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Men's Lacrosse hangs on to upset Wakefield

By Evan Moesta, 04/29/16, 8:45PM EDT


Twenty two hours, and nineteen combined goals later, Millbrook Men’s Lacrosse upset rival Wakefield on senior night thanks to a sudden death overtime goal from the only freshman on the field. The Wildcats and Wolverines resumed a lightning delayed game on Friday afternoon, and it took just over thirty eight minutes of continued play for a winner to emerge.

The game was resumed with :44 seconds left in the first quarter, with Millbrook holding a 3-2 lead thanks to goals from Cruz Waerness, Joe Cooper, and Garrett Patnesky. Wakefield started the afternoon with the ball, and Josh Madey greeted the Wolverines with a kick save to end the newly started quarter. Entering the second quarter, the pocket of Wakefield’s Kevin Ritter was deemed illegal. Millbrook went up a man on the play, and they took advantage as Eric Stieber found Cruz Waerness for his second of the game. The Wolverines responded quick after a slash from Waerness, with a goal to cut the lead back to one at 4-3.

Wakefield’s score came just after the flag had been thrown, so they had the one minute man advantage still in effect. Down a man, Millbrook’s defense stepped up, and helped add some insurance. Eric Stieber scooped up a ground ball, and took off down the sideline, once he crossed midfield, he lost track of the ball, but there to scoop things up was Garrett Patnesky who took care of the rest by racing up field and rocketing a shot past Luke Russell to make it 5-3. That goal was Patnesky’s 48th of the year, tying Anthony Florian for the second most scored in a season at Millbrook. Off the draw, Stieber got possession of the ball once more, and he made his way towards the Wakefield goal, there was Alec Lademann who caught a pass and put it home for a 6-3 lead.

Ritter scored for Wakefield to make it 6-4, but the Wolverines cross-checked Lademann in front of the net a minute later for another penalty. Millbrook cashed in twelve seconds into the man-advantage as Patnesky dished out an assist to a wide open Lademann for the score. After two more stops from Madey, and a pair of defensive stands from Tosin Adeoti, and Jordan Gailey, Millbrook was right back on the attack as Waerness found Joe Cooper fifteen yards out for a shot that bounced in just under the crossbar for an 8-4 lead heading into halftime. “Just like Enloe, we fought through a really tough game in the rain yesterday” said Eric Stieber after the game, “we haven’t had this much momentum all season long, and we weren’t going to let it die down overnight, we wanted it there in that second quarter, and it ended up being the difference”.

Despite a four goal lead with twenty four minutes remaining, nothing was going to come easy for the Wildcats who fell 15-7 to Wakefield just three weeks prior. The Wolverines came out of the half hungry, and they dominated the third quarter, outscoring Millbrook 2-0 in the process. After Wakefield managed to cut the game to 8-6, Josh Madey made his eleventh save of the contest. Things got heated from there as Patnesky, and Madey were penalized with a minute left in the third quarter. Coach Kraciuk’s team was all of the sudden down two men, with all of the momentum shifted to the visiting side. To complicate matters even more, junior goalie Tommy Gouveia who had only appeared in seven games this season was called upon to finish the quarter between the pipes. With the new goalie in net, Wakefield fired away twice with 46.3, and 35.6 seconds left in the quarter. Both times, Gouveia was there for the save to fire up the Wildcat sideline.

Millbrook went down two men again 64 seconds into the fourth quarter. Wakefield took advantage by scoring with ten minutes left, and making it an 8-7 game. Right off the draw, Garrett Patnesky scored for the Wildcats, or so people thought. After giving Millbrook a 9-7 lead, officials ruled that the pocket on Patnesky’s stick was too deep, and because of that, he would be penalized, and the goal would not count. Reeves Felton helped Wakefield benefit from that ruling with a shot that skipped past Madey to tie things up at 8-8 with just over five minutes remaining in regulation. 

8-8 was the first time that the game had been tied since the first quarter almost twenty four hours prior. Wakefield was never able to retake their lead from Thursday night as they were caught offsides after Felton’s goal, and Millbrook once more went back on top via the man advantage. The Wildcats had a pair of shots at Wakefield goalie, Luke Russell but they were both stopped. Russell attempted to clear his second save with 4:25 left in regulation, but Garrett Patnesky intercepted it in the midfield, and quickly found Cooper who was all alone in front of the net for the goal to go up 9-8 with 4:19 left. 

“We all work so hard, and our defense is so talented that we can trust them to keep us in games” said Stieber. The Wildcat defense was called on to step up down the stretch as the offense was only able to muster one goal in the final 25 minutes of regulation. After Cooper’s goal to retake the lead, Millbrook was able to hold the Wolverines in check through a pair of penalties but a Zach Pritchard slash in the final minute was just a bit too costly, as Wakefield scored the equalizer with just under a minute to go in the game. “Keep fighting” was the message from Head Coach Adam Kraciuk after the Wolverine goal, and his defense bounced back to deny two more scoring chances to send the game to sudden death overtime.

A three game winning streak, and a potential home playoff game was on the line heading into the team’s second overtime game in seven days. Just like their 11-10 overtime win last Friday vs. Enloe, Drew Lange won the faceoff and got possession for his team. Shain Jefferies got Millbrook’s offense going in the extra frame, and it led to a golden opportunity for Joe Cooper who’s shot was just off the target, and gave possession to Wakefield. The Wolverines weren’t able to get the ball past the midfield as they lost control, and Garrett Patnesky made a diving grab with his new stick to bring in a ground ball, and allow Kraciuk to call timeout. Millbrook had the ball with 3:05 left in overtime, and after another shot on goal, and another ground ball picked up in the midfield by Patnesky, he found freshman Griffin Jefferies all alone in the middle of Wakefield territory for his team-high fourth assist of the game. “Garrett got that ground ball, and we immediately made eye contact. From there he made a perfect pass and I was shocked that I was so open so I just let it fly” said Jefferies, who in only his fifth career varsity game went top shelf for the game winning goal.

A dog pile ensued on top of the freshman, who fell to his back after the game winner. He, and his brother Shain have each scored game winning overtime goals in the last week to help give Millbrook unprecedented momentum heading into the playoffs. “We are all bonding so well right now, and this is so fun to be apart of. We need to keep it going” noted Jefferies after the 10-9 victory. Millbrook closes out the regular season 11-6, with a 6-3 record in the conference. They’ll test their fate next week in the first round of the NCHSAA State Playoffs. Millbrook has never won a playoff game in school history, and with this momentum, anything is possible.