Boys’ lacrosse falls to Patrick Henry

Boys’ lacrosse falls to Patrick Henry
By Duncan Nixon, correspondent

The Flying Fluco athletic schedule for Friday (March 22) was very full; however, it rained all day Thursday, so most of the activity had to be canceled. An exception was boys’ lacrosse, which was played on the artificial turf field at Phil Browning Stadium. One of the reasons for having an artificial turf field is to minimize cancellations due to bad weather.

The Fluco boys hosted Patrick Henry, a team they had played earlier in the year at the Patriots’ field in Hanover County outside of Richmond. The Flucos lost that contest by eight goals, so Coach Eric Allen was pleased that his squad was much more competitive in this game. In fact, the two teams appeared to be more closely matched than the final score of 2-6 indicated.

Unfortunately for the Flucos, the Patrick Henry squad scored two very quick goals at the outset. The first goal came 17 seconds into the game, as Patrick Henry won the face-off and took the ball straight down the field for an immediate score. Approximately one minute later the Patriots scored again for a 2-0 lead. At that point, it looked like the game might be a one-sided rout. But the Flucos settled down and played tough defense for the rest of the game.

For the next eight or nine minutes it was the Fluco offense that controlled play and several scoring opportunities were just missed. Sterling Ruff on attack was especially effective for the Flucos. In the final minute of the first quarter the teams exchanged goals, with sophomore Sam Shackelford putting the Flucos on the board with a strong shot. The first quarter ended with the Patriots leading 3-1.

In the second quarter, there was only one goal. The Patriots scored on a low shot from in close that Fluco goalie Caleb Stoltz had no chance of stopping. Stoltz was strong all game long and he and the Patrick Henry goalie were both instrumental in keeping the score in this game below the norm for lacrosse.

In the third quarter, both teams moved the ball around the perimeter trying to find openings for good shots. The defense was strong on both sides and scoring opportunities were few and far between. The third quarter ended without a single goal being scored, which is not unheard of in lacrosse, but definitely unusual.

Fluco defenders Ethan Vernatter, Kent Snoddy and Jason Drumheller all strongly supported the good goal tending of Stoltz. The best scoring opportunity for the Flucos in the third quarter came late in the quarter when Fluco attacker Pharaoh Harris was denied from in close on an excellent save.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Patriots started to reassert themselves and they took control of the play for the first half of the quarter. Stoltz made several good saves but the Patriots managed to fire home two hard shots at 9:40 and 5:20 for a commanding 6-1 lead.

With 4:20 remaining Fluco junior midfielder Alex Williams responded with a goal from out front. His first shot was stopped by the Patrick Henry goalie, but Williams scooped up the rebound and fired it home.  That ended the scoring.

After the game, Allen noted that his team is making strides in controlling the ball and moving it around the perimeter seeking scoring opportunities. He emphasizes to his squad that “they can’t score when we have the ball.” The Flucos were successful in this game in that regard, controlling the ball virtually equally with the Patriots.

Allen also reported that the Fluco boys scored their first victory of the year March 19, recording a 12-0 win over Matoaca High School in Chesterfield.

The boys’ lacrosse team was scheduled to play at Fork Union Military Academy March 26. It will then play host to Glen Allen High March 30, and to the Monticello Mustangs April 9.

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