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Staff photos by MICHAEL REIDCalverton's boys lacrosse team celebrates after defeating Notre Dame Academy in overtime to win the Maryland Independent Lacrosse League championship.
ARNOLD –– It took two years to do so but The Calverton School finally vanquished its demons from two years ago with a wild 8-7 overtime win over Notre Dame Academy in the Maryland Independent Lacrosse League championship game Friday at Anne Arundel Community College's Siegert Field.
Calverton (11-3) appeared headed for the win, its first in three years, but the Dragons (11-10) tied the game on a goal by junior attack David Sterling with 4.2 seconds remaining in regulation.
But Cougars freshman Teddy Secor (12 of 19 on face-offs) won the faceoff to begin overtime and head coach Jonathan Montes called for a timeout.
"That's one of the main players in the game, the face-off man, because he controls the momentum and gives us possession," Calverton senior goalie Peter Spaulding said of Secor. "He did a great job for us."
And on a play called Tiger Top 360 Low, Calverton attack Josh Wynne beat Dragons goalie Colt Taylor 73 seconds into the period to set off a wild celebration.
"I'm happy for my seniors and I'm happy that my young guys stepped up and executed my game plan," Montes said after a dousing from the water cooler. "To send the guys out with a victory –– I could have done without the drama of them scoring with four seconds left and going to overtime, I really could have –– but I felt we worked our game plan."
"It feels good, I mean, it's kind of sad to go out as a senior," said Wynne, who said he felt "everything" when he saw his shot go in. "But to win the championship is the best way to go out."
Spaulding, who will attend Yale University in the fall on a lacrosse scholarship, added, "It's awesome. It was four years [of high school] going through [my head] when the goal went in."
The goal put an end to two years of frustration for the Cougars, who fell to Notre Dame in the 07 title game. Calverton was upset in the semifinals by The Heights School last season.
"It's tough because there were a lot of good guys on that team that were seniors that I wanted that victory for," Montes said of that team. "But I think this exorcises a few demons for that sophomore class. I can't tell you how proud I am of these guys. We committed to this and talked about how hard do they care and how hard do they want to work. We said that right after The Heights game last year and the guys put the time in. They played summer ball, they played fall ball; these guys worked."
"Sophomore year we played them and lost and now that we've won it's unbelievable," Calverton senior Jimmy Baker said. "We were really young then but it's bothered us a lot. And last year was really disappointing but this year makes up for that, too."
It appeared Calverton would win the final easily after sophomore attack Will Lerch (game-high three goals, game MVP) scored twice within a 10-second span in the first minute. The Cougars made it 3-0 after freshman David Goodwin (team-high nine shots) scored 7 minutes 38 seconds into the opening quarter.
"We knew that they could come back on a run," Spaulding said, "because a 3-0 score in the first quarter isn't going to hold."
Spaulding was right. Notre Dame closed the gap to one early in the second and a three-goal run to start the third quarter had the Dragons ahead 5-4 thanks to four man-up goals.
"We knew it was coming," Montes said. "You get guys free and give them 12-, 15-yard shots who can shoot 85-plus miles an hour, it's going to happen. They shot well and they shot off two or three screens that I saw."
But Calverton scored three of the next four goals, the final one by Goodwin with 1:13 left in the fourth quarter.
The Cougars appeared headed for the championship when Notre Dame's Oliver Martin was flagged for an illegal push with 53 seconds left, but a Calverton attacker inadvertently stepped out of bounds and the Dragons took possession with 45.7 seconds remaining. Calverton was flagged for an infraction 16 seconds later and Sterling knotted the game as the quarter wound down.
"It was down to 10 seconds left and they came around the backside and fed it in [front]," Spaulding said. "One of our defenders got a tip on it and I thought it was going out. On our scouting report we had No. 13 [Sterling] as the best ballhandler and he picked it up on the edge of the crease and dumped it in."
But Calverton regrouped during the break before overtime.
"It was just like, We need one more goal for the rest of our season,'" Baker said. "Of all the goals we scored [during the season], we just needed one more. We just had to shoot to win."
And it was Wynne that delivered the goal, along with two years worth of vindication."
Calverton 8, Notre Dame 7 (OT)
Notre Dame 1 1 3 2 0
Calverton 3 1 1 2 1
Goals: Notre Dame (Wright 2, Sherman 2, Nieves, Fletcher, Sterling); Calverton (Lerch 3, Baker 2, Goodwin 2, Wynne)
Saves: Notre Dame (Taylor 12); Calverton (Spaulding 5)