Poly rallies to beat Lake Clifton, 4-3

April 30, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

It was halftime, and though Poly's visiting lacrosse team trailed by only two, it had been getting hammered by unbeaten Lake Clifton.

"At halftime, I had to give them a big speech," said Engineer coach Augie Waibel. "I said 'our backs are to the wall, we're down 2-0, and we just have to suck it up.' "

The result was a come-from-behind 4-3 City-Wide League victory for Poly -- and the first setback for the Lakers (6-1).

The Lakers had outshot the Engineers, 12-1, in the first quarter (16-10 for the half).

Poly's James Wisniewski, the top scorer with 25 goals and 15 assists, was on his way to Children's Hospital with a possible left shoulder fracture from a crunching blow by Ricky Matthews.

The Engineers (9-1) now must hope for a Lake Clifton win in its May 9 meeting with Forest Park (10-0) -- an earlier 14-10 winner over Poly -- to secure a three-way tie for the title. Poly, City and Forest Park tied for last year's 2A-4A league crown.

The Lakers' Paul Preston entered the game with 35 goals and two assists (101 and 20 for his career), having scored the game-winners against Edmondson, 8-7, and Northwestern, 7-6.

Against Poly, Preston scored a goal in each of the first three quarters, the last breaking a 2-2 tie 1:43 before the fourth period to give the Lakers a 3-2 lead.

But the Engineers collared Preston through the fourth and rode the tempo established by midfielders Jerome Crocker and Morrison Wheeler and attackman Micha Hartman.

Poly had an overall 6-3 edge in faceoffs, with Crocker winning all five of his in the second half. Top scorers Wheeler (21 goals, 13 assists) and Hartman (21 goals, five assists) each had a goal and an assist for the Engineers, and Mike Alt scored once.

"They had a great scouting report, and this shows we need more people scoring," said Ricky Matthews, the Lakers' second leading scorer with five goals and four assists.

"Once you're up, the only place to go is down. And when we broke down, they keyed on Paul and played harder."

On a feed from David Newberger, Proctor tied the game at 3-3, with 5:34 left, on a leaping, point-blank shot over keeper David Fulgham (eight saves).

"It was a one-on-one," said Fulgham, "and he [Proctor] had his back to me. I tried to hit him before he could turn and get a good shot on me, but I was late."

Just 10 seconds later, a Proctor-to-Wheeler-to-Hartman relay put the Engineers up for good.

"The key [to the fast break] was Jerome Crocker," said Wheeler. "He and Newberger really stepped up on faceoffs when we needed them."

Newberger and Proctor usually combine with Wisniewski on faceoffs, but the Engineers' star never returned after the first period.

"When Jimmy went down, we knew we had to pick things up," said Hartman. "They [Lakers] had come out hard at first, like they were going to run away with it."

The Lakers, led by 6-foot-3, 260-pound Tory Gilliard, played a stingy man-to-man defense which coach John Baker honed during a Monday practice against No. 4 St. Paul's.

But the Lakers were slowed in the third period, when five of their six penalties were assessed. Though Poly failed to score on all five man-advantage penalties in the period, it managed to tie the game at 2 on unsettled goals by Mike Alt and Wheeler.

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