Liberty deflects late bolt by Lightning, wins, 11-10

Freedman's 5 lead Lions past rallying Long Reach

Boys lacrosse

March 23, 2000|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Liberty coach Sal Picataggi wanted to test his team's mettle, junior attackman Steve Freedman wanted to test his scoring touch, and junior attackman Mark Donahue wanted to test a healed collarbone.

All three earned passing marks last night as the Lions broke open a tie game in the third quarter and then withstood a late Long Reach rally to edge the visiting Lightning, 11-10, in Eldersburg.

Liberty (1-0) appeared to put the season opener for both teams out of reach when Donahue scored his third goal with 6: 05 left in the final quarter, giving the Lions an 11-6 lead.

But Long Reach (0-1) scored four unanswered goals goals in 2 1/2 minutes to pull within one. After a Liberty turnover with 44 seconds left, the Lightning had an opportunity to extend the game to overtime.

But Lions junior goalkeeper Greg Stange (eight saves) snatched an errant pass by Long Reach senior midfielder Tom Williams to seal the victory.

The dramatic ending left an exhausted Picataggi to talk about his squad's effort.

"Oh, boy, did they show a lot of heart tonight," he said of a team that was 5-8 last spring. "We needed this so bad. We worked so hard in the preseason, and we had a lot to prove after last year."

For Donahue, the game was a chance to see if a collarbone that was fractured in the fifth game of last season could endure the checks and wallops of a regular-season lacrosse game.

"I was a little nervous," said Donahue, who added an assist. "I knew [Long Reach was] a big team and that they liked to hit. After the first hit, I knew the collarbone was fine."

Freedman, who saw his goal production drop off after Donahue and a senior academic casualty sat out most of last season, rediscovered his eye as he tied Lightning senior attackman Mark Skakle with a game-high five goals.

"I've been playing with Mark for six years, so we know how to find each other," Freedman said. "And Kris being back, it's unbelievable."

Although Liberty had the advantage in shots (33-18) and faceoffs (13-10), Long Reach battled back -- a development that pleased Lightning coach Tom Minard.

"Maybe last year, we would've folded at five goals down," he said. "But the kids fought back, and they played with a lot of pride."

Williams finished with two goals and two assists, and junior attackman Matt Nesbit registered a goal and three assists for Long Reach.

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