Sabres elim­i­nated by Fri­ars in con­fer­ence semis

An­nual ri­vals bat­tle to the end, but Curley holds on

Record Observer - - Sports - By WIL­LIAM HAUFE bhaufe@stardem.com

Curley 10 — SSPP 9

EAS­TON — Wide mar­gins of vic­tory haven’t been a part of the boys’ lacrosse ri­valry between Arch­bishop Curley and Saints Peter and Paul High.

Two years ago, the Sabres won a third straight Mary­land In­ter­scholas­tic Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion B cham­pi­onship by a two-goal mar­gin over the Fri­ars, and last year eked out a one-goal tri­umph in over­time dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son.

“When we saw them ear­lier in the sea­son it was one of the big­gest point spreads that we’ve had in the his­tory of play­ing Arch­bishop Curley,” Sabres head coach Bud Lewis said of his team’s 15-7 win 10 days ago. “With them it’s usu­ally a bat­tle all the way through.”

So Fri­day seemed like old times as the two ri­vals swapped leads and forged seven ties be­fore the Fri­ars pulled out a 10-9 vic­tory in an MIAA B Con­fer­ence quar­ter­fi­nal.

“They’re a good team,” Lewis said of Curley (6-10), which ad­vances to play top seed and de­fend­ing MIAA B cham­pion John Car­roll in Tues­day’s semi­fi­nals. “They came out and played hard. My kids played hard. I couldn’t have asked for much more than I got out of them. We just had a cou­ple of men­tal mis­takes here and there. It’s a tough one to walk away from.”

Es­pe­cially af­ter the Sabres’ con­vinc­ing vic­tory the week be­fore. But Fri­ars head coach Chris Ogle didn’t take any dras­tic mea­sures head­ing into the post­sea­son. His team sim­ply had to play bet­ter.

“We just felt like ear­lier we didn’t play our best game,” Ogle said. “We knew we were ca­pa­ble of do­ing bet­ter. We fo­cused on a bet­ter per­for­mance on the field for our­selves. We knew we could have done more last time we played them. And I think to­day it just shows we played our best game of the year so far.”

Curley was bet­ter, es­pe­cially on de­fense, lim­it­ing Sts. Peter and Paul to just three sec­ond-half goals af­ter trail­ing 6-5 at half­time.

“Team de­fense, we played out­stand­ing,” Ogle said. “We were really help­ing one an­other; just a good team con­cept.

“The one goal that they had in the first half was a fluke goal, where they fed the crease and it de­flected in,” Ogle added. “So we were look­ing at it as a tie ball­game at half­time. And we said, ‘What we’re do­ing is work­ing. If we’re hold­ing a team to five goals in a half we’re do­ing pretty good.’ So we just need to fo­cus on com­mu­ni­ca­tion, get­ting in on the back­side, and help­ing each other. And that’s what we did and it con­tin­ued to work over the course of the sec­ond half.”

Then there was the ef­fort of Curley’s Carlos Art­son in the face­off cir­cle.

“I don’t know what they did with their face­off kid, but their face­off kid did a lot bet­ter this time around than he did last time,” Lewis said. “That kind of sur­prised us.”

“I don’t know what the face­off (sta­tis­tics) were but we seemed to win the face­off in the big mo­ment, which was key,” Ogle said. “We had a great job from our face­off guy. He’s been work­ing on his tech­nique with our face­off coach, Mike Fitta, and steadily im­prov­ing each game. I think he won some clean to him­self, and there were other ones that were 50-50 ground balls and he did a good job of pick­ing up the ball.”

De­spite the Fri­ars’ two facets of bet­ter play, this was typ­i­cal Peter and Paul-Curley lacrosse. The Fri­ars held the lead five times to the Sabres’ three, and the big­gest lead for ei­ther team was two goals.

Sts. Peter & Paul (9-8) took a 6-5 lead with 1 minute, 7 sec­onds re­main­ing in the first half when Nate Shafer (game­high five goals) cir­cled from be­hind the net and ripped a sidewinder past Curley goalie Alex Scholz (10 saves). The Sabres ex­tended their lead to 7-5 with 3:05 elapsed in the third quar­ter as Nick DeLuca (three as­sists) set up Luke Har­ring­ton’s goal.

Curley re­sponded with Rod­ney Petit and Jalen Lo­max scor­ing within 39 sec­onds of each other to forge a 7-7 tie af­ter three quar­ters. Forty sec­onds into the fi­nal pe­riod, Curley’s David Bell (three goals) scored off a re­bound the Sabres failed to clear. Sts. Peter and Paul goalie Jack Lee (15 saves) made two more stops to keep Curley from pulling away be­fore Shafer con­verted a DeLuca pass for a goal and the game’s last tie at 8-8 with 8:43 re­main­ing.

But Curley se­nior at­tack­man An­thony Scar­pola (four goals, as­sist), who is bound for Vir­ginia Wes­leyan, set up Bell’s go-ahead strike with un­der 5 min­utes left, then looped around from be­hind the net to stick an over­hand shot past Lee for a 10-8 lead with 3:10 re­main­ing.

The Sabres were then called for a 1-minute, un­nec­es­sary-rough­ness penalty with 2 min­utes re­main­ing. Sts. Peter & Paul killed the penalty and with 46 sec­onds left, Shafer raced in from the left side and snapped his fifth goal past Scholz for a one-goal deficit.

St. Peter & Paul gained pos­ses­sion one last time, called time with 34 sec­onds re­main­ing, but couldn’t score the equal­izer.

“When we played the first time we were lit­er­ally putting (goals) in over his head left and right, and I think that’s why it was such a point spread,” Lewis said of Scholz. “Like I said, cou­ple of clears that we could have made, cou­ple of ground balls that we missed. And we gave up too many op­por­tu­ni­ties, not backed up goals and shoot­ing at his feet. But again, when a team plays this hard, you hate to see them lose.”

Notes: Sts. Peter & Paul out­shot Curley, 39-32, and scooped 28 ground balls to 19 for the Fri­ars. … Will Lip­scomb had a first-half hat trick for the Sabres, who got an as­sist from Char­lie Mangold, Matt Dun­worth and Har­ring­ton. … Art­son and Noah Kell­ner each had an as­sist for Curley.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter @Bil­l_Haufe. Email me at

bhaufe@stardem.com

PHOTO BY DAVID INSLEY

Queen Anne’s County pitcher Leah Bradley (left) de­liv­ers while sec­ond base­man Alyssa Jack­son awaits the out­come dur­ing the fourth in­ning of Thurs­day’s Class 2A East, Sec­tion II play­off game at Wi­comico High. Jack­son struck out 11 bat­ters in the 13-1 win.

PHOTO BY WIL­LIAM HAUFE

Saints Peter and Paul’s Nick DeLuca, left, tries to carry around Arch­bishop Curley’s Carlos Art­son dur­ing Fri­day’s sec­ond half.

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