By David Wagner
The Western Albemarle varsity boys lacrosse team, under second year Head Coach Alex Whitten, beat Salem High School 5-3 in their home opener March 20.
In the first half, Western dominated time of possession, shots and virtually every aspect of the game. But after outshooting Salem 26 to 2, the Warriors managed only a 4-1 lead at the half. Salem’s defense was under tremendous pressure the majority of the half and held up rather well.
In the third quarter Salem put together decent offensive possessions and slowed down the Warrior offense. Their defense kept the Western attack in check and the quarter ended scoreless.
The Warriors added a fifth goal when Clark Sipe found the net. Salem scored two goals late in the fourth but never really challenged Western for the win.
Luke Reilly had a hat trick for the Warriors and Holland Corbett had two assists and the other Western goal. Justin Haws had an assist as well, and Sam Wheeler led the way on defense with ground balls and a number of good plays to stifle the Salem attack.
On March 22, the Warriors hosted the Lafayette Lancers, who came all the way from St. Louis, Missouri, to play STAB and WAHS.
Big and athletic, the Lancers jumped on the Warriors early and took a 6-2 lead into the half. Plagued by errant passes and dropped balls, Western turned the ball over often and had difficulty executing on the offense.
The Warriors came out on fire for the second half and scored five straight goals to take a 7-6 lead. Senior Kent Henry won the faceoff and raced straight down the middle to score just nine seconds into the fourth quarter, giving the Warriors an 8-6 lead. The Lancers answered with back-to-back goals, tying the game. With just 27.9 seconds remaining in the contest, sophomore attackman Carter Elliot scored his third goal of the game on an amazing left-handed shot that cleared the goalie’s right shoulder and hit the back of the net. The Lancers’ Justin Perry won the ensuing face off and raced toward the Warrior goal but was forced to the left side by the Western defense. Perry wasn’t able to get a shot off and then turned the ball over to the Warriors on a cross-field pass. It was a huge stand by the defense. Western held on 9-8 for an exciting win.
The Warriors traveled to Lake Braddock in Northern Virginia March 29 and suffered their first loss, 9-8, in another close game. The Warriors will face district foe Fluvanna County High School in Crozet April 11 at 7 p.m.