The post-game subs, which are regularly provided by Sandwich senior Cam Lopes’ father, Ron, who runs Mike’s Pizzeria in Rockland, came with an extra taste of victory on Monday, June 10.
Sandwich boys’ lacrosse erased a two-goal deficit entering the fourth-quarter—nearly shutting out 10th-seed Plymouth South over the final 12 minutes—as the second-seeded Knights captured a 10-8 win in the Division 2 South Sectional semifinal at Hanover High School.
“I think we refused to lose individual battles in that fourth quarter. And, honestly, one of my assistant coaches came in and said, ‘Boys, this is it. We have one quarter to get this done.’ These kids don’t want it to be over. They love this. Quite frankly, I do too,” Sandwich head coach Mike McNeill said after the game.
Following a 4-4 deadlock at halftime, the Panthers and Knights traded goals midway through the third quarter to still be tied, 5-5. But Plymouth took a 7-5 advantage into the fourth quarter after quickly scoring two goals back-to-back.
The fourth quarter, however, was a different story. The Knights defense clamped down and allowed the offense to go to work at chipping away at Plymouth South’s lead.
Junior co-captain CJ Wiper scored one of his team-high four goals on a fastbreak after gaining a turnover at midfield. He raced down and faked out the Panthers’ goalie before burying the goal to draw within a goal, 7-6, with 8:45 left. Roughly 30 seconds later, following junior Tim Ladner winning a draw, senior co-captain Charlie Chapman unleashed a wicked snipe from about 10 yards out to the right of the goal to tie the game at seven apiece.
Three minutes later, freshman Dan Bader, a longstick midfielder, came up with a crucial steal and fed a streaking Aidan Rodgers, who netted the go-ahead goal in diving fashion.
“That steal and the assist from Bader—a freshman—was unbelievable,” McNeill said. “I really think our defense played really well. Our goal entering the game was [to allow] eight at a maximum. Six would be good, but eight max. And the offense had to do their job.”
Soon after, Lopes rifled in what would eventually amount to the game-winning goal that gave Sandwich a 9-7 lead with 4:15 left. With time working against Plymouth South, the Panthers were hellbent on sparking a comeback of their own. But the defense of the Knights barely budged an inch. It was Bader once again who came up with a timely ground ball recovery with 2:45 left in the game and the Knights promptly called timeout to go over their final few minutes.
Following Sandwich’s final timeout, a ricocheted shot fell directly into the lap of Ladner, who fired off a rolling shot that would be the Knights’ final goal of the game. That gave Sandwich a 10-7 lead with 2:12 remaining.
Wiper had four goals and an assist while Rodgers had two goals and two assists to lead the charge offensively for Sandwich. Anthony Guarino, Chapman, Ladner and Lopes all had one goal each. Ladner also went 20-of-21 in the faceoff circle, while junior goalie Carson Schemenaur stopped nine saves in net.
“They just shook off [the third quarter] and went on and played. They were good teammates and played as a team at the end. I think that’s what was the slight difference in the end,” McNeill said.
Plymouth South, which lost to Sandwich at home on May 17, 17-11, added one goal with about 20 seconds left to give the game its final score of 10-8. Now the Knights turn their attention to the Division 2 South final in another rematch game against the top-seeded Hanover Indians. On May 21 at DeConto Stadium, the Indians escaped with a 13-11 win. It will be the third-straight playoff game in which the Knights will meet a team they played in the regular season.
“They’ve seen us too. But both teams change, so there’s no resting on past experience. It’s hard to beat a team twice. I think Plymouth South was thinking that ahead of this game. I think they’re right,” McNeill said. “Playing these guys a second time we kind of know what we’re going to get and vice versa.”