Boys' lacrosse flattens archrival Springbrook, 9-4
BLAZER STADIUM, March 27
As the rain fell in sheets Friday night, the boys' lacrosse team seized the opportunity to avenge last season's stinging 2-0 playoff loss to the Springbrook Blue Devils, Blair's traditional rivals. After an initial deficit the Blazers dominated, blowing past Springbrook in a 9-4 win.
The Blazers came into the game highly motivated by their team's past experiences against the Blue Devils. "Springbrook's a huge rival," senior co-captain Andy Holmes said. "I've been playing varsity here for four years, I've never beat Springbrook." Victory however, did not come easily.
Springbrook dominated the beginning of the game, driving deep into Blair's defensive zone. The Devils made up for somewhat careless ball control and inaccurate shots with very physical play, beating the Blazers to almost every loose ball. Although the Devils was unable to coordinate a controlled attack, Blair's initial effort was sabotaged by sloppy passes, making it easy for Springbrook to score. The Devils quickly settled in, scoring their first goal just three minutes into the game. After winning the following face-off, the Devils once again overwhelmed Blair's surprised defense, scoring their next goal just 26 seconds later.
As the game continued, Blair's offensive effort gained shape but didn't manage to fully establish itself. Offensive drives yielded only shots-on-net, which were turned out and led to renewed Springbrook attack. As the first quarter continued though, Springbrook's clumsy offensive play was showing signs of a strain against a resurging Blair defense that held the Devils to two goals. A goal by senior defender Andy Holmes on a pass from senior defender Jason Glasgow-Jackson was the first ray of hope for the Blazers, coming with just 33.5 seconds left in the quarter.
Springbrook failed to recharge as the second quarter started, running into an increasingly belligerent Blair defense. Attempted attacks by Devils' offensemen were blocked by aggressive physical play by junior middie Lukas Petersen and strong poke-checking from Holmes. This was combined with more fruitful offensive plays. After barely a minute, senior middie Tom Clement scored unassisted, evening the score at 2-2. Another goal by senior middie Mike Mozer moments later gave the Blazers the lead. Springbrook tried to keep it close, taking advantage of a fumbled pass by sophomore goalie Kit Durban to tie the game. A more coordinated Blair team soon regained a 4-3 lead after freshman middie Evan Horne scored his first varsity goal halfway through the quarter. Up until the end of the quarter, Springbrook continued its attempts to exploit Blair weaknesses. They maintained their domination over loose balls and placed pressure near every Blair fumble, leading to very close saves by Durban that would have Blazers holding their breath.
By the third quarter, Blair broke away from the sagging Devils. The Blazers succeeded in maintaining solid offensive control, cycling around a Springbrook defense that seemed muted and unenthusiastic. Goals by several offensemen, including Clement and attacker Guodong Fu, helped the Blazers extend their lead over a team that was still offensively viable, recovering quickly to rush Blair's net. Although this eventually yielded a goal, it was too little too late for Springbrook, which ended a drizzly third period losing 8-4.
A defensive recovery allowed Clement to score the final goal of the game early in the fourth quarter, bringing the score to 9-4. Afterwards, drizzles became a downpour, drastically affecting visibility and cohesion for both teams. Players tripped and fell on a slippery field, making ball control all but impossible. Attempts at goals by both teams would all eventually fail.
Head coach Bob Gibb was visibly thrilled by the victory. "This was the first time we beat Springbrook in a long time," Gibb said. "We really came back strong." Players also reflected this mood. "This is just huge," Holmes said. "It was great team effort, coming out in the elements and playing well."
The Blazers' next home game is Wednesday, April 2 against Blake at 7 p.m.
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