(May 21, 2021) The Stephen Decatur boys’ lacrosse team edged out the James M. Bennett Clippers, 11-10, in overtime on Monday in Salisbury.
“It’s the first time any of the players or coaches have beaten them on that field. It’s the first time since I’ve been coaching (three years) and it goes back a few years before that,” said Decatur Coach “Hoffy” Hoffman.
The team had prepared for the game, but the Seahawks came out flat, Hoffman said.
“We had a game plan, but we were not executing what we prepared for,” he said.
Bennett led 5-3 at the end of the first quarter and 7-4 at halftime.
The boys needed to refocus, Hoffman said, so during the halftime break the coaching staff split up the offense and defense and talked to both about what they wanted to accomplish.
“It started getting better in the third. It was back and forth in the third,” Hoffman said.
At the end of the third, Bennett held a 9-6 advantage.
Up by three goals and leading the entire game, the Clippers were confident with one quarter left.
“They think they were putting the last nail in the coffin, but we told them it’s time to rip out of the coffin and go after it,” Hoffman said. “We came out and we grinded [and] something clicked.”
Trailing by four with about five minutes left, Decatur scored four unanswered goals to tie it 10-10.
“Down four, they showed a lot of heart. To overcome a four-goal deficit with five minutes left is not easy to do,” Hoffman said. “We changed some things up during that run – some new plays we worked in. It was great. The best part was that they executed correctly. Now we just need to do that earlier in the game.”
Hoffman said the Seahawks had momentum going into the overtime period.
“We told them we didn’t get back into this game to go home with a loss,” he said.
After junior Joe Buxbaum brought the ball up to the midfield, Hoffman called a timeout to set up a play.
The Bennett goalie saves a shot, but the ball bounced out and Decatur regained possession. Senior Tiernan Weinstein passed to junior captain Luke Bahlman in the crease and he scored to give Decatur the victory with about two minutes left in overtime.
“They went crazy,” Hoffman said of the players after the game.
“They had heart. They never gave up. Their tenacity was awesome,” Hoffman said. “It showed we can be down, but we’re not out. We can be in any game we want to be in. We need to execute the Xs and Os and the plans we set for each game.”
Weinstein led Decatur with three goals and two assists. Bahlman had three goals and sophomore Gabe Geiser contributed two.
Junior Lance Adams and senior captain Aidan Morrison tallied one goal and one assist each. Senior Koby Higgins scored one goal.
Junior Collin Fohner made 18 saves in goal for Decatur.
Hoffman also praised his coaching staff for the team’s success – Decatur alumni Corey Gwin and Brooks Gilbert, and new addition Jordan Kopf.
“The coaching staff we have is amazing. It’s one of the best I’ve ever had,” he said. “We all stick together, and we all have the same vision. We’re all on the same page, which is nice.”
Decatur is looking for redemption when they battle the Parkside Rams today, Friday, at 3:30 p.m in Berlin. The two teams met in the season opener on May 10, where Parkside won, 16-7.
“It was our first game and it was absolutely a wake-up call. I think we can beat them,” Hoffman said. “We’ve just got to get the players to understand what they need to do.”