The second quarter was a push and the third and fourth belonged to Fork Union. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, the first quarter did not and there was just no getting over that hump. Facing Hargrave at home, FUMA put together a great comeback effort, but albeit one that fell just short with the Tigers hanging on for a 12-11 win.
“We just had to get that lead and then battle through,” said Hargrave coach Matthew Brawn. “We figured we’d be getting scored on but that we were strong enough on defense and would be able to plug enough here and there offensively to get the job done and we did.”
The duo of Connor Rogers and Nick Duran proved problematic for FUMA early with Rogers scoring twice and assists on a pair of goals to the latter to pave the way to a 5-1 lead in the first quarter. Hargrave led 3-0 with 8:17 left in the first to put the Blue Devils in a real hole early.
Things settled in the second quarter though. With both teams struggling with turnovers, shots were few and far between. FUMA cut things to 5-2 with 3:49 until the break with Phillip Barrow scoring his second of the day. However, with 29 seconds left in the half, Evan Kimberlain came up with a finish to send the Tigers into the break up 6-2. A goal from Patrick Lord to start the third put the Blue Devils in a real bind down 7-2, but then something clicked.
“It wasn’t an x’s and o’s thing,” said FUMA coach Joe Howard. “We had a few bad turnovers there and everything else was about getting a fire under our butts and taking advantage of that.”
Zach Miller was a menace on faceoffs all day long and when he found Henry Hoskin, the Blue Devils caught a spark. In the next eight minutes, both teams answered goals but John Meheen and David Greenspon were able to cut the deficit to 9-6 heading into the fourth.
Fork Union reeled off three straight goals early in the fourth to makes it 10-9 with 7:57 to play. But in the final four minutes Rogers and Duran each scored to ensure that Hargrave never trailed. Down by two with the clock melting away, FUMA got a goal from Greenspon with 1:25 to play. But the Blue Devils were unable get that equalizer with Hargrave taking possession late, hanging on dearly and killing the final seconds of the game. Making matters more frustrating was a goal from FUMA that officials missed in the third quarter.
“You know human error is a part of the game and so while it’s frustrating it’s still a thing where there were plenty of other plays we could have made to make that goal up,” Howard said. “You can’t blame the refs. This was just the same game as the first time we played them. We gave them an early lead and had turnovers that really cost us.”
Rogers led all scorers with his five goals and four assists. Duran finished with three goals for Hargrave.
For FUMA, Greenspon had a hat trick and an assist. Hosking had two goals and an assist. Meheen finished with two goals. Then there was Miller who was out of this world on faceoffs, taking 22 of the 25 on the day. He also finished with a goal and an assist.
“We didn’t get the best outcome as a team, but everyone left it out there on the field,” Miller said. “The program is growing substantially. We haven’t had a winning record in 20 years but we’re capable of that this year and down the road. The future is good here, I see it.”
Fork Union (6-7) hosts Benedictine on Wednesday and Christchurch on Friday to wrap up its regular season with an opportunity to do something it has not in a long long time — finish above .500.