Sabres eliminated by Friars in conference semis
Annual rivals battle to the end, but Curley holds on
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.
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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.
Saints Peter and Paul’s Nick DeLuca, left, tries to carry around Archbishop Curley’s Carlos Artson during Friday’s second half.