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Worcester Prep junior Austin Airey is defended by two Cape Henlopen players during last Saturday’s game in Berlin. He had one goal and two assists. Worcester lost 18-8, but the team bounced back with a 12-11 overtime victory on Tuesday over Tower Hill.

Worcester edges out Tower Hill, 12-11, in ‘epic battle;’ Jones scores game-winner

(April 30, 2021) The Worcester Prep boys’ lacrosse team battled with the Tower Hill Hillers on Tuesday at Delaware Turf Sports Complex in Frederica and came out on top, 12-11, in double overtime.

The two teams split the difference in travel time, meeting at the Sports Complex to compete.

The Mallards held a 4-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.

“Tower Hill stormed back in the second, reeling off four unanswered goals to take a lead at 5-4, and a see-saw battle ensued,” Worcester Coach Drew Haugh said.

At halftime, the score was tied 7-7.

“The two teams matched each other goal for goal throughout the third quarter,” Haugh said.

After three quarters, the Prep team led 10-9.

“With under five minutes to play Worcester Prep had a two goal lead, 11-9. Tower Hill shaved that lead in half with less than two minutes to play,” Haugh said. “Then with the clock ticking toward zero, Tower Hill decided they wanted to play a little longer, and sunk the last goal of regulation, sending the game into overtime.”

Neither team was able to put the game away with a goal in the first overtime.

“Both teams had golden opportunities to score in the four-minute frame, but both teams’ defenses and goalies did their jobs and stopped the other team,” Haugh said. “On the hottest game day for both teams this season, and with both teams’ players logging many minutes throughout the day, the team with the most gas in their tank was going to win this one.”

Prep junior Tristan Weinstein secured his second overtime face-off, Haugh said, but Tower Hill got the ball back a short time later, adding “the game started to resemble a good old-fashioned prize fight, with the winner being whoever lands the last punch.”

As Tower Hill attacked the goal, Haugh said defensemen senior captain Connor Carpenter, juniors Brice Richins, a captain, Anders Taylor and Bennett Tinkler, and short-stick defender, freshman Dylan McGovern marked up the opposition and forced a shot that was “gobbled up by [senior goalie, captain] Hunter Gentry, for his 15th save of this epic battle.”

After a loose ball was picked up by the Mallards in their defensive end of the field, transition ensued, Haugh said.

“[Senior] John Arrington aptly finished off a two-on-one, dumping the ball down to the lefty, [sophomore] Griffin Jones, who stuck his third goal of the game, delivering the final blow, causing a sea of red to storm the field in a wild, game-ending celebration,” Haugh said.

When asked what was the difference between a win and a loss, Haugh said it might have been their discussion before overtime.

“Before the overtime, we told them they need to ‘suck it up.’ ‘We realize you guys have been running up and down in the heat with very little substitution. But, look at those guys, they have had the same jersey numbers on the field, just like you guys. So both teams are in the same boat. So no excuses,’” he said. “I think that perhaps by pointing that out to them, that psychologically they may have said to themselves, ‘hey, never thought of it that way,’ and then broke through the mind over matter thing, and had just enough to be able to dig a little more during the second OT and finish the job.”

Jones led Worcester with three goals and three assists. Sophomore Jack Gardner had three goals and two assists. Arrington chipped in with two goals and one assist. Senior captain Graham McColgan contributed two goals and an assist, and junior Austin Airey and senior Brugh Moore each had one.

Gentry stopped 15 shots.

“Graham McColgan, Jack Gardner and Austin Airey, were key contributors to the successful outcome,” Haugh said. “Brugh Moore, along with his goal, picked up a bunch of ground balls because of his exceptional hustle and a motor that never seems to quit, as he was running up and down the turf, all day. The Mallards stayed true to their motto and continued to ‘Surf the Wave.’”

Worcester’s next game is Monday at 4 p.m. against Sussex Academy in Georgetown, Delaware.

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