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Stags Push Their Way Past Ryken
DeMatha Wins 11th League Title in 12 Years

By Dave Yanovitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Maybe all the DeMatha lacrosse players needed was a little on-field tussle.

The sixth-ranked Stags and St. Mary's Ryken were involved in a shoving match midway through the third quarter of last night's Washington Catholic Athletic Conference boys' lacrosse championship at University of Maryland's Ludwig Field. Yellow flags flew, DeMatha's Michael Williams was ejected and the Knights scored on the ensuing man-advantage for a two-goal lead.

But the Stags seemed energized after the near-fisticuffs at midfield and scored six goals over the final quarter and a half in a come-from-behind 9-7 victory that earned them the title for the second straight year. It was the 11th time in 12 seasons DeMatha (15-6) has won the league championship, with Ryken's title in 2007 the only blip in that streak.

Kyle Clise's goal off a pass from Philip Poe with 2 minutes 12 seconds to play broke a 7-7 tie, and junior Patrick Harbeson scored an unassisted goal 35 seconds later to put away the game. Ryken fell to 13-4-1.

"All week long we talked about having composure," DeMatha Coach Scott Morrison said. "At the end of the day, we played 2 1/2 strong quarters and 1 1/2 smart quarters."

Trailing 5-3 after Knights senior Patrick Brennan's extra-man goal, DeMatha started its rally a minute later. Sophomore Ryan Belka scored on a bouncer to make it 5-4, and Harbeson muscled past Ryken midfielder Will Fejes all the way to the cage for the equalizer. Then senior Thomas Chroniger scored from 20 yards for a 6-5 lead. Those three scores took 90 seconds.

"Like my coach says, the game of lacrosse is all about runs," said Ryken senior Matt Marquis, who was a sophomore on the championship team in '07. "Definitely the third quarter set us behind."

Good Counsel Girls Find a Way

When you go six years without losing a conference game, there are bound be some roadblocks that require a team's players to summon the inner strength to regroup, keep the string alive and ultimately secure another championship trophy.

Such was the case in second-ranked Good Counsel's 12-11 double-overtime victory over No. 4 Bishop Ireton in the WCAC girls' lacrosse final. The Falcons had won 57 straight in the conference entering the game but looked lost in the opening 12 minutes. They rebounded by taking a three-goal lead with five minutes left, but then Ireton scored three straight to force overtime.

Kelly Lechner's goal with 20 seconds left in the extra period was the difference. She scored off a nice feed by older sister Shannon after each team had scored once in the first overtime.

"We knew we'd do something together," said Kelly Lechner, a sophomore, who put the ball over the right shoulder of goalie Bridget Corridon. "We work with each other in the back yard, give and go" plays.

Kelly Lechner (four goals) also scored the game-tying goal with one minute left in the first overtime, just 31 seconds after Ireton senior Ashton Hellmuth (five goals) gave the Cardinals (18-3) an 11-10 lead.

Goalie Christina Sheridan, named the game's most valuable player, made 17 saves. Sophomores Caleigh Sindall, Brigid Smith and Caroline Scanlon had two goals apiece for Good Counsel (18-2).

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