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Staff photos by REID SILVERMANGood Counsel goalie Patrick McEnerney can't prevent Ryken's Connor Cook from scoring in the second quarter of Thursday's game.
Through all of the minutes and seconds of a season-total 19 games, conference and nonconference, day games and night games, tournament games and nontournament games, it came down to 31 seconds for the St. Mary's Ryken Knights boys lacrosse team.
Down 8-7 with 31 seconds left to play in Thursday's Washington Catholic Athletic Conference semifinal contest against the Good Counsel Falcons, the Knights gained possession of the ball with the length of the field to travel.
As the clock ran down, the Knights had the ball at their end with the clock, and opportunity, ticking away.
Faced against a stiff Good Counsel defense, the clock eventually hit zero and the Knights were unable to get a final shot away, dropping the contest, 8-7, ending their 12-game winning streak and their season.
"We had plenty of time here to get a shot, but we just didn't get that shot off," Ryken head coach John Sothoron said. "Our offense was a little tight today as far as ball movement and I think we tried to force it. They had a very good defense and they had a very good goalie. He is the best goalie in the league. We just did not get the job done, but I am proud of my kids. We had a great year."
Ryken (15-4 overall) fell behind 3-0 in the first quarter to the Falcons before opening the second quarter with three unanswered goals to tie the game at 3. The two teams then played to two ties, at 4-4 with 3 minutes 54 seconds left in the first half and 5-5 with 41 seconds left, and exchanged the lead twice over the rest of the first half, eventually going into the half tied at 5.
Good Counsel took the lead on a Graham Dabbs goal to start the second half and after a Ryken goal tied it at 6, Dabbs scored his third of three goals to return the lead back to Good Counsel for good, 7-6.
"St. Mary's Ryken is far and away the most athletically capable and physical team that we play, top to bottom," Good Counsel head coach Matt Durkin said. "They produce such great athletes and in order for us to compete with them, we have to stay away from the physical game. We have to play more of the mental game and move-the-ball type game and keep their athletes moving off ball."
"It was a really good game," Dabbs admitted. "We had to really think about this game. Getting on the bus, we were all really ready and serious. No one was really getting pumped or hype about the game, we just wanted to play a real mental and stable game."
The Knights will lose a large number of seniors from the team including Connor Cook, who was the only Ryken player to score multiple goals (2) in the loss.
"I feel bad for my 10 seniors," Sothoron said. "That game could have gone either way. We got beat on ground balls and we got beat on faceoffs and that's a big part of the game. We hit a bunch of pipes, I don't know how many pipes we had, it was five by my count, and if half of those go in, we easily win. We missed a couple of other shots on top of that also.
"Somebody had to lose that game. it was an intense, close game the entire way. But it doesn't make [my guys] feel any better, especially the seniors. I feel bad for them. This is their last game. I am very proud of that group. They gave me a tremendous effort, not just through the season but the entire year with how hard they have worked and trained. Great bunch of kids to work with."
Good Counsel 8, Ryken 7
Good Counsel 3 2 2 1
St. Mary's Ryken 0 5 1 1
Goals: Good Counsel (Dabbs 3, Poulos 2, Becraft, Durkin, Buzy); Ryken (Cook 2,
Blondino, Boutin, Baranowski, Yates, Spaulding)
Saves: Good Counsel (McEnerney 6); Ryken