Albemarle’s boys lacrosse team hasn’t fixed everything like the rash of turnovers that plagued them earlier this season. But the Patriots took a sudden leap forward Tuesday night with a hard-fought 9-8 victory in overtime over Western Albemarle.
“We certainly hadn’t shown it up until tonight, it has kind of been a long couple of weeks,” Albemarle coach Dave King said. “That certainly wasn’t perfect but if you can have that kind of effort with the youth that played in the game…good things will happen.”
Sophomore Andrew Scanlon came through with an overtime goal for the Patriots, lifting Albemarle past Western Albemarle a little less than three weeks after Albemarle struggled to come up with a win and fell 11-9. Scanlon had at least one believer ahead of his goal, one player who knew he could get it done.
“Right before that last play I said ‘come on Mr. OT’ because he won a game for us last year so we knew our guy to go to and it was him,” said Albemarle senior defender Josh Beidler. “He just got the job done again.”
Beidler spearheaded an drastically improved defensive effort for the Patriots, who held Western’s dynamic offense largely in check while having to overcome a 17-to-3 deficit on the face off. That gave Western a ton of possession and put some serious pressure on the Albemarle defense.
“Communication between us is really important — we all know how to play but sometimes we get a little confused,” Beidler said. “It’s important to have talk (happening) between us.”
Albemarle moved Beidler, one of a handful of seniors celebrating senior night, up to faceoff to try and wear down the Warriors and while it didn’t show statistically, he forced Western to work harder for each of them and for a lot of groundballs.
The Patriots were drastically more efficient offensively too, with Forrest Warner’s hat trick leading the way while Cooper Cramer, Alec Kelly, Ryan Tighe and Connor Warner coming up with a goal each. Scanlon’s second goal was the backbreaker in overtime and while the Patriots still had 16 turnovers and lost the groundball battle 41-34, they still managed to squeak out the critical win.
“Tip of the hat to Albemarle those kids came out and played super hard and we just didn’t have an answer tonight,” said Western coach Alex Whitten. “Our guys played hard but they didn’t execute when we needed to.”
John Carr Haden posted a hat trick for the Warriors while Sam Stalfort and Wilson Kelly each had two goals. Will Stalfort stood tall in the cage with 14 saves for Western, keeping the Warriors alive while the offense sputtered. While Western managed to answer Albemarle goal-for-goal, in the second half they couldn’t string together goals to take the lead and put the pressure on Albemarle.
It was a critical emotional win for the Patriots in part because it was against an archrival and in part because it was senior night. The Patriots’ handful of seniors has been a part of a rebuilding stretch for the Patriots.
“They’re not a lot in numbers and those guys have been in the program for the good times and I think we can get back we just need to keep working,” King said. “This is good for them.”
The Patriots will face Monticello on the road next Tuesday while Western travels to take on Powhatan Friday night.