With his team trailing by two goals after the first quarter against visiting John Carroll in a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference showdown yesterday, Archbishop Curley coach Joe LaTona gathered his players in a circle and implored them to take control.
The No. 15 Friars responded as a team and scored the game's next five goals en route to a 5-3 victory. The win gives Friars supremacy in the conference as they attempt to defend their league crown.
In a game in which most attacks ended with a hard check or a spectacular save by each goalie, the Friars were able to outlast the Patriots by winning the ground ball battle (34-27) and the majority of faceoffs (7-4).
"The team responded, especially on the defensive side of the ball," LaTona said. "To hold a team like John Carroll to three goals for the entire game is making a statement. When you win a lacrosse game by that score, your defense played well, and you have to be happy with them."
The Patriots (5-1, 5-1) took a 2-0 lead in opening three minutes on goals by Graham Archer and Mike Wilson. The Friars were caught on their heels several times and played sluggish in the first period.
Curley (9-1, 7-0), however, took charge in the second period and tied the game on goals by Brandon Capaletti and Pete Lee. Both the Friars goalie Mike Lioi (10 saves) and John Carroll goalie Stephen Farrell (16 saves) each came up with several acrobatic stops to keep the game tied into halftime.
"Without Mike Lioi, we might not have won that game," Capaletti said. "In all the years of playing lacrosse, that was the best performance by a goalie I have ever witnessed."
Capaletti gave the Friars a 3-2 lead with 11:01 left off a feed from Lee. Capaletti then returned the favor by assisting Lee 4:13 later for a two-goal cushion. Jeff Taylor added Curley's final unanswered goal with 5:08 left.