Seven-goal rally sends Westminster to 11-6 win

Adjustments by Owls overcome Liberty lead

Boys lacrosse

High schools

March 24, 2004|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Liberty created numerous scoring chances in the first half of last night's game with Westminster. The Lions scored six goals in the first 22 minutes and repeatedly found good shots and pressured the Owls.

But the Westminster defense shut down host Liberty's offense after that. Goalie Ben Huber made several tough stops, and Alex Finch sparked a seven-goal run that helped the visiting Owls rally for an 11-6 victory in the season opener for both teams.

Finch had a game-high three goals and an assist, and Huber made five of his eight saves during the second half as Westminster blanked Liberty over the final 26:28 in a battle of state semifinalists.

Westminster scored the game's final seven goals as the Lions became somewhat impatient on offense. Liberty had trouble finding good shots in the second half as defending county champion Westminster slowly pulled away.

"We just made a couple of adjustments at halftime," Westminster coach Jim Peters said. "When we [went] up by two, we showed a lot of composure. We just have to stay patient."

The Westminster defense shut down nearly everything in front of Huber in the second half. Greg Collard, Steve Mersinger and Adam VanLeeuwen were among those who helped slow a strong Liberty offense.

"We just slid better in the second half," VanLeeuwen said. "The midfielders were also playing better defense."

Liberty, led by two goals apiece from Matt Latham and Brian Denny, didn't work the ball as nicely as it did in the first half. Westminster's defense simply didn't allow the Lions to do very much in the final two quarters.

The Lions found some scoring chances in the second half, but either Huber made a big stop or they'd force a shot too soon.

Bryce Geiman (two goals) gave Westminster the lead for good with 10:08 left in the third quarter by scooping up a loose ball and firing a shot past Liberty goalie Bryan Trumbo (eight saves). Geiman then made it 8-6 with a goal from the doorstep with 39.5 seconds left in the quarter.

Mike Brown (one goal, two assists) then took a nice pass from Finch and scored with 8:48 left for a 9-6 advantage. Finch went on to score the final two Westminster goals.

"In the first half, we were forcing it too much," Finch said. "We did a better job of working it around in the second half."

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