On April 21, 2015, the Lakers lacrosse team traveled to Annapolis, Maryland to play the St. Mary’s Saints. Boys’ Latin, the favorite, entered the game with an 11-2 record, and a 3-1 record in MIAA play. However, the Saints held an advantage at the faceoff X, where the ball starts after every quarter and goal, with senior Alex Woodall, a Highpoint commit, who won over fifteen faceoffs.
The Saints were first to get on the board two minutes into the first quarter with a transition goal from senior attackman Timmy Hardy, a Villanova commit. Only one minute later, the Lakers responded with a goal from senior midfielder Anthony Wyler.
With Woodall’s overwhelming presence at the faceoff X, the Lakers were forced to play tough defense in order to gain back possessions.
The Saints retaliated with another goal from Bennett Johnson with two minutes left in the first to take the lead once again. After several long possessions from both teams ending in turnovers, the Lakers scored again on a Luke Shilling finish assisted by Patrick Spencer to even it up at three to three. However, once again the Saints retaliated with another goal from Johnson, only to be answered shortly by another Laker goal from none other than Patrick Spencer.
With another Saint Mary’s goal from Nick Boyles with three minutes left in the half, the Lakers, of course responded with a goal of their own from Devin Shewell to put it even at 5-5 at halftime.
For every Saint Mary’s goal, the Lakers quickly responded, going goal-for-goal. St Mary’s, having Woodall at the faceoff X, was scoring off of constant fast breaks from the faceoffs. The possession time for the Saints almost doubled the Lakers time with the ball.
Only six seconds into the second half, the Saints scored off of a fast break from Woodall to put them up 6-5; but, the Lakers once again continued with the goal-for-goal pace on an on-the-run shot from Anthony Wyler.
After Wyler’s goal, the Saints began to pull away with goals from Johnson, Giles, and Mooney, ending the goal-for-goal play that had been present throughout the game. While Woodall would not find his way to the back of the net, all of the Saints’ possessions and goals were accredited to his domination on faceoffs, winning almost every single time.
According to the Boys’ Latin lacrosse twitter, Shewell would have another, only to be responded by two more St. Mary’s goals from Johnson and Boyles. With eight minutes left in the game, Pat Spencer scored again to make it 11-8 Saint Mary’s. As the Lakers tried to become more aggressive, Hardy scored again with five minutes left to make it 12-8, but once again the Lakers responded with a goal immediately to make it 12-9.
After the goal, Coach Shriver called for a stick check on Woodall, for he would inevitably win the face off if given the opportunity. The referees found his stick to be illegal, giving the Saints a three-minute non-releasable penalty, during which Shewell scored again.
According the Boys’ Latin lacrosse twitter, with only 46 seconds left in the game, Woodall checked back into the game only to be found using an illegal stick once again. With the revelation of his second illegal stick, he was ejected from the game; however, the Lakers did not have enough time to finish the comeback, falling to the Saints 12-10.
Without Woodall, the Saints possession time would have been cut in half and more than half of their goals, which were on transitions initiated by Woodall, would not have occurred. If his sticks were found to be illegal in the first quarter, the Lakers would have handed the Saints a loss; however, given that it was not discovered until the final minutes, the damage was already done.
The Lakers held their honor and shook the opposition’s hands at the end of the game despite the blatant lack of integrity and lack of respect for the rules from the Saints.
When asked on his thoughts of the game, Jack Pezzulla spoke for himself, and without saying the rest of team, and said, “I think it was kind of ridiculous how he [Woodall] flat out cheated. Without him, they would have lost, so I think it’s unfair, but the only thing we can do now is move on, accept the circumstances, and prepare for the next game.”