Team Ohio wins fifth high school Lacrosse Shootout title in six years
“We got a pretty good speech,” said tournament all-star midfielder Nick Williams. “He kept telling us about our team. How we need to play to win.”
Williams must have been listening. Moments after the second half started, the Columbus, Ohio, native gave his team a 5-4 lead with a rocket from 15-feet out that found the low window. Team Ohio would never trail again, winning for the sixth time in seven years, this time by a score of 11-7.
“Yesterday, we were down 6-2 at halftime against New England,” Gallagher said. “We came back to win. That, by far, was the biggest game for us this year.”
Ohio’s third-period lead, however, looked as erasable as New England’s after a strange series of plays occurred three minutes into the period. After simultaneous fouls were called on both teams, the coaches, benches and fans argued on their feet about who should get possession. The argument resulted in two more penalties against the Buckeye state, including one against Gallagher.
With a two-man advantage, Colorado saw its opportunity. Williams, however, made sure it simmered and cooled. He stole an errant pass on a Colorado transition and went the distance of the field – finishing off the strangeness with a flick of his wrist – and added another goal to the Ohio lead.
“I got some stupid penalties and the kids stepped up,” Gallagher said. “That play was the difference in the game. Colorado has a great squad, and we were fortunate to come out ahead.”
Colorado, meanwhile, suffered through 13 team penalties and a scoreless third period. Consisting mostly of Front Range-based high school all-state or all-conference players, the home state did manage two goals in the closing minutes of the game to narrow the final margin.
“We were pretty athletic, but they were more athletic,” said Colorado coach Bryan Perry, who also coaches at Arapahoe High School. “We got some bad breaks and didn’t react well.”
Colorado, 10-3 victors over Utah Monday, snagged the first-period lead after midfielder Jarred Law scored just before the whistle. Law had four goals on Monday and added another assist on Tuesday.
But the day belonged to Ohio.
Using a hat trick from Williams and attacker Adam Miller and a number of clutch saves from goalie Courter Shimeall, Ohio avenged last year’s semifinal loss with another championship. After the game, Gallagher was soaked by his team, while Colorado, runners-up for the second time in three years, pondered what it will take to finally win.
“It’s tough to get these players together,” Perry said. “This is the summer after their senior year. They’ve got other plans, other obligations. We don’t get much practice in before the games.”
Ohio’s Alan Rill added two goals and Sean Chamberlin added a goal and an assist. For Colorado, tournament all-star Ryan Zordini scored a goal and two assists.
The Vail Lacrosse Shootout resumes Thursday with the Elite Men and Elite Women tournaments. Check out http://www.vaillaxshootout.com for more information.