It was almost as if there were two separate games, but when you paired the two together, the outcome was a nailbiter. Hopes were slim for Blue Ridge lacrosse in the middle of the third quarter as they trailed by six goals. But thanks to a 9-2 run from there, the Barons were able to dig out of a substantial hole and walk away with a 12-11 come-from-behind early season thriller against Covenant.
“In the past we’ve had trouble being resilient when we’ve been down by that much,” said Blue Ridge coach John Hetzel. “They showed they had a lot of fortitude today. I was impressed.”
The Eagles enjoyed a strong first half with Luke Sorensen and Okleigh Archer each gettin hat tricks spread across the first two quarter. That along with a goal from Craig Van Dyke allowed Covenant to take a 7-3 at the break. And after Sorensen got his fourth goal early in the third and Seth Nichols followed up with another strike just two minutes later, things looked like a wash with the Eagles up 9-3.
“It’s tough, it was really a game of runs that you just hate to be on the losing end of,” said Covenant coach Clay Tharrington. “It’s back to the drawing board though, we saw some things that we like and some things we didn’t. It’s a learning opportunity, we’re young and it’s still March.”
With the game at 9-4 heading into the fourth, the Barons caught fire over the last 12 minutes. Goals from Harry Wang and Shane Ford to start the first two minutes of the final frame brought the Blue Ridge sideline to life. Then Ty Ewen simply took over.
“Our bench was a big part of it,” Ewen said. “They kept us up all game. If wasn’t for us getting all hyped up in that last quarter, it would have been a completely different game. But that was the most heart I’ve seen in the fourth quarter (from this team).”
The junior poured in four of his team’s next five goals over a six minute stretch, including a spin-o-rama move off-balance on a breakaway with 3:11 to tie things up at 11-11, and of course, the game winning goal which he put in just 81 second later.
“Once we settled down and possesed on offense a bit more we were able to get the job done,” Hetzel said. “I think Covenant might have gotten a bit tired because they threw the ball away a few times down the stretch and that really gave us a lot of energy. We got some free possessions and took care of them.”
With 1:50 to play, the Barons went to work on the clock. Covenant got a possession with just a few seconds to play but was unable to get the equalizer with clock sounding to send things into overtime.
For the Eagles, Sorensen led the way with five goals and two assists and five ground balls. Archer had three goals and two assists. Nichols and Van Dyke each finished with a goal and an assist. Noah Kurtz had 10 saves.
Ewen’s five goals and an assist led the Barons. Ford chipped in four goals and two assists. Rhys Rodriguez had three goals. Connor Modd made 10 saves in net.
Covenant will look to bounce back with Christchurch next while Blue Ridge faces off with Woodberry Forest.