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WP boys’ lax team brings home 9th championship title

By Managing Editor, Lisa Capitelli | May 18, 2017
Photo by: Lisa Capitelli The Worcester Prep boys’ lacrosse team poses for a photo after capturing the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference championship last Friday, with a 12-8 victory over the Gunston Day Herons in Berlin.

(May 19, 2017) A seven-goal run in the third quarter shifted the momentum in the Worcester Prep boys’ lacrosse team’s favor and the Mallards went on to win their ninth consecutive Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference championship last Friday, topping the Gunston Day Herons, 12-8, in Berlin.

“We played kind of shaky to start, but that third quarter really sparked us,” Worcester junior captain Tucker Brown said. “I think that really took us to the next step. When we scored three or four in a row it opened the gap a decent amount and we weren’t looking back.”

The Mallards led 3-2 at the end of the first quarter. Worcester pulled ahead 5-2, but Gunston netted three goals to tie the score 5-5 going into the halftime break.

“I was impressed with [Gunston’s] game plan. I thought they came out and played a great game,” Prep Coach Kevin Gates said. “We played right into their hands in the first half.”

Gates talked about shot placement with his players during the break.

“Their goalie is a big kid and we were shooting high. Big kids have a tough time getting down to their feet, so you’ve got to shoot low,” he said. “That’s what we told them at halftime – to shoot low. That was what won the game for us.”

“We got together as a group and hyped each other up and were ready to go,” junior captain Sam Cantello said. “We knew we had to get them now.”

Worcester rattled off seven goals in eight minutes to pull ahead 12-5.

“When it was 5-5 I was OK, but worried the guys would panic a little,” Gates said. “When I looked up and it was 10-5 I felt better.”

Gunston tallied two goals and at the end of the third quarter, the Prep team was ahead 12-7. The Herons netted one goal in the fourth.

Cantello led Worcester with four goals and one assist.

“It was just a team effort,” he said. “A lot of times it was my teammates giving me the ball – I was the last one to get it and put it in. Everything was through the offense and we moved the ball well.”

Senior Reid Carey chipped in with three goals and Brown had two goals and three assists. Senior captain Patrick Petrera contributed two goals and one assist. Sophomore Owen Tunis netted one.

Senior goalie Rayne Parker stopped three Gunston shots.

Players who received All-Conference honors were recognized following the game.

Brown, Petrera, Cantello, sophomores Cooper Richins and Cole Berry and senior captain Max Bisaha were named to the All-ESIAC Team. Parker earned an honorable mention distinction.

Brown was chosen as the 2017 Player of the Year.

“It’s very exciting. I got it for basketball too,” Brown said. “My teammates really helped me out throughout the year. If I didn’t have this team around me I definitely wouldn’t be able to put up some of the numbers I do.

“It’s definitely not an individual show. Everyone kind of contributed to it,” he added.

Brown led the team this year in scoring (68 goals), assists (24) and points (92). The ESIAC title in lacrosse was his third for the year. He, along with Cantello and a few others, won championship trophies in soccer and basketball as well.

“I won it for every sport this year to bring in the three-peat, which is always nice,” he said. “I’m only a junior so hopefully I can get three more next year.”

Worcester finished the season with a 13-6 record. Gates presented the Team MVP Award to Bisaha. Petrera received the Coach’s Award. Richins was awarded Most Improved.

Gates also nominated Brown for the “C. Markland Kelly Award, honoring the best high school lacrosse player in Maryland.

Gates said the season had its ups and downs, with some adversity.

“I would like to have a few games back, then we beat Parkside, who we lost to last year,” Gates said. “It was our first good win of the year. Then we beat a scrappy Indian River team.”

But the crowning achievement, he said, was defeating Calverton, 13-11 – the first time in program history.

“To be on the sideline for that is something I’ll never forget,” Gates said. “It’s a great program win.”

“We were shaky at spots, but we had some big wins down the stretch,” Brown said. “I thought we fought hard all season. We came out with definitely a positive attitude. We really came together and finished strong.”

Nine seniors will graduate next week, all of whom contributed to the team’s success.

Many of the underclassmen got playing time this season and a core group will be returning next year, including leading scorers Brown and Cantello.

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