, who suffered a broken tibia in the first five minutes of the Wildecats' first scrimmage, was noticeable as they struggled to clear and prevent fast breaks in the midfield.
"Our midfield is very inexperienced, so to get that experience on a day like this against two quality opponents is huge for us, especially with our schedule," Robinson said. "We grew up a lot today, so that's good."
Both teams scored four goals in the third quarter, but the Rams went on another run early in the fourth to extend an 18-14 lead to 22-14 and eventually won, 24-15.