by Tom Utescher
On the warm, sunny Saturday before Easter, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy hosted a boys’ lacrosse game against a relatively unknown opponent from 2000 miles away, and it turned out to be a heck of a match.
The score of the contest was tied five times before the SCH Blue Devils finally emerged with an 8-7 victory over Corner Canyon High School, which is located roughly 20 miles south of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Fifth-year Blue Devils head coach (and athletic director) Mike DelGrande coached for many years at Maryland’s Bullis School before coming to Chestnut Hill, and one of his players there, Mark Davis, is now the head coach at Corner Canyon. For the Chargers, the visit here last weekend wrapped up a three-game East Coast trip that included victories over a pair of Maryland teams, The Heights and Good Counsel.
“Mark’s done a great job with his program and I knew they were going to be good,” said DelGrande. “I’d been telling my guys for awhile that this was not going to be an easy game.”
Corner Canyon is a newly-opened facility built when the growth of the student population outgrew the existing high school in the area and the school district was divided.
Lacrosse is still a club sport there and it is not yet sanctioned by Utah’s governing body for interscholastic athletics, but the Chargers’ coaches reported that there are now more than 50 high school programs around the state.
In the Beehive State squad’s appearance in Chestnut Hill last Saturday, SCH senior Tasso Karras and freshman Jack Lamb each produced a hat trick for the victors, who brought their overall record up to the .500 mark at 6-6. As usual, the Blue Devils split time in goal between their two veteran keepers, with senior Xander Pacilio starting and recording six saves, and junior Matt Eckles coming in for the second half and finishing with four stops.
Within the demanding Inter-Ac League, the Blue Devils will try to collect their first win this week as they tackle another 0-4 team, Germantown Academy. They entered the Corner Canyon game coming off a frustrating trip to Manheim Township High School on Thursday. Falling behind 9-2 in the first half, the Blue Devils outscored the Lancaster laxers 7-4 after the interlude, but still came home with a 13-9 defeat.
“That was an example of where we didn’t play a complete game,” DelGrande said after the Corner Canyon contest, “but today we played hard right from the beginning.”
Less than 90 seconds after the initial face-off Lamb notched his first goal, as his ball struck Chargers’ keeper Kade Arbon and rolled past him into the cage. Four minutes later, Corner Canyon was even-up after Casey Rose cut through the right side of the attack zone and slung a rising shot up into the far corner of the SCH goal. Soon after that, Karras got going with a strike off of a roll dodge in front of the net, and the quarter ended with the hosts ahead, 2-1.
The game was tied again in the opening minute of the second period, with the Chargers slipping the ball inside to Harry Waddoups right on the doorstep of the CHA goal. The Blue Devils briefly separated themselves from their guests as freshman Malcolm Glendinning and his classmate Lamb combined for a pair of goals in a span of about a minute-and-a-half. Glendinning drove straight in from the top of the offensive set for his marker, while Lamb scored after the Devils collected the rebound of a pipe-pinger by Glendinning.
The home team’s advantage would not hold up until halftime, though. In the last three minutes and nine seconds the Chargers’ Waddoups and Rose each scored for a second time in the game for a 4-4 count at the break.
The scoreboard seesawed up to 5-5 during the third period, when a second goal by Karras for SCH was answered by Corner Canyon’s Matt Graney off a feed from Cole Parkinson.
With a little under two minutes gone in the fourth quarter, the Devils chalked up number six on a nicely-timed play, with senior Jackson Kleintz, out in the flat on the left, hitting Lamb in stride on a cut up the middle. SCH picked up a penalty with 9:13 remaining in the game, and although it was just a 30-second infraction, it was costly.
The Chargers took advantage of the brief man-up stint to have Zack Franckowiak set up a score by Max Asay, tying the match one last time at 6-6 with 8:54 to go.
The home team was ahead again just 62 seconds later thanks to junior Mike Bown, who pocketed a pass from senior Tom Hogan and wound up for an overhand slam in front of the goal.
Just after Eccles turned aside what could’ve been another tying goal for Corner Canyon (a difficult stop on a hard bounce shot), SCH called time out at 7:08, than came back out to net its final goal of the day with 6:05 left to play. Kleintz set it up with a feed from behind the cage, and Karras side-armed the shot from a few yards off the right post.
The Blue Devils now had their second two-goal lead of the afternoon, but they gave Corner Canyon an opening when they were penalized one minute for slashing with 5:37 on the clock. They were just an unlucky 13 seconds away from surviving the man-down shift when Waddoups completed a personal hat trick for the Chargers, drilling a straight-on shot from about a dozen yards out to make it an 8-7 game.
The Chargers now picked up two penalties over the next several minutes, hampering their quest for the tying goal. On the last really dangerous shot he faced, the Blue Devils’ Eccles stopped a ball launched by Rose (two goals total) with 1:43 remaining in the game.
Corner Canyon had used up its time-outs, but SCH called one with 23 seconds left, looking to calm things down and run out the clock. It worked for a bit, but the Devils turned the ball over behind the visitors’ cage with about 11 seconds left. The Chargers got the ball across midfield and then lost possession just a few ticks before the horn went off.
“We needed this kind of game today,” DelGrande summed up. “We’ve been preaching to the guys that we need to play four quarters and we need to win everything, every ground ball, every one-on-one match-up. I really can’t single anyone out, because it was such a good team game on both ends of the field. Both of our goalies had a phenomenal game, and all around I’m very proud of the effort we put in today.”