Boys lacrosse battles Lakewood, loses winning streak

Westview: 11,  Lakewood: 16

With 12 minutes left in the game, Lakewood High School led Westview, 11-10,  on March 26. Both Lakewood and Westview were undefeated when they entered the game. In those final minutes, however, the Tigers took control, scoring five unanswered goals en route to a 16-11 victory.

“Their offensive players were very precise and confident with their play,” co-captain and defender Zac Zirpolo (12) said. “They knew how to work their offense and defense, [so] we had a tough time stopping them.”

The Wolverines ended the first quarter with a lead, 4-3. In faceoffs, midfielder Nathan Wagner (12) gave Westview an advantage by continually claiming the ball. However, the score remained close. The first half of the game ended with a tie at 8. As the third quarter ended, the Tigers only had a one point lead, 11-10.

Early in the fourth quarter, co-captain and attacker TJ Summers (12) obtained the ball and passed it to midfielder Leo Pimentel (11). Pimentel sprinted towards the goal, spun around the Tigers’ defenders, and chucked the ball directly in front of the goal. But, the ball bounced off the goalpost and the Tigers and Wolverines fought for it. A commotion ensued in the middle of the field, and a Tiger’s player emerged with the ball. He ran out with two Wolverines behind him, dodged Westview’s defenders and cut across the field, parallel to the goal. The Tiger shot the ball, which grazed the goalie’s shoulder on its way into the net for a two-goal lead.

At that point,  turnovers began to plague the Wolverines.

Westview frequently lost the ball as the game progressed, allowing the Tigers to score more goals. With  4:16 remaining, Lakewood built a seemingly insurmountable lead of 15-11.

“As they put in more goals, frustration set in and our emotions took over a little bit [for the offense],” Summers said.

The game had taken a toll on the players, not only mentally but also physically.

“Me and the rest of the defense were extremely tired and let the game slip away,” Zirpolo said.

The game ended with Lakewood’s victory, 16-11. While they cheered and hollered in delight, the Wolverines slowly walked to their side of the field

Although their winning streak of eight games ended, the experience of losing a game gave them more insight on the team’s persistence when faced with a losing battle.

“The biggest takeaway is that when a game is very close, turnovers on offense are a nail in the coffin,” Summers said. “I also learned about the grit of our team and I was pleased with that.”

Following the game, the players were quiet, still in disbelief at how quickly the game had turned. But co-captain Summers refused to allow this game to cause a damper. He decided to use the game’s outcome as a step forward.

“I told the guys after the game that, ‘If you don’t hate losing more than you love winning, then you are not a competitor and you should probably not be out here’ and I think it really stuck on them,” Summers said.

Summers’ statement resonated with the team and ignited their drive to improve.

“This makes me want to push myself the hardest I can, not only for me, but also for my team,” Pimentel said.