St. Anne’s-Belfield boys lacrosse’s regular season reads, in large part, like a litany of heartbreak.
The Saints endured close loss after close loss this year, a brutal series of defeats at the hands of most of the squads seeded above the No. 6 Saints in the VISAA Division I tournament.
No. 2 St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes? 13-10. No. 1 St. Christopher’s? 11-10. No.5 Norfolk Academy? 15-14. And their Tuesday quarterfinal opponent, No. 3 Episcopal? 13-11.
But with a late surge, grabbing their first lead with a little over a minute to play, STAB avenged that early April loss to Episcopal as well as last year’s state quarterfinal loss to the Maroon with a 14-12 road victory in the state quarterfinals. With the win, the Saints punched their ticket to the state final four after a one-year absence.
“I had a feeling it could pay dividends for us to come tournament time,” said STAB coach Bo Perriello. “It was great to see our seniors stay focused and poised and expect to make plays right to the very end and incredible to get a win like this after such a tough regular season.”
Connor Shellenberger, Trent Moran and Emmett Barger each notched four goals for the Saints, with Shellenberger also dishing out a pair of assists while Moran had one assist. Moran also stepped in on the face-off and won the final three battles at the X, refusing to allow his high school career to end Tuesday with a valiant effort.
“Trent really stepped up in all facets of the game tonight,” Perriello said. “In the second half he rarely came off the field, playing defense, playing offense and taking face-offs. The last three face-offs were absolutely crucial for us tonight.”
STAB also got a goal from Vito Perriello and an assist from Pierre Reeves. In the cage, Noah Kurtz had some big saves down the stretch, backing up a defense that recovered from surrendering nine first half goals to hold the Maroon scoreless in the third and keep them in check in the final frame.
STAB will square off with St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes in the state final four Friday at 6 p.m. at Randolph Macon College.