Friends rallied around an injury to a key player to win the Centennial Spring Lacrosse Tournament yesterday.
Will Sale of Friends scored five goals and had an assist in the 10-3 championship-game victory over No. 14-ranked Centennial, and in the process was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
The injured player was sophomore attackman Colin Malloy, who broke a leg in the first game against Queen Anne's County.
"We felt up against it after losing him," said Friends coach Rich Seiler, "but the guys came together really for the first time this season."
Entering the tournament, Friends (3-2) had lost to Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference opponents Gilman and St. Mary's, but had beaten the B Conference's Archbishop Spalding.
The Quakers made it look easy against Centennial, which had lost to Annapolis, but beat Leonardtown.
Evan Kay, a senior captain, scored 2 1/2 seconds into the game.
"Evan is our best player, and I told him he had to be a leader because of the injury," Seiler said. "His early goal set the tone."
Dave Melara scored a second goal for Friends before two minutes had elapsed.
"When a team scores 2 1/2 seconds in, then you're suddenly on your heels,'` said Centennial coach Mike Siegert. "Then they score two minutes later, and you still haven't touched the ball offensively. It took the wind out of our sails."
Sale made it 3-0 with 5:19 left in the first period.
And after a bouncing goal by Centennial's Greg Long closed the gap to 3-1, Sale scored two more goals.
The first came off a loose ball that Centennial repeatedly failed to pick up near midfield, and the second was off an inbounds play with eight seconds left in the half, a goal that put the Quakers ahead 5-1.
"We had good team ball movement, the defense stuck together and we made fewer mistakes than Centennial," Sale said. "We wanted to prove ourselves, and this was a primer for McDonogh Tuesday."
Sale scored three goals and had one assist in Friend's 10-3 victory over Queen Anne's.
Siegert blamed defensive mistakes for the loss to Friends. "We gave them their strong hands and they hurt us on cuts," Siegert said. "Anytime you play a MIAA school, you play the best, and you have to play your best to do well.
"We made mistakes and they took advantage. By halftime, it was too many goals to make up. But we didn't quit and played hard the second half."
Friends played a man-to-man defense in the first half, but a zone in the second half.
Centennial didn't fare much better against the zone. Matt Peters scored two goals for the Eagles in the second half, the second one with eight seconds left in the third quarter.
Bel Air (3-2) won the consolation game over Queen Anne's, 8-6. Cory Skurdel and Brian Kemper each scored two goals for Bel Air.
"We were missing three starters, but Zach Howard and Brian Kemper held us together," said Bobcats coach Colin Carr. "We have a young squad, but I saw a lot of potential today."