Junior Nic Bell does just about everything for the Highland boys' lacrosse team, so it wasn't out of the question that he was called on for faceoff duty Friday afternoon in a semifinal of the Invitational Lacrosse Tournament.
Bell stepped into the role because of an injury earlier in the game to starter Ben Cook, and he won the most important faceoff of the season in securing a 14-12 victory over Virginia Episcopal. The win earned the Hawks (14-4) a spot in the Division II TILT final for the second year in a row; they were scheduled to meet defending champion Covenant yesterday in Charlottesville.
Bell won the faceoff with Highland clinging to a 12-10 lead in the fourth quarter.
"He battled for it and got it," Highland Coach Paul Horgan said. "He was the difference today, no question."
Bell had six goals and three assists, and senior Andrew Raich and junior Harrison Young had three goals apiece. Senior Ryan Walker had two assists.
"Nic's playing with a lot of confidence right now," Horgan said. "He's a great player. . . . This was the best game I've seen him play in a long time."
In the other semifinal, Notre Dame fell to Covenant, 17-4. That set up a rematch of last year's TILT final, which Covenant won in overtime. The Eagles also defeated Highland, 10-5, earlier this season.
Notre Dame ended the season with a 12-6 record. "They have a good, growing program," Horgan said.
Schneider In at Park View
Jeff Schneider was hired last week to be the head boys' basketball coach at Park View, replacing Bruce Henthorn. Schneider was an assistant to Henthorn the past two years as the Patriots posted records of 17-8 this past season and 12-12 in 2002-03.
After 15 years coaching at four high schools, Henthorn left his position to take a break, Park View Athletic Director Les Cummings said.
It will be the first head coaching job for Schneider, an assistant at Stuarts Draft High School from 1996 to 2002. "With every assistant coach, somebody has got to give him a chance at a head job," Cummings said. "Everybody starts somewhere. And having [Schneider] already in the system and already having given us some good years here, we thought we'd give him the chance.
"It's an easy transition, too, because he knows the kids already, from the ninth grade up, and we already know how hard he works."
-- DREW VANESSELSTYN and ANGELA WATTS