Boys Varsity Lacrosse
Game Summaries & Headlines.
The Forge Eagles won their 4th game in a row at just the right time on Wednesday night with a 12-5 win over the visiting North Stafford Wolverines at Eagles Stadium. It was the first meeting of the year for the two top seeds in the Commonwealth District which will renew on Friday night @ North Stafford to close out the regular season.
The Forge district record improved to 9-2 and earned them the 1st round bye in next week’s tournament no matter the outcome of Friday night’s contest. The Forge offense was piloted by Jake Wilhelm who had the hat trick for the “good guys” and he was helped by 2 goals apiece from Drew Fields, Gavin Grainger, Tyler Howard and Brando Sizemore. Willie “The Streak” Berris also added his name to the Eagle scoresheet.
The Eagles got on the board first with Wilhelm popping the twine for an unassisted tally just 1:12 into the contest. The Wolverines quickly tied the game as senior Mason Burba found the back of the net with 8:44 left in the quarter, and that would be the only scoring in the opening stanza.
The second quarter is when the GREEN started to take this game over as the team and their fans were able to calm down and breath a little easier. The home team scored six unanswered goals with less than 8 minutes left in the first half in very impressive fashion. Unassisted goals from Fields and Berris just twelve seconds apart gave the Eagles a 3-1 lead. A couple of minutes later it was Howard to Wilhelm and the play ended in the back of the net to put the Forge on top 4-1 with 6:21 left in the first half. The play was so nice….they tried it twice and the second verse was the same as the first as Wilhelm buried a crossing pass from Howard and it was Forge 5 North Stafford 1 with 2:51 left till the break.
One person who was watching Wilhelm’s marksmanship was Gavin Grainger as the senior popped in a pair of his own with less than two minutes remaining in the half. The first tally Grainger hauled in a pass from Sloan Partanen and he went 5-hole on North goalie Matt Ubiles for the score. Just 52 seconds later found the twice again ripping a shot past Ubiles and into the lower right corner of the cage to give the Eagles a 7-1 lead at the half.
As impressive as the offense was in the second quarter, it was also the defense in front of junior net minder Anthony Merida that stood tall and kept the Wolverines off the board. During the first half the lanky netminder made multiple 10 bell saves with Wolverines standing in front of his cage. “This was a game against our biggest rival, and it feels great to get the win” said Merida on the field after the game. The junior goalie is a cool customer in the cage for the GREEN. One thing you notice watching him tend goal is he doesn’t get riled when things get a little hairy in front of the goal, and he can handle a goal stick with the best of them.
In the third quarter things started to settle down as the defensive guys took over and stood tall for their teams. The Eagle offense was sort of stuck in the mud at the start of the half but the Wolverines couldn’t sneak anything past Merida in an effort to get back in the game. Nothing past the junior and in reality not much really reached him as the twin towers of Matt Stocks and Thomas Chown defended in front of the goal to keep North off the board. “They are my guys” said Merida, they do a great job up front and we communicate well”. The only goals in the third quarter came off the sticks of Tyler Howard and Drew Fields respectively. It was a time in the game that the Wolverines were being frustrated by the Eagle defense and the game turned a tad chippy. Both Eagle goals came just two minutes apart and when Fields ripped his second goal of the game past Ubiles with 4:08 left in the third, the Eagles had a 9-1 advantage heading into “winning time”.
North didn’t go quietly in the final stanza as the physicality increased and the Eagles had some penalty issues leaving them shorthanded for long stretches. Payton McKeever opened the scoring in the final frame for North. He snuck one past Merida with 10:11 left to cut the lead to 9-2. The Wolverines continued to press and got another goal, this time from the stick of Nick DeCola to cut the Forge advantage to 9-3 with 7:21 left.
Less than a minute later Howard ripped his second into the back of the net with 6:41 left and the Forge lead stretched to 10-3. Less than a minute later the Wolverines Jonathan Hunter scored to cut into the Eagle lead again but the Eagles attack Brando Sizemore sandwiched his two goals around a final North tally by DeCola. Sizemore’s second of the night found the back of the net with just over a minute remaining sending the GREEN clad fans to their cars enjoying a top seed in the district tournament but also looking forward to watching these two teams go at it again on Friday night.
The Forge will now play a pride game on Friday while they prepare for the district tournament next week as well as the region tournament to follow. “We play and get ready just like we practice” said Merida. The winning streak is growing and after Tuesday night, so is the Eagle confidence as they prove to be a tough out for anybody they come up against.