Buzzer-beater burns Titans

March 30, 2006, midnight | By Ethan Kuhnhenn | 15 years, 8 months ago

Blair's second victory one to remember

The Blair lacrosse team picked up its second win of the season in dramatic fashion, ending a one-game slide by defeating the Einstein Titans 4-3 Tuesday night.

It was a back and forth game for most of the night, but the Blazers overcame a one-goal deficit in the fourth period and scored two goals in less than two minutes, including the game winner in the dying seconds of the match, to overcome a tough Einstein squad.

Einstein scored first with a little over eight minutes left in the first quarter, but Blair limited the Titans to only a few scoring opportunities for the rest of the half. Although they struggled offensively, Blair displayed a scrappy defense that allowed them to enter the second half down only one goal.

After the half, Blair's offense began to click and the Blazer midfield and attack were able to string together a few successful runs, some of which resulted in goals. Sophomore Jamie Binns tied the game up early in the third quarter on a hard, bouncing shot from 15 yards out. Shortly after Binn's game-tying shot, senior Aaron Simon, a right-hander, broke the game open with a tough lefty shot under heavy pressure from more than a couple Titan defenders.

The two-goal third quarter would have ended on a high note if Blair had exhibited the same intensity on the defensive end as they had in the first half. In the final minutes of the third quarter, the Blazer defense made a couple of mental errors that led to easy Titan goals. The Titans' equalizer came during a man-down situation following a Blair penalty, but instead of regrouping, Blair let in a third goal minutes later. This time, a Titan forward intercepted a cross-field pass from a Blair long-pole and capitalized on the ensuing one-on-one opportunity with Blair goalkeeper Robbie Ginsberg.

Down one to start the fourth quarter, the Blazers knew that they would need to pick up the energy if they wanted to stay in the game. Most of the fourth resembled the scoreless second quarter until a late offensive surge by Blair turned the game around. Junior Patrick McQuighan scored first with only 1:30 left in the match, off an assist from Simon. McQuighan's clutch goal late in the fourth was only overshadowed by what came next.

In the final minute, Blair relentlessly pressed a worn-down Titans squad and eventually won possession with less than 30 seconds left. With 12 ticks left on the clock, Binns drove to the goal, searching for any opportunity to put the ball in the back of the net. That opportunity came in the form of junior Phillip Allen, a first-time lacrosse player whose only experience was playing in three prior varsity games. According to Binns, "I was coming in and I had no options so I threw it to Phil who shot it at the goal and as the dust settled the ball was in the back of the net."

As the Blair team mobbed their hero, the stunned Titans could only shake their heads and wonder how they let a close game get away from them.

Though they were ecstatic about their last second victory, the Blazers understood that there were still elements of their game that needed obvious improvement. The team's "inability to get shots off on set plays and inability to capitalize on fast breaks forced [them] to resort to last-second heroics," junior captain Nick Mozer said.

Coach Robert Gibb was also disappointed with his team's fluidity and cohesiveness but was quick to note that all of this would improve over the season. "We need more patience, more awareness on offense," Gibb said. "We need to learn to work and function better as a unit. A lot of the players are new to the game which makes it difficult because it's a complicated sport to learn."

Ethan Kuhnhenn. Ethan Kuhnhenn is a junior in the Communication Arts program and is entering his first year as a SCO staff member. When he's not fishing in his new bass boat, you can probably find him at Taco Bell chilling with his best friend, the cheesy … More »

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