Fifteen minutes after his Havre de Grace lacrosse team had beaten Aberdeen, 4-2, Coach Tom Nelson still couldn't figure out exactly why the Warriors had won.
"We had an illegal stick and a guy thrown out. Just on those two, we were man-down for six minutes when (Aberdeen)can score as many goals as they want. And we still won. I don't understand it, but I'll take it," said Nelson.
The coach and the rest of the team can thank goalie Patrick Campbell, whose stellar efforts made up for 11 minutes of man-down play. The senior keeper came up with 20 saves, including a handful of spectacular ones.
"Their goalie won the game for them. He played a heck of a game," said Tom Evans, Aberdeen assistant coach. "We took 32 shots. You can't take 32 shots and only get two of them in and expect towin."
Both of Aberdeen's goals in Thursday's game came within a minute in the second quarter. Both were extra-man goals after Warriors' attackman Sean Smith picked up a three-minute non-releaseable penalty for playing with a stick that was too short.
Justin Crothers, the Eagles' face-off man, took over the game for the next two minutes.After missing four shots earlier in the quarter, he scored Aberdeen's first goal with 4 minutes, 24 seconds left before halftime -- just 35 seconds after Smith went to the penalty box.
The senior middie followed that by winning the face-off and scoring a second goal 52 seconds later. That gave the Eagles (1-2) a 2-1 lead, but it didn't last long, even though they outshot Havre de Grace, 12-3, in the quarter.
With 1:42 remaining, Warriors' middie Jason Barnard picked up a loose ball and tied the game at 2-2. Freshman attackman Ryan Miller had scored the first goal midway through the first quarter.
Middie Richard Berg scored both second-half goals to extend the Warriors lead by one in each quarter.
Defensively, the Warriors had some stellar moments that saved them from a few disastrous ones. With 2:53 leftin the third quarter, the Warriors picked up their second three-minute non-releaseable penalty when a player was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct.
At the same time, the Warriors picked up a slashing penalty leaving them down two men for a minute. The rest of the defense, however, held Aberdeen to just one shot for the rest of the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Warriors held off another Aberdeen flurry as Campbell came up with seven saves.
"I was happy with our effort," said Nelson. "I see them getting better, but we still have alot of work to do on defense."
Despite the loss, Evans said the Eagles are also showing improvement. "We're finally starting to play as a team. We have some good athletes on this team, but they've just started to mesh."