Coming off an emotional win over rival St. Mary's, the No. 15 Severn boys lacrosse team was hoping that it could repeat its success yesterday against No. 1 St. Paul's.
It nearly did.
But, the Crusaders scored four goals in the final 2:15 to come away with a 12-11 victory, clinch a playoff spot and extend their winning streak to 32.
"My guys just don't want to lose," said St. Paul's coach Mitch Whiteley, after watching his two-time defending champs improve 11-0 overall, 9-0 in the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference. "It's got to be a heart-breaker for Severn because they played very well, but I have to give my kids credit because they could have quit and they didn't."
Dudley Dixon's goal with 4:05 remaining gave Severn an 11-8 lead, but the Crusaders cut the deficit to two on an unassisted goal by junior midfielder John Solter.
Severn (5-7, 3-7) controlled the ensuing faceoff, but instead of spreading it out and using the clock, the Admirals forced the ball inside and immediately lost possession.
"I told them to keep it behind the cage, don't throw it and just run the clock off," said Severn first-year coach Mike Burnett.
The Admirals' impatience proved costly as St. Paul's made it 11-10 on an unassisted goal by senior Ben Strutt with 1:36 left.
Next faceoff, same thing. Severn gained possession and immediately took it to the goal, where they were put on the defensive when the official ruled that Dixon had stepped into the crease.
The Crusaders capitalized with 32 seconds left when Michael Waston fed junior midfielder Billy Ruhl to tie the game at 11.
St. Paul's would not be denied on its final faceoff nor its final shot, as sophomore attackman Tucker Radebaugh (five goals, two assists) scooped up a grounder and rattled the net with the game-winner with four seconds to spare.
"We know that St. Paul's is the best team around and we knew that we had to play our best game to beat them, and up until the end of the fourth quarter, I think we did," said Dixon, who had five goals and two assists. "I think we slacked off at the end because we thought we beat them and they made some great shots to beat us."
The Admirals, who had lost to the Crusaders 21-3 earlier in the season, trailed at the half 5-3, but tied the game 2:54 in the third quarter on goals by Dixon and senior attackman Joe Feldman (two goals, three assists).