MORGANTOWN — Robby Kurth’s defensive position couldn’t have been better, something George Washington attacker Jerett Gaeger admitted later.
“He’s a really good defender,” Gaeger said May 18, after the Patriots knocked off Morgantown High, 13-9, in the semifinals of the West Virginia Scholastic Lacrosse Association tournament, at Pony Lewis Field. “It’s kind of like playing in the post in basketball. The guy is pushing you in the back and you just have to feel for which way to spin. That was really all I could do there.”
Gaeger spun to his right and somehow launched a shot past the Mohigans defender and into the goal from 12 yards out on the left side that gave the Patriots a 12-8 lead and killed any momentum MHS had built while scoring two-straight goals after falling behind, 11-6.
“It was important to answer there,” Gaeger said. “If they were taking the momentum, I wanted to end it.”
He did just that. The junior scored six goals and added an assist in leading George Washington to today’s state championship game, against University High.
The title game is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 19, at Pony Lewis Field.
Gaeger “is really good and he showed why today,” MHS head coach Jeremy Bennett said. “He’s got as many assists on the season as he does goals, so that’s what makes him so tough to defend.
“There were times today we were in the right spot, but he made a play. Sometimes it’s what the other guy does.”
It is a championship game that will likely have some offensive fireworks, as Gaeger and teammate John Fenwick — he added three goals, including a no-look over-the-shoulder shot in traffic against the Mohigans — against a high-scoring UHS team that is well-balanced.
“At the beginning of the season, we put on our board back home that winning a state title was our biggest goal,” Gaeger said. “We knew University would be there. They are a great playoff team with a lot of depth.”
There might be some on-the-field fireworks, too.
“We were supposed to play them in the preseason,” Gaeger said. “Things got a little chippy and the game had to end early, but they are a great team that’s had a lot of success in the playoffs. We’re going to have to play one of our best games as a team.”
For Gaeger, it may be another opportunity to put on an offensive showcase, something the Baltimore native has worked for since birth, he said.
“I was born with a [lacrosse] stick in my hand,” Gaeger said. “My dad played lacrosse in college. My brother plays. We grew up learning about the game. It’s these moments that you think about all the time.”
MHS led, 1-0, early when Cody Calvert took advantage of a misplay by the Patriots goaltender and scored into an empty net.
It took Gaeger all of 27 seconds to tie the game.
He had four goals in the first half and the Patriots led, 8-4, at the break.
“My take from the game is that my guys couldn’t have played harder and gave great effort,” Bennett said. “We were maybe a pass away sometimes or we had a small lack of execution. Coming in, we knew they were going to get their goals, but we were just one play away from getting a few more of our own.”
Nate Goldcamp led MHS with four goals and Calvert added three.