The heart and the intestinal fortitude were there, but the Londonderry High boys’ lacrosse team wound up falling just short of a stellar comeback victory against the Exeter High Blue Hawks in Division I quarterfinal-round tournament action on the seacoast last Saturday afternoon, June 4.
The third-seeded host Blue Hawks busted their way out to a 7-1 lead and grasped a 9-5 advantage at halftime. But coach Sean LeBlanc’s sixth-ranked Lancers showed they had no intentions of going quietly into the off-season, and they battled back intensely before finally falling by a 12-11 tally.
Londonderry pulled to within a tally at 12-11 with a little less than two minutes showing on the game clock, but the locals were unable to knot the score despite serious efforts to do so.
The Lancers rolled into the tournament with an 11-7 overall record and having won six contests in a row, and they got a bye in round one. Exeter headed in at 14-4 with a 5-1 mark in its last six matches and also drew a first-round bye.
The teams had met twice during the 2016 regular season, with Exeter bagging wins of 12-9 and 12-7 in those games.
The seacoast side would manage another dozen goals in the tourney battle but barely win in the end.
The Lancer offense forced Exeter goalie Cam Eddy to make 18 saves to get his side the harrowing victory.
The host Hawks led by a commanding 6-1 score after one period and 7-1 soon thereafter. But Londonderry trimmed its deficit back to four markers at 9-5 by the time the halftime break arrived.
The locals had accelerated their comeback effort in period two when Chad Park, Dave Wiedenfeld, and Peter Navarro scored just 2:12 apart to cut the Exeter lead to 7-4.
The contingents traded goals throughout the rest of the second and third periods, with the host side eventually carrying an 11-7 lead into the final quarter.
Exeter led 12-8 with just 3:28 left in the game, and the Lancers kicked into a higher gear as Max Hastings scored with 3:17 left to play, and Park netted back to back goals a mere nine seconds apart to cut the LHS deficit back to the one slim goal with 1:47 left. But that would be it on the scoring.
Park finished up with four goals and Wiedenfeld contributed three. Goalie Alex Fawcett also made some key stops as his crew worked diligently on its comeback.
The team will lose nearly half the roster to graduation this year.
LHS veteran lax star Dave Wiedenfeld and his teammates had a comeback fall just short in tournament play at Exeter High last week.