Up 7-3 midway through the third quarter of a boys lacrosse game April 5, host Rocky River carried all the momentum.
Quickly, though, visiting Bay added a fourth goal. Then a fifth, a sixth and a game-tying seventh goal with just two minutes left in regulation. The Rockets had sucked the wind out of the Pirates’ sails.
Despite controlling possession for nearly all of the first overtime period, Bay (3-3, 1-2 Northern Ohio Lacrosse League) couldn’t put Rocky River (4-2, 3-1 NOLL) away. In the second overtime, however, the Pirates won possession, set up their offense and tucked in the game-winning goal to secure an 8-7 victory.
It was the Pirates’ fourth win in a row after an 0-2 start to the season.
Junior Mack Massad, who scored the game-winning goal, said the team had its offensive set planned before the first overtime but didn’t get a chance to execute it. After winning the second overtime faceoff, however, it was time.
“Credit to our defense, a phenomenal stand, we held them for almost the entire overtime,” Massad said. “We got the faceoff in the second overtime and we knew that it’s worked before in previous games, putting everyone on one side and just sweeping across. There was a short stick on me so I just took it right across and put it in.”
First-year Rocky River coach Griffin Vehar said despite his team giving up four unanswered goals, he was pleased with the fight they showed amidst that adversity.
“Obviously it’s a game of runs, but our defense was huge today,” Vehar said. “I don’t know what the second half and overtime possession time was, but you owe the entire win to our defense today.”
Vehar’s message to the team has been to play simple rather than trying to overcomplicate the game. He said that was part of what led to Bay’s run, and he credited the Rockets for capitalizing on that opening.
“We’ve been getting on the guys about playing our brand of lacrosse,” Vehar said. “It just comes down to some fundamentals and effort. We don’t need to do 1,000 different drills, we just ask them to do a couple things very well and work their butts off when they’re on the field. You can tell some guys kind of took their foot off the gas a little bit and all credit to Bay, they saw that and they capitalized.”
Juniors Ryan Hildebrand and Tyler Fortune led the Pirate offense with two goals each. Fellow juniors Mac Scott and Wes Bennett and sophomore Rowan McDougal each added goals in regulation as well.
For Bay, junior Zach Rose led the way with a four-goal effort, with senior Wyatt Fleming and juniors Patrick Lehane and Carson Gergye tacking on a goal.
To come so close in a rivalry game and fall short hurts, but Bay coach Kyle Figy said he was proud of his team’s effort above all else.
“Down a couple guys with injuries that are starters, guys stepped up and we never quit,” Figy said. “We’ve had a couple of these one-goal or overtime games, I know they’ll never quit. I can’t ask anything else out of a team than knowing they’re not going to give up.”
Massad said the Pirates are feeling good and riding high as the season truly kicks into gear.
“We’re coming into some big games statewide in the next month but getting a couple of these games, especially against a rival like Bay, I think everyone knows at least one person on that team, is big, especially in double overtime,” he said.
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