Fallston's Fantom saves day against Westminster

Reserve goalie checks Owls in 9-6 triumph

Class 3A-4A boys lacrosse

May 23, 1999|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Fallston reserve goalkeeper Justin Fantom has played in eight games this season, but his primary responsibility has been to back up starter Justin Evans.

Until now.

After Evans left in the first half of yesterday's Class 3A-4A state semifinal against Westminster with a broken right wrist, Fantom finished the game with five critical saves in the second half to preserve a 9-6 victory at UMBC Stadium.

The win meant that North region champ Fallston (15-3) will meet Severna Park at 8 p.m. Tuesday at UMBC for the state title, which the Cougars last won in 1987. Severna Park beat Dulaney last night, 10-8, in the other Class 3A-4A semifinal.

Westminster, the West region champ, saw its 11-game winning streak come to an end and finished at 14-5.

Evans' wrist was broken with 1: 37 left in the second quarter, when the junior goalie left his crease with the ball and was checked to the synthetic turf by Owls senior attack Ryan Esposito.

As Evans was helped off the field by trainers, Fantom anxiously entered the game.

"I was really nervous," the sophomore said. "But once the game started going, I had to focus on what was in front of me."

Cougars coach Joe Groszkowski said he never doubted Fantom's ability.

"I thought he would do a good job for us," Groszkowski said. "We have confidence in him."

Given a 6-1 halftime lead, Fantom was tested early and often as Westminster outshot the Cougars 16-9 in the second half.

Owls sophomore Jason Holman -- the team's leading scorer -- skidded a bullet off the turf past Fantom to cut the lead to 6-2 with 2: 18 gone in the third quarter.

But Fallston junior midfielder Joe Trentzsch notched his second goal of the game with 3: 10 left and sophomore midfielder Bryan Bradford added a goal 31 seconds later to give the Cougars an 8-2 lead.

After Westminster senior midfielder Ryan Fisher and Fallston senior midfielder Josh Warfield traded goals, the Owls turned up the pressure by scoring three straight goals.

First, Fisher scored his third of the game when he slung a shot from about 10 feet inside the right post at the 6: 02 mark. Less than three minutes later, senior attack Ryan Esposito earned his only point of the game when he found a wide-open Kyle Zentz on the right wing, and the sophomore attack beat Fantom with a low shot.

Then with 1: 42 left, Holman passed the ball to Fisher from about 15 feet away on the left wing, and the senior unleashed a laser into the far side of the net to cut the lead to 9-6.

Pub Date: 5/23/99

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