A two-minute penalty halfway through the first quarter hardly seemed the moment for both the Dominion and Woodgrove benches to plot strategy. The Wolverines held a three-goal lead and more than 40 minutes remained — make-or-break moments usually come much later.
Still, within seconds of each other, the teams called a timeout. Coaches barked directions and players huddled. That strategizing proved warranted and the moment decisive: The two-minute non-releasable penalty sparked the Titans, who scored three goals in 120 seconds to tie the game, then added another before quarter’s end to shock the Wolverines, who scored just one more time after the stoppage in a 15-7 Dominion win.
“That penalty, we just got our man-up offense together and put it in the net,” said Jack Flynn, who scored four goals for the Titans. “We’d been having trouble scoring on good defenses, and that was a good defense, so that started a good offensive performance.”
Perhaps Dominion (5-3, 1-0) needed the gut-punch provided by Woodgrove’s four quick first-quarter goals. In their first game in 10 days, coming off two straight losses — one to No. 10 Chantilly, one to Washington state power Bellevue — the Titans sputtered early.
“We got our momentum going during that penalty, got it back,” Dominion Coach Pete Lenotti said. “We hadn’t practiced in a week over spring break, and so we had to get it going.”
Stunned by Dominion’s rapid recovery, Woodgrove (6-1, 0-1) struggled to regain its early rhythm. The Titans defense disrupted the Wolverines’ patient approach, knocking away balls then plucking them off the turf before Woodgrove could recover. Aided by the play of senior goalie Christian Renick in the first half then younger brother John Paul Renick in the second, the Titans charged on a 10-1 run that extended into the fourth quarter. In a half each of play, Christian recorded five saves and John Paul four.
“The two-goalie system really works for us,” John Paul said. “I play solid second half, he’s a great first-half goalie. I think it works out perfectly.”
Coupled with that defensive effort, the Titans’ quick-strike, get-and-go offense doomed any would-be Woodgrove rally. Flynn and fellow senior Andrew Ashley paced the Titans with four goals each, while junior Jake Drake added three. After Flynn hit for the first of the man-up goals, classmate Ben Tarrant added a goal and assist in the next 30 seconds to spark the early comeback.
“Seeing them working so hard early, it was definitely a wake-up call,” said Christian Renick. “We picked up the intensity.”