Whenever St. Mary’s boys lacrosse plays a public school, it is almost a foregone conclusion that the Saints will win. Their last loss to a public school was to Severna Park, 45 years ago. And the Falcons nearly bookended that streak, losing a 12-11 classic in overtime on April 13 as part of the Public Versus Private Challenge.
After an uncompetitive game on April 11 where the Falcons were thoroughly outplayed by the Severn Admirals in a 13-8 loss, this game more than lived up to expectations, as many people had this game circled since the season started. And the game was competitive from the beginning with the Saints scoring less than one minute in and the Falcons responding less than two minutes later before adding another goal just 35 seconds later. A back-and-forth game began as both teams traded the lead three times in the first quarter alone. The Falcons led 5-4 after the first 12 minutes, with all five goals being scored by different Falcons players.
In the second quarter, the Falcons began to extend their lead as senior attacker Joaquin Villagomez added two more goals in the quarter to give himself a hat trick. The Falcons added another goal and had their largest lead of the game at 8-4 with about three minutes left in the half. The Saints were able to score with less than a minute remaining to make it an 8-5 deficit at halftime, though they came close to adding another one with just seconds remaining on the clock, but Falcons goalie Ashby Shepherd made a great leg kick save at point blank range to deny them. The Saints had difficulty with the lack of a shot clock as the Falcons held the ball for long periods of time, not letting the Saints have possession and get their offense going.
However, that all changed after halftime as the Saints scored four goals in four minutes to take a 9-8 lead midway through the third quarter. The Falcons offense kept coming up empty, suffering a scoring drought that lasted from the end of the second quarter to over three minutes into the fourth quarter, nearly 18 full minutes of game time. But the Falcons were finally able to break through and scored three times in the quarter, with a game-tying goal scored with just 16 seconds left by Ganon Cope, which gave him a hat trick for the game. In overtime, the Saints won the faceoff and were able to hold the ball until Jake Kucinski found the back of the net to give St. Mary’s the win.
“I’m really proud of the composure our guys had today,” Falcons head coach Dave Earl said after the game. “Defensively we hung in there; they adjusted and we responded. [St. Mary’s] were extremely talented, extremely well-coached and they make you pay for your mistakes.”
Coach Earl believes that playing St. Mary’s so closely will help the team be better prepared as the season progresses. “I think it gives us a lot of confidence that we can play with anybody,” he said. “Obviously, we have our game versus Broadneck during the season, along with Arundel and so we’re excited for that.”
The Falcons are now 6-2 after losing both games from the Public Versus Private Challenge. The team has almost two weeks off before playing at Landon on April 26.