Calverton attackman Christopher DiPretoro transferred to the Huntingtown private school over the summer with plans of finding high school glory. He knew of the Cougars’ unprecedented streak of Maryland Independent Lacrosse League titles, and wanted to etch his name in the record books after spending two years at Northern.
Friday at Catholic University in Northeast, the junior’s game-wining goal capped a furious rally for an 8-7 win over The Heights and a sixth consecutive MILL title. DiPretoro’s third tally of the night came from 10 yards on an assist from junior Raymond LaPlaca with just over five minutes remaining.
“This was a complete team effort,” DiPretoro said. “They gave me all those opportunities to score and I was able to bury them. We played our hearts out tonight.”
After defeating The Heights 16-7 in the regular season, the Cougars’ defense came out flat. By the end of the opening quarter, they were staring at a 5-0 deficit.
After the first quarter the team huddled and received a very clear message from second-year Coach Bill Ball.
“We just said to settle down,” Ball said. “We were playing too amped up. We were trying to match their intensity and we needed to settle down and play our game.”
High Point commit Charles Taylor led the comeback effort, winning 12 of 17 faceoffs to continuously give the Cougars possession as they chipped away at the deficit.
DiPretoro scored two of the team’s four goals in the second period and trailed by two at the half.
With the team receiving instruction at the half, senior goalie and captain Jake Cornellier quickly broke away to get extra time in the net. Cornellier told his position coach to shoot low as the Cavaliers were scoring most of their goals on shots aimed at his feet.
“That first quarter was a rude awakening. We had to change it up and I needed to step up,” Cornellier said. “That warmup helped because they kept shooting low to me. I saw the ball a lot better and I calmed down. That was the key.”
For The league title was the fifth for Cornellier, who played varsity as an eighth-grader for Calverton (14-5).
“This is awesome, I wanted to keep the streak alive,” Cornellier said. “Before I came here, they won it and I thought about that all week long. I felt a lot of pressure but I just relaxed.”