As a senior captain on a six-time defending Maryland 4A/3A West champion boys’ lacrosse team, Wootton’s Danny Weinstein deals with the daily pressure of upholding the program’s high standards. But the midfielder in his first year as face-off specialist felt a different sort of stress Wednesday night when he headed to the face-off X to begin overtime against rival Churchill.
Weinstein shook off the nerves to win the overtime’s opening possession, and fellow senior Chris Cornelius wasted no time taking advantage, ripping in the game-winning shot 16 seconds into the extra period for a 10-9 victory in the Montgomery 4A South clash.
“Whatever you have left in your tank, you’ve got to empty it out right there,” said Weinstein, who also added two goals and an assist. “I did everything I could to win the faceoff and luckily, it turned out to be enough.”
Wootton (7-4, 4-1) had heard all season that Churchill (8-2, 4-1) possessed the talent to end its run of region titles, and the Patriots, who struggled through a stretch of three losses in four games earlier this month, responded with one of their most spirited efforts of the season on their home field.
In the extra period, Weinstein emerged from the face-off scramble with the ground ball and tried to find a cutting teammate near the middle of the field. The pass didn’t connect, but the team’s other two captains were ready to continue the play. Senior Curt Brooks (Georgetown) picked up the loose ball and found Cornelius for his third goal of the game.
Brooks “saw me right away, and I just let it fly,” Cornelius said. “I didn’t really think twice about it.”
Wootton had used a five-goal second quarter to take control, only to go cold offensively and let Churchill climb back to take the lead at 8-7 on sophomore Matt Moshyedi’s goal with 5 minutes 41 seconds left in regulation. Freshman Louis Dubick paced the comeback effort with three of his game-high four goals in the fourth quarter.
The Patriots responded with back-to-back goals, including a go-ahead score by Weinstein, but settled for overtime when Dubick tied it again with 26 seconds left.
With Cornelius’s quick game-winner, the Patriots provided a reminder that they remain a contender for the region’s spot in the 4A/3A state tournament and gained a needed confidence boost heading into the regular season’s final week.
“Everyone’s talking about ‘struggling Wootton,’ ” Weinstein said. “We do have our lows, but we’re a good team and we can compete with anyone in the county in any game, so we expected to win.”