The Hendricken lacrosse team had no complaints about how Thursday night’s Division I semifinal with Moses Brown began. The Hawks held leads of 2-0 and 3-1 in the first quarter, as the Quakers looked completely out of sorts.
But games aren’t won in the first quarter.
Helped by a sloppy second quarter from Hendricken and a dominant time of possession edge in the final six minutes of the fourth quarter, the Quakers rallied back to win 8-7 and stun the defending champion Hawks.
Moses Brown went on to play in Sunday’s championship game, where it lost 9-7 to La Salle.
“We started off strong,” Hendricken head coach Kevin Murray said. “We got some penalties, it kind of threw us a little behind. We got off our game plan a little bit, but they played well. My kids played hard today, we just came up one short.”
The loss was eye-opening because of the drastic change in momentum after Hendricken’s dominant first quarter, but it could hardly be considered an upset. Moses Brown was the No. 2 seed after a 7-3 regular season, while the Hawks finished 5-5 and were the No. 3 seed.
The two times they met during the regular season, both games were decided by a single goal. Hendricken won 8-7 in triple overtime on May 2, and the Quakers got revenge with a 6-5 win on May 16.
As it turns out, Thursday was simply more of the same – two relatively even teams, separated only be the slimmest of margins.
“We’re two evenly matched teams,” Moses Brown head coach Mike Fraioli said. “They beat us in triple overtime 8-7 the first time, we beat them 6-5. Today it was 8-7. So there’s not much of a difference.”
Hendricken actually trailed 7-5 in the fourth quarter before goals by Darius Jagminas with 7:20 to play and Chris McKay with 6:48 left tied the game at seven.
Armed with the momentum, the Hawks seemed poised to complete their comeback, but after two ties and two lead changes, it was Moses Brown that gained the final edge. With 5:27 to play in the game, Alexander Gorgi took the ball and backed up on the right side before tossing a pass in front of the net to Stephen DeLeo, who beat Hendricken goalie Jon Petteruti for the go-ahead goal.
From that point on it was a struggle for the Hawks. Moses Brown won the ensuing draw, and kept the ball until there was 3:04 remaining when a crease violation gave it back to Hendricken.
But, even after taking a timeout to regroup, the Hawks couldn’t maintain possession, as they gave the ball back to the Quakers with 2:35 to play.
“We kind of pushed it at a bad time in that one that we lost in 20 seconds,” Murray said. “We should have probably settled it, but the kid tried to make a play and they made a good play on their end.”
Moses Brown then set out to run out the clock, but it was whistled for illegal procedure with 1:17 left, giving the Hawks a final chance.
After Hendricken slowed the ball down and carried it into the offensive zone, Moses Brown was whistled for an offsides penalty and Hendricken took a timeout with 36 seconds remaining.
Playing a man-up because of the offsides, the Hawks passed the ball around the perimeter looking for a shot, but instead dropped the ball. Evan Jacques scooped it up for Moses Brown with 18 seconds left, sprinted out of the zone and killed the rest of the clock, ending the game.
“It feels great,” Fraioli said. “Our guys played really, really hard. Our backs were against the wall at a couple different points.”
The Quakers’ backs were never more against the wall than in the opening quarter. Hendricken went up 1-0 just 95 seconds into the game when Alex Perreault camped out on the left side and then found Dakota Hersey wide open in front for an easy goal.
Then, with 8:39 to play in the first, Scott Henry slipped past a defender near the top of the zone and fired a shot past goalie Jackson Szurley for a 2-0 lead.
Moses Brown cut the deficit in half with a goal from DeLeo, but the Hawks made it 3-1 when Perreault fired a shot home from the left.
“We came off the bus and we were down 3-1 at one point,” Fraioli said.
In the second, the Quakers came alive. Eric Salzillo scored just seven seconds into the period after Winston Smith won the opening draw to make it 3-2, before the Hawks got a goal from C.J. Marrinan to make it 4-2 five minutes later.
Jack Stallman cut the Quakers’ deficit to 4-3 – after a two-minute penalty on Perreault – on a long shot with 2:20 to play, and they tied the score at four 10 seconds later when Smith won the draw again and found Stallman, who scored on a quick shot from a tough angle on the right.
Finally, with nine seconds to play in the quarter, James McCahan took a pass on the right side and blistered a shot past Petteruti to put Moses Brown up 5-4 at the half.
“That’s when we got into the penalty problems,” Murray said. “We got into the penalty problems, we got a little bit out of our groove, their faceoff guy did a great job and we didn’t have a lot of possessions in the second quarter.”
McCahan scored early in the third to put Moses Brown up 6-4 before Jagminas scored on hard shot while running across the face of the goal with 8:20 to play in the third. Gorgi gave the Quakers a two-goal lead again with 3:14 to play when he scored on a low, bouncing shot.
From there, the Hawks came back in the fourth, but the Quakers’ late goal was too much to overcome.
As a whole, Murray was far from disappointed. Coming into the season, he didn’t quite know what to expect with a team that looked vastly different from the one that won the state title a season ago.
The Hawks didn’t defend the title, but they weren’t far off either.
“We had a lot of new guys playing different positions,” Murray said. “We kind of bonded about halfway through. We played hard, and it was really anybody’s game out there tonight. We just came up a little bit short.”