BY GENE NARDI
The Wellington High School boys lacrosse squad hosted Palm Beach Gardens on Thursday, April 11. The Wolverines came from behind to edge the Gators 14-11.
The Wolverines had to dig deep in the fourth quarter to earn the senior night victory.
Wellington’s squad graduates nine seniors this year, and the crew concluded their regular season play with the win to finish with a 10-4 record.
Wellington started out strong, scoring three quick goals. It appeared early on that the Gators were going to have a difficult time containing the Wolverine attack. But Palm Beach Gardens equalized the score at 3-3 at the start of the second quarter, and eventually edged Wellington to close out the first half with a tight 6-5 lead.
Palm Beach Gardens started the second half scoring three unanswered goals, and Wellington struggled defensively. Offensively, the Wolverines peppered the Gators’ goalie throughout the half, but big saves maintained Palm Beach Gardens’ lead.
Some defensive adjustments put the Wolverines back on track, causing several Palm Beach Gardens turnovers. The Wolverines scored three unanswered goals in the third period, chipping away at the Gators’ lead.
With just over eight minutes left, Wellington tied the game 10-10. Defensively, the Wolverines limited the Gators to just one goal in the fourth quarter.
Midway through the final quarter, Wellington recaptured the lead for the first time since their early advantage. The Wolverines piled up six goals in the fourth quarter to take the win 14-11.
“Our senior poles needed to step it up in the second half, and they did. They came out with a new aggression and created a lot of turnovers,” Wellington coach Joe Calby said.
Calby credited the Palm Beach Gardens goalie with making some great saves. “We were able to spread out our attack-men in the fourth and let them do their job, which was to score,” he added.
Top performers for the Wolverines were seniors Tyler Kuhlman with 4 goals and 2 assists, and Thomas Oporto with 3 goals. Patrick Oporto had 4 goals. Allen Moye, Chris Sullivan and David Henry combined for 3 goals, and Jason D’Aoust had 2 assists.
Wellington is the host venue for the district playoffs, which began Tuesday, April 16. Wellington faced Cardinal Newman, but results were not available at press time.
Above: Wellington senior defender Ryan Smolchek maintains possession through a Palm Beach Gardens attack.