Going home with the prize
McDonough upsets La Plata for county boys lacrosse title
Friday, May 14, 2010
The McDonough Rams came out ready to play from the first faceoff in the Charles County boys lacrosse championship game Wednesday evening at North Point High School.
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Staff photo by EMILY BARNES
Josh Riddick scores three goals in McDonough's championship win over La Plata.
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La Plata's Jon Mattingly attempts to check McDonough's Tyler Wilkinson.
McDonough was up against a La Plata squad that had lost just one game in two seasons coming into the title clash. And after back-to-back losses in the regular season to the Warriors, the Rams got the Warriors where it counted the most as they held on to win the championship, 6-5.
Junior Josh Riddick led the Rams with three goals.
"It's the best feeling ever. I don't know. It's just amazing," Riddick said. "I knew they were going to try and set something [during the last timeout]. I was playing midfield and had never played attack before and they [the coaches] just helped me learn everything."
The Warriors finish 11-1 overall.
"I think Clarence and Rob did a great job getting their boys ready to play," La Plata head coach Kris Bayer said. "They just outhustled us. We got beat to groundballs and they made the most of their opportunities. Our goalie Nathan Bonnin had a phenomenal second half, giving up only one goal and stopping two breakaways, but we just couldn't score. We had a hard time hitting the cage but we had our chances. Give McDonough credit –– they just wanted it more than we did."
Trailing 5-2 at halftime, the Warriors made a comeback run in the third quarter with good combinations from Eric Martin and Nathan Hupp.
The Rams (9-3) still had the 6-4 lead entering the fourth quarter. La Plata looked to close to within a goal with junior Kyle Jefferson in the penalty box for pushing, but weren't able to capitalize on it.
Nathan Bonnin made one of his 16 saves with 3 minutes 4 seconds left in regulation to give La Plata a sigh of relief and keep it a two-goal game. Martin went on the attack for the Warriors and was able to bring his team to within 6-5 with just 1:52 left in the game.
It was a fight to the end with La Plata defender Kyle Swann not letting Riddick out of his sight as Riddick had control of the ball in the final seconds of play. Riddick toyed with his opposition until the final horn was blown and the upset of the season came to a conclusion.
"I would have liked a bigger lead," McDonough head coach Clarence Black said, "but I have to give La Plata a lot of credit. They're an excellent team. They know how to use their extra-man offense. They know how to put points on the board. The guys did an excellent job. We worked on moving the ball around in the box in practice. We worked on a lot of one-on-one drills. Our ground balls are still hurting us a little bit, but overall determination was a big factor tonight."
The two first-quarter goals by the Rams gave La Plata's defense something to think about. La Plata midfielder Sam Miller failed to scoop up a groundball and Rams senior captain Tyler Wilkinson took advantage of the loose ball, scoring just 3:05 into the game. Riddick dumped one past Bonnin 5:29 later for the 2-0 lead.
McDonough jumped out to a 3-0 lead three minutes into the second quarter when Riddick scored his second goal of the night as he jumped in the air and flicked the ball one-handed into the back of the net.
The Warriors got on the board when the Rams had three players in the penalty box –– giving La Plata the five-on-three advantage.
Rams senior Kris Turner, junior Zach Centrella and junior Chase James were protecting the net at the time when midfielder Ben Szoch (10 shots on goal) broke La Plata's silence for the first time in the game with an assist from Hupp, making it 3-1 with 7:03 left until halftime.
Wilkinson made his presence known again for the Rams with his second goal of the night with 5:35 to go. Bonnin watched the ball go directly up into the air and fall back behind him as he scrabbled to find it.
Just 2 minutes later, Riddick scored his third goal with an assist from Wilkinson, extending the Rams' lead to 5-1.
"I teach my guys that the assist is more important than the goal," Black said. "It takes more to give up the ball. My midfielders are my workers and I call my defense waste management.' I tell them their job is to pick up the trash. It's a team effort and teams don't kill us with the first shot. They kill us with the second and third shots."
A frustrated Warriors bench pumped itself up and scored just 38 seconds later when midfielder Eric Erion brought it to within 5-2. Just before the half-time horn, Riddick got one more shot off with 4 seconds on the clock, but the shot was wide of Bonnin's net.
The Rams are excited to finally compete next season in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference.
"We still have a lot of work to do and the SMAC [conference] is a big deal," Black said. "You have a lot of guys that have been playing for years. They can play right- and left-handed. I'm more than willing to work with my guys on what they need to improve and I'm happy with the way they came together as a team this year."
"We're looking forward to playing in SMAC, absolutely, but we know that's a whole new ballgame," Bayer said. "I think we've built a good foundation to succeed in the long term, but I don't see us going 21-2 in our first two years there like we did in Charles County. Every team in the county made great strides this year and I'm looking forward to seeing how we stack up against the other teams in SMAC."
McDonough 6, La Plata 5
McDonough 2 3 1 0
La Plata 0 2 2 1
Goals: McDonough (Riddick 3, Wilkinson 2, Chambers);
La Plata (Martin 2, Szoch, Erion, Hupp)
Saves: McDonough (Harris 5); La Plata (Bonnin 16)