Thanks to two lengthy lightning delays during Saturday’s Maryland Independent Lacrosse League final, Calverton had plenty of time to ponder the possible end of its stranglehold on league supremacy.
The Cougars trailed The Heights at the time of both stoppages but came through when it counted for an 11-10 victory to earn their fifth straight MILL title. Junior Connor Quinn scored with 3 minutes 12 seconds remaining to put Calverton ahead for good, and senior Stephen Goff added a team-best five goals, including what turned out to be the game-winner at Georgetown University.
“We wanted it tonight,” Goff said. “We didn’t want it delayed to another day. We wanted to come out here and win.”
Calverton (10-6) trailed by as many as three goals in the opening half but worked its comeback around the two lengthy weather delays despite undisciplined play down the stretch. In a tight game, the Cougars were whistled for nine penalties in the final 17 minutes and allowed three man-up goals.
After senior Victor Harangozo’s man-advantage goal put the Heights (10-9) up 9-8 early in the fourth quarter, Calverton scored the game’s next three goals and was able to hold on.
Senior Justin Knode (two goals) tied it with 5:13 left before Quinn’s go-ahead score off a pass from Goff. The Washington College-bound attackman added his fifth tally on the ensuing possession.
The Heights got within one on senior Patrick Martin’s third goal but couldn’t get either of its two game-tying attempts on goal in the final two minutes.
Seeking its first MILL title since 2004, The Heights didn’t score in the opening quarter but seized control in the second with six goals in an eight-minute span. Junior Danny Sheehan’s falling-down goal gave the Cavaliers a 6-3 lead with 1:30 left in the first half before the teams had to wait out the first lightning delay.
The teams returned to the field long enough for Calverton to pull within 6-5 on quick goals by Knode and Goff before the half.
The Heights was clinging to the one-goal lead with 9:27 left in the third quarter when the game was stopped again for the weather.
Calverton entered the season with lofty expectations. In 2012, the Cougars posted 17 wins, beating teams from several of the area’s top conferences, including eventual Interstate Athletic Conference champion Landon.
But in Coach Bill Ball’s first season, Calverton scuffled out of the gate with six losses in its first seven games against a brutal out of conference slate. The team closed the season with nine straight victories, this one soggier than any of the others.
“We kind of wish we had a few of those [early] games back, but right now, finishing with a championship is ultimately where we wanted to be,” Ball said.