Tigers survive Golden Elks’ surge, win 8-7 in boys’ lacrosse
— Three Elkton goals in a matter of 22 seconds cut Rising Sun’s comfortable four-goal lead down to a single score with 7:33 remaining.
Connor Burkhardt stopped the bleeding for the Tigers just over a minute later. The senior attackman used a swim dodge to attack from behind the cage and buried an underhand, backhand flip shot. The goal was Rising Sun’s final of the night, but it was enough to deliver an 8-7 Susquehanna Division victory Wednesday.
“I saw a double coming, went over top and just took what I had,” Burkhardt said of his dodge to the cage. “I have to give it up to our defense, they really pulled us out. High-scoring offensive team usually, they only put up eight goals. Noah [Jones] played lights out in the fourth quarter, he had some really great saves that kept us in the game.”
The Tigers surrendered one last goal to the Golden Elks in the final minute—an outside shot by junior midfielder Tyler Durant that brought the score to its 8-7 final with 48 seconds to play.
Durant controlled the ensuing face off to give Elkton possession and a chance at a game-tying goal, but the Rising Sun defense
rose to the occasion and forced a decisive turnover with 11 seconds remaining.
“As a lacrosse person, I love seeing these teams getting better and better, but we feel confident in our ability this year,” Tigers coach Chris King said. “If we do what we need to do, we feel like we can win the game. It’s just getting our guys resettled after that. Defensively, we pretty much had them the whole game, just at the end, [Durant] started beating us on those face offs. That kind of changed the tide a little bit, but we just got back to basics and got our heads back.”
Rising Sun was able to shut the Elks out in the first half by neutralizing Durant—the county’s most dominant face-off man—at the X. The Tigers led 3-0 at halftime.
“We saw that he was doing really good, so we practiced how to prepare for him,” King said. “We have some good face-off guys to boot too, so we thought our guys would handle themselves just by doing that. And then we just put some things in just to change some things around, things that maybe they hadn’t seen before.”
A bounce-shot goal by Austin Philistine put Rising Sun ahead 7-3 with 8:45 left in the game. Less than one minute later Josh Taylor scored a man-up goal for Elkton off a Durant feed. Taylor scored again just seven seconds later, assisted by Brady O’Neill following a face-off win. It only took 15 seconds for the Elks to tally again, an O’Neill goal from a cross-field pass by Durant.
“They were doing a great job on Tyler on the face offs, they had that planned out very well. Down on our offensive end, we weren’t moving and we were being selfish,” Elkton coach Eric Day said of his team’s scoreless first half. “I’m just proud with how our kids played. They could’ve very easily gave up. We had the ball at the end of the game with a chance to tie it up. I’m surprised we didn’t get a shot off, but I’m proud of how they played.”
Burkhardt scored three goals and handed out an assist and Brad Alexander recorded two of each for the Tigers. Philistine had a goal with two assists and Quinn Struble and Wyatt Griffith added a goal apiece. Jones made 14 saves in cage.
Durant led Elkton with three goals and two assists, Taylor scored twice, O’Neill recorded a goal and an assist and Joe Scuderi and Jeffrey Day added a goal and an assist, respectively. Brad Astfalk stopped 16 shots in goal.
Follow Sean Grogan on Twitter: @Sean_CecilWhig
Rising Sun’s Austin Philistine carries the ball upfield during the Tigers’ 8-7 Susquehanna Division win over host Elkton on Wednesday.