Whitesboro – In a Section III Class B boys lacrosse playoff matchup on Saturday, Whitesboro hung tough, but just ran out of time, and answers in a 13-12 defeat at the hands of Fulton.
The Warriors were a showcase of resilience throughout the early afternoon contest, as a hungry Red Raiders squad sought retribution for an overtime loss on the same field three weeks earlier. The urgency showed from the visiting side, as Fulton manufactured a series of runs to apply continuous pressure to their hosts, leading most of the way by as many as three goals.
Whitesboro was equally tenacious, coming through with runs of their own to tie the game on five different occasions, and hold a brief lead in the third quarter. It all built up to the fourth quarter, where a furious seven minute flurry by the Warriors culminated in Trevor Pletl netting the 12-12 equalizer with 2:27 left on the clock.
Then, in the blink of an eye, euphoria was replaced with panic. Fulton’s Austin Beckwith raced in off the ensuing faceoff, scoring just twelve seconds later to restore a thin Raider lead, and the Raiders held off a final Whitesboro push over the final two minutes to prevail in one goal fashion.
Consistent with the recurring theme of the contest, it was Fulton that jumped out to the early lead, with Jake McDermott scoring on the team’s first shot of the game with 9:03 to go in the opening quarter. The Warriors, working against a tough Fulton defense anchored by Tyler Shaw, issued their first rebuttal just over two minutes later, as Jason Franz beat a defender on a face dodge and bounced a shot past Brandon Batstone.
Fulton needed just thirteen seconds to break the tie on a transition tally by Shaw, and the Raider attack seemed to pick up steam from there, negating a score from Pletl with a pair of tallies from Austin Wilde, and McDermott’s second goal of the contest to assume a 5-2 lead after one quarter.
Seemingly on cue, Whitesboro battled back in the second quarter. The Warriors rode the momentum generated by an early man up opportunity to claw their way back into a tie game, with Jake Hyer playing a key role. The Warrior attackman assisted on a goal by Andrew Yozzo to begin the run at 9:44, then tucked a shot inside the post for an unassisted tally 26 seconds later.
With just a one goal cushion, Fulton threatened to stretch it back to two, but had a pending goal negated due to an attacker in the crease. The Warriors went back to work at the other end, and once again, it was Hyer in on the fun as he set up Ryan Rowlands to even the score at five.
The Red Raiders pushed back to have the last word going into the half. McDermott collected a hat trick goal, and Shaw scored his second of the game, unassisted, to give Fulton a 7-5 lead at the half.
If you blinked early in the third quarter, there’s a chance you may have missed another Whitesboro rally fueled by Hyer. He picked up two more assists as Rowlands, Yozzo, and Gorgas all scored in a span of just 39 seconds to wipe out the halftime deficit and give the Warriors their first lead.
The seesaw tipped once again for Fulton in the moments that followed, with Anthony Rotundo piling up saves for the Warriors amidst a tilted field. Before long, the persistence by the visitors had them right back in front. Shaw nailed down his third and fourth goals of the game, and Beckwith, who assisted on a pair of first quarter goals, broke into the goal column to pull Fulton ahead by a two goal deficit. Both teams scored twice apiece to hold that differential going to the fourth and final quarter.
Again, that differential would be reduced by Whitesboro. On the heels of a Warrior timeout, Rowlands collected a hat trick of his own to cut the lead in half, scoring with 10:03 left assisted by Hyer.
The state of affairs for the Warriors got significantly more difficult from there, due in large part to the play of Batstone. A pair of slashing penalties to Shaw, the first of which came on the goal by Rowlands, swung possession heavily into Whitesboro’s favor. As the Warriors mounted their assault, Batstone made the task at hand into an exercise in frustration, recording timely save, after timely save to maintain Fulton’s grip on a narrow lead until Pletl’s late hat trick goal briefly tied the game.
Hyer led the attack for Whitesboro with a goal and four assists, with Pletl and Rowlands each adding a hat trick. Alex Gorgas collected a goal and an assist while snaring a team-best eight ground balls. Rotundo totaled eight saves for the Warriors, who wrap up their campaign at 10-7, 8-2 in the Tri-Valley League.
Shaw’s big outing paved Fulton’s path to the next round against Jamesville-Dewitt, as the long pole scored five times and added an assist, while adding a physical presence on the defensive end. Batstone finished with fifteen saves for the Raiders(8-9), as they snapped a three game skid with the playoff victory.
Beckwith 2-2-4, GWG
F 5-2-5-1 13
W 2-3-5-2 12