Mount Hebron's Chris Vissers closed out his high school lacrosse career Saturday. He won't be playing in college.
But what an ending!
Vissers scored the overtime game-winner as the Vikings edged North Harford, 8-7, for the state Class 2A/1A championship.
Vissers is bound for Rice University on an academic scholarship, befitting his No. 1 academic standing with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average. He may play some club ball, but Rice does not field a lacrosse team.
While his teammates were celebrating, Vissers calmly explained how he was just doing his job.
"My role is to get into position on the crease and wait for a pass so I can score," he said. "It's rather easy, really."
Easy, indeed. Three times, Vissers positioned himself perfectly to accept assists from Jason Vettori, Bob Sites and finally Mike McQuaid. Vettori had two goals in the first half and Sites added two in the second half, but Mount Hebron could not shake the pesky Hawks.
North Harford forced the overtime with 16 seconds remaining when goalie Tommy Murrell converted a long clear to Chuck Kelly, who wheeled and scored to knot the score at 7.
"I was shocked at first when they tied it," said Vissers. I thought of our semifinal loss to them last year, when they did the same thing and then won it."
So did Sites.
"We just had to regroup for the overtime," said Sites, who shook a defender behind the goal, saw his opening and went straight to the goal. "I was looking at the crease defenseman all the way," said Sites. "I think he slid [off Vissers] a little too soon, but if he hadn't, I was going to put it in anyway."
That particular play is dubbed "mirror" and coach Warren Michael spent the pre-overtime moments getting his Vikings prepared to run it.
"It was deja vu for us after last year," Michael said. "I just stressed that discipline got us here and we were going to run the 'mirror' because that's what we do best."
Did it help to have a 4.0 student on the crease, awaiting that final pass?
"Sure," said Michael. "Chris makes intelligent decisions, but he's not the only one. Sites is going to the Naval Academy and McQuaid is going to Virginia."
With that braintrust running the attack, the Vikings were able to survive the loss of injured faceoff specialist Dan Hagan.
North Harford's Tim Lucky was anything but, controlling the first eight draws and 12 of 15. He even got the final faceoff, and the Hawks had a 30-second extra-man in the overtime session, but goalie Chris Parandian stopped Bret Schreiber's shot, setting up Vissers' heroics.