UHS boys’ lax team wins second straight state title

MORGANTOWN  — A trio of Hawks netted three goals to lead University High to the boys’ Division I West Virginia Scholastic Lacrosse Association (WVSLA) championship with a 14-11 win May 19, over George Washington.

It was not an easy win for the Hawks (14-3), as they had to come back from a 10-9 deficit late in the fourth quarter after a one hour and 39-minute lightning delay, at Pony Lewis Field.

The start time of the game also was pushed back 35 minutes due to lightning.

The win secured the second-straight and 13th-overall state championship for UHS. The two most recent titles have come under head coach Brian Houk.

“I feel nothing but pride,” Houk said. “Pride in these seniors. I’m so proud of them. I’ve spent three years of hard work with these guys since they came in as sophomores on varsity. I’d never dream in a million years that we’d win back-to-back championships.”

University started out as the hot team in the first quarter. After going shot-for-shot with the Patriots in the first six minutes, Quinn Napolillo struck first for the Hawks with 5:40 left in the quarter. Antonio Mascaro followed suit 31  seconds later to give UHS a quick 2-0 lead.

With 4:18 left in the first quarter, Jerett Gaeger found Tanner Rice wide open who scored for the Patriots to pick up the momentum, which carried into the second quarter.

John Fenwick would tack on a couple of scores midway through the second quarter within 36 seconds of each other. The second of the two goals came on an intercepted pass from a University defender and the goal empty. Fenwick fired the shot to give GW their first lead of the game.

Gaeger would score a pair of goals starting a little over a minute later to put the Patriots up 5-2. Sam Snider scored for the Hawks with a minute and

36 seconds left to end the half with a 5-3 GW lead.

University outscored George Washington, 20-16, in the first half.

Gaeger would continue his fantastic play early in the second half. After trading goals with Hawk midfielder Mathias Turner, Gaeger extended the Patriot lead to three with a diving goal with 8:13 left in the third quarter.

The Hawks would then claw back into the game. A little over a minute after Gaegar’s diving goal, UHS attackman Brayden Wilson and midfielder Sam Snider would score a pair of goals to cut the GW lead to one, 7-6.

Mascaro would tie up the game with a goal off of a spin move that faked out a Patriot defender with three and a half minutes left in the third quarter. Both teams would trade goals to close out the period.

Snider scored with 10 minutes remaining to give UHS their first lead of the second half, 9-8, but GW responded with a pair of goals as the game went into delay with a 10-9 Patriot lead and 7:54 remaining.

“No one could have predicted that crazy lightning delay, but we were ready for it,” Houk said.

Coming out of the delay, UHS and GW would trade goals in the first two minutes following the delay. Mascaro and Reis Snider would score two goals within 12 seconds of each other with under three minutes to play to give University the lead, 12-11.

Turner would score two more goals with under a minute remaining to seal the win for the Hawks.

Mascaro brought home state MVP honors with three goals off of five shots while adding five ground balls. Turner and Sam Snider also netted three goals for UHS.

Hawks goalie A.J. Adams would have 12 saves in his final game.

Gaeger led the Patriots (10-4) with five goals and two assists.

“I knew we were going to finish this game one way or another,” Houk said. “No one could predict this, but we knew we were going to finish it. We said before the game this would be one to remember.”

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