Ashburn, Va. — After jumping out to a commanding lead, the Stone Bridge High School boys lacrosse team had to put up a defensive stand to hold off a late rally by Freedom High School in a Potomac District quarterfinal on May 13 in Ashburn.
The Bulldogs expanded their 5-1 first-half lead to 7-1 towards the end of the third quarter, before the Eagles went on a 4-1 run to close the third quarter and open the fourth.
Having cut the lead to 8-5, Freedom had some momentum, but Stone Bridge sophomore attack Burke McFarlane put the nail in the coffin when he scored his game-high fourth goal, leading the Bulldogs to a 9-5 win.
“There were a couple times when I wanted to call a timeout,” Stone Bridge head coach Scott Mitchell said. “Short-term, a timeout would help, but long-term, I wanted our guys to feel what it feels like to take a punch in the stomach and stand up and give it right back.”
After Stone Bridge scored two early goals, Freedom got its first real opportunity midway through the first quarter as the Eagles maintained possession for more than five straight minutes, but the Stone Bridge defense proved stout, holding Freedom scoreless through the first twelve minutes.
The Bulldogs scored again early in the second quarter when Stone Bridge senior attack Dominic Cole found McFarlane at the point. McFarlane spun past a defender and found the bottom corner of the Freedom goal.
Two minutes later, McFarlane scooped up an errant pass in the Freedom zone and connected on a one-on-one with the Eagles’ keeper.
McFarlane completed his hat trick with four minutes left in the first half, when Cole again found him open down the middle, and McFarlane again converted.
“Freedom has a phenomenal defense, they’re smart, they’re well-coached,” Mitchell said. “Just to have the confidence to be able to say we got a few goals, helped us keep the energy up.”
Freedom finally got on the board with less than two minutes left in the second quarter when junior midfielder Austin Roberts scored to give the Eagles some momentum heading into the half.
Stone Bridge junior midfielder Bryan Reilly stunted whatever momentum the Eagles brought into the half when he scored less than two minutes in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs continued to add to the lead when Stone Bridge senior attack Nick Mell connected with senior midfielder James Davis streaking down the middle for a goal.
Freedom, however, wouldn’t go quietly as senior attack Devon Loayza scored back-to-back goals to bring the Eagles within striking distance, 7-3.
After the Eagles rattled off another shot on goal, Stone Bridge cleared the ball down field with less than eight seconds to play in the quarter. Mell jumped up, grabbed the ball one handed, and scored with less than two seconds left in the third.
“Even when they score, we have to be able to keep the energy up,” Mitchell said. “Having that big play, and having Nick have that kind of athleticism, was important for us to be able to stifle their momentum.”
Like a thorn in the Bulldogs’ side, Loayza buried another goal about a minute into the fourth quarter as the Eagles cut the deficit to 8-4. A minute later, Freedom cut the lead to just three when senior attack Vasu Mainali scored across his body.
Stone Bridge put the nail in the coffin when senior defender Aaron Scott scooped up a ground ball, went coast-to-coast and found McFarlane for his game-high fourth goal of the night.
With the win, Stone Bridge (4-3, 9-4) advances to a Potomac District semifinal where they get an opportunity to avenge their regular season loss to Briar Woods (7-0, 15-0) in Ashburn on May 15.
“The first time around, I think we focused a little too much on what Briar Woods does,” Mitchell said. “Moving forward, we just have to focus on what Stone Bridge does.”
|Stone Bridge||1Q||9:59||Bryan Reilly|
|Stone Bridge||1Q||8:53||Paul Thoppil|
|Stone Bridge||2Q||8:45||Burke McFarlane|
|Stone Bridge||2Q||6:35||Burke McFarlane|
|Stone Bridge||2Q||4:05||Burke McFarlane|
|Stone Bridge||3Q||10:29||Bryan Reilly|
|Stone Bridge||3Q||3:28||James Davis|
|Stone Bridge||3Q||0:02||Nick Mell|
|Stone Bridge||4Q||2:23||Burke McFarlane|