Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Trinity’s Quest to Repeat as Mid-Penn Lacrosse Champs Washed Away by Avenging State College Team

A rain-soaked Landis Field in Harrisburg set the ideal backdrop for the Mid-Penn boys’ lacrosse championships on May 14. Under the dramatic wash of heavy rains and rolling fog, the defending champs from Trinity (entering at 18-0) battled it out against a State College team seeking to avenge their only loss on the season, which came at the hands of the Shamrocks, 16-10, in April.

The latest grudge match between the two powerhouses ushered forth a different victor though, as the Little Lions stayed in step with the ’Rocks, adjusting to play zone, and dashing Trinity’s hopes of repeating as conference champions with a 9-8 win.

The first half saw a low-scoring contest highlighted by a handful of nearly-defiant saves by ’Rocks’ goalie Bodey Teter to keep State College from running away with an early lead. Trinity’s offensive stars Peter Gaudion and Nico Chirieleison found the back of the net before both teams headed to the locker rooms tied at 2 at the half.

The rains broke loose in the second half, so did the offense. State College took their first lead of the game 30 seconds into the third quarter, setting off a series of goals on both sides of the field. Two goals by Chirieleison and one apiece from Gaudion and fellow attacker Peyton Cerelius led the offensive charge for the ’Rocks, taking them to a 6-4 lead late in the third quarter.

But the Little Lions answered with a big roar, scoring five unanswered goals off defensive miscues to secure a 9-6 lead less than four minutes into the final quarter. After a timeout, Trinity surged with a goal from midfielder Mason Boyer, followed by another tally by Gaudion just seconds later to draw within a goal of State College.

Excitement swelled again as Trinity forced a State College turnover and mounted an offensive attack with 30 seconds remaining in the game. But successive last-second shots by Chirieleison and Gaudion were thwarted, and the ’Rocks took their first loss of the season.

“State College decided to play zone against us, and we didn’t really think that would happen, and didn’t react to it. I think we played better in the first half; it just didn’t continue that way in the second,” Trinity’s head coach Jerry Stanford said after the game.

“We hadn’t had the taste of a loss this year, but now we do. Maybe it will be a little bit easier for us to think how perfect we have to play the next game. Yes, it leaves a bad taste, but we can only learn from it and move forward,” he said.

Trinity enters the District 3 2A tournament as the number-one seed, and will play their first game May 21.

(Photos by Tim Card, freelance photographer for The Witness.)

By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness

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