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Mallards go toe-to-toe with Dragons, but come up short

(April 18, 2014) Despite his team falling to the Middleburg Academy Dragons of Virginia, 14-9, last Friday in Berlin, Worcester Prep boys’ lacrosse Coach Kevin Gates had only positive comments about the experience.

“Yes, it was a tough loss, as any loss is tough, but as losses go, I came away from that game pretty pumped up about the rest of our season,” Gates said. “I think the kids feel the same way. We played a very good, veteran team toe-to-toe and we went punch-for-punch with them. We didn’t lose, we just ran out of time. If we play like that for the rest of the season, I like our chances.”

Senior Thomas Buas put Worcester on the board two and a half minutes into the game. Middleburg answered two minutes later.

Sophomore captain Wyatt Richins gave the Mallards the go-ahead goal with 4:21 remaining in the first quarter. The Dragons tied it up before the end of the quarter.

Junior Sam Deeley scored 23 seconds into the second quarter. The visiting Middleburg squad struck twice to pull ahead 4-3.

Senior captain Luke Payne netted two shots, the second with 1:01 left in the quarter, to put the Mallards back on top. Sophomore Ross Dickerson won the ensuing face-off and scored with 54.5 seconds on the clock. The Mallards led 6-4 at the break.

During the halftime talk with their players, Gates said the coaching staff “‘told them to keep their foot on the gas.’ We played a great first half and we just wanted to keep it going.”

The Dragons gained some momentum when the Mallards received a two-minute non-releasable penalty in the third quarter, Gates said.

Middleburg outscored the Prep team 4-2 in the third to tie the game, 8-8.

The Dragons added six goals in the fourth quarter and held the Mallards to one.

“They were a good team who just started playing better then we did,” Gates said.

Deeley led Worcester with two goals and two assists. Richins and Payne logged two goals and one assist apiece. Buas had two goals and Dickerson netted one. Dickerson won 10 of 20 face-offs.

Senior goalie Isaiah Nsah came up with some big saves. He stopped 25 Middleburg shots.

“He kept us in the game. He and Ross played lights out,” Gates said.

The Mallards we originally scheduled to play the St. Maria Goretti Gaels on Tuesday, but because of rain in the forecast, the game was moved to Monday.

The teams battled on the Mallards’ field in Berlin and it was the Prep squad who prevailed, winning 11-10 in overtime.

“It wasn’t our best game, but we dug deep and persevered,” Gates said. “This one would have hurt if it didn’t go our way.”

Gates said the Mallards got off to a slow start and were not playing well as they fell behind, 2-0.

Richins cut the lead to one, but the Gaels soon responded to go up 3-1. Goals by Payne, senior captain Jack Marshall and sophomore Staton Whaley gave Worcester a 4-3 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

“We started to play better, but we let them hang around,” Gates said.

Payne boosted the Mallards’ lead to 5-3 in the second quarter. St. Maria Goretti cut the advantage to one, but Deeley answered, providing the Prep team with a two-goal cushion.

The Gaels netted two shots before halftime to even the score 6-6 at the break.

Payne tallied the only goal of the third quarter.

Deeley boosted the Mallards’ advantage to two, but St. Maria Goretti responded with two of its own.

Richins put Worcester ahead by one, but it didn’t last as the Gaels made it 9-9.

Richins tallied a goal and just as it looked like it would be enough to win, the visitors scored with 1:44 left in the game to force overtime.

Richins notched the game-winner in the extra period. He finished the game with four goals and four assists.

“That’s a pretty good day,” Gates said. “He kept trying to get everyone going. He’s like a coach on the field.”

Payne chipped in with three goals, Whaley had one goal and two assists and Deeley contributed two goals. Marshall logged one goal and one assist.

Dickerson won 15 of 20 face-offs. He also scooped up 10 ground balls.

Nsah recorded 13 saves.

The Calverton Cougars are scheduled to come to Berlin Saturday for a 1 p.m. game against Worcester.

Worcester Prep junior Sam Deeley controls the ball during last Friday’s game against Middleburg in Berlin. Deeley had two goals and two assists in Worcester’s 14-9 loss.

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