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STAB Rises Up
STAB rises up
In the scorebook St. Anne’s-Belfield’s Branford Rogers only had four groundballs. But it felt a lot more like 10 or 15 as the Saints’ Rutgers-bound senior defender helped lock up Woodberry’s offense. The Saints’ aggressive style created turnover after turnover as STAB picked up an 11-6 victory and, possibly, a new No. 1-ranking in the VISAA boys lacrosse poll heading into the final week of the regular season.
With Rogers up top to try and slow Woodberry’s Carlson Milikin, longstick defenders Shane Palmateer, Will Eppard, Lloyd Smith and Rob Schotta came together to force Woodberry into a series of critical mistakes.
“This was a huge, huge game for us,” Palmateer said. “(The end of this season) could be a picture perfect ending for us seniors and it’s exactly what we’re shooting for.”
With top-ranked St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes falling to Potomac earlier in the week and Episcopal in the IAC quarterfinals Saturday, No. 2 STAB could move up to the top spot in the VISAA poll.
The defense’s effort was more than enough with the Saints’ offense finding a groove and maintaining possession as Miles Davis and Ian Robertson took turns powering the offense. Robertson ignited the Saints with three straight first half goals while Davis took over after the break with four critical goals, including two in the opening minutes of the second half that pushed STAB’s lead to 8-3.
“We’ve been stressing the third quarter to pick it up and we came together as a team and decided to finish this game,” Davis said. “I just got lucky with good ball movement.”
Davis might have been the least surprised by the defense’s incredible play in the key Prep League battle.
“We see it every day in practice when they take the ball away from us,” Davis said. “It’s just a great group of guys and they play as a team — I just love playing with them.”
Woodberry put together short stretches of solid play, including a two-goal spurt after Davis’ back-to-back. That stretch closed the gap to just three goals, with Doug Randolph and David Little scoring. The backbreaker seemed to come with 6:56 to play when Calvin Satterfield ripped one in for the Saints after a nearly four minute offensive possession where Woodberry turned away shot after shot by STAB.
“This team flirts with greatness,” said Woodberry coach Brian Hemming. “When we’re on and we’re firing on all cylinders mentally we’re good and I think a lot of people in the state recognize that. I think the guys on the field have got to understand it and play like it.”
Dylan Park had a rock solid all around game for the Saints with two goals, two assists and five ground balls. Palmateer, Charles Sipe and Brent Evans had three ground balls each on the night.
Ben Pugh had 10 saves for the Tigers in the cage, with STAB unleashing a barrage of 37 shots on the night.
Woodberry will try and bounce back with a game against Benedictine and a crucial clash against St. Christopher’s Friday in Richmond. STAB still has Collegiate at home on the schedule before the state playoffs begin the next week.