Goal as time expires lifts Westminster, 5-4

Duke's 40-yarder connects to fend off South Carroll, keep Owls undefeated

Boys lacrosse

April 24, 2002|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

With two seconds left in a tie boys lacrosse game against rival South Carroll last night, Westminster's Matt Duke knew there was no time to pass.

So the sophomore wound up and fired off a shot.

And his 40-foot prayer slipped through a stunned defense and a screened goalie, finding the back of the net at the buzzer to give the host Owls a 5-4 victory and keep them unbeaten and atop the Central Maryland Conference.

"I really wasn't looking at the goal. I just turned around and fired, and hoped for the best," Duke said. "I was going to pass it, but I just decided to shoot it. Luckily, the attackmen were screening the goalie. I have to give credit to them, because he couldn't see it. I just got lucky."

The shot capped a three-goal comeback for the Owls (9-0), who trailed 4-2 with under 9 minutes left.

"I thought we played tentative for the first part of the game," Westminster coach Jim Peters said. "We were taking plenty of shots, but we were hitting the kid in his stick. I wasn't really pleased with our shot selection."

Some of that had to do with South Carroll's effective zone defense and the exceptional goalkeeping of Denny Kosyjana (13 saves).

"We knew they were a run-and-gun team and had some great shooters. Our defense came to play, and they matched them," said South Carroll coach John O'Meally, who had high praise for his goalie. "You saw the best goalie in Carroll County, if not the CMC. He was phenomenal. He was making saves all over the place."

But after a lackluster performance in the first three quarters, marked by poor passing and little movement on offense, Westminster sprang to life over the final 12 minutes and outshot South Carroll 16-2.

The Owls made it 4-3 on Andrew Gehringer's second goal of the game with 8:21 left, then tied it on Justin Starnes' bullet from 10 yards with 1:55 remaining.

After calling a timeout with 16 seconds left, the Owls set up for the final play. With Gehringer, Danny Love and Starnes screening Kosyjana, Duke checked the clock and fired.

"Right when I shot it, I thought I heard the buzzer ... so I wasn't sure [if it was good]," Duke said. "I just looked at the ref and saw that he had his hands up."

John Williams led the Cavaliers (7-3) with two goals, both in the first half.

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