BY GENE NARDI
The Wellington High School boys lacrosse team hosted Palm Beach Central High School on Friday, March 6 in the eighth annual Outback Rivals Cup, and the Wolverines came from behind to win their first cup victory 9-8 against the Broncos.
Wellington coach Joe Calby started the tradition between the two schools, and the Broncos had won it every year since its inception, until last Friday night.
“We’ve had a lot of energy the last three days, a lot of focus coming into this game,” Calby said.
The 3-foot trophy has remained at Palm Beach Central for eight years, but this year moves to Wellington.
Palm Beach Central got on the board first, reeling off a three-goal run to take a 3-0 lead going into the second period. Matt Liermann and Austin Cavallo combined for the scores. Wellington finally put a goal on the board to close the gap when Felipe Caro took a pass from Logan Rogers and found the back of the net.
The Broncos battled right back, pressing the Wellington defense, and Cavallo scored his second goal of the game to give his team a 4-1 advantage closing out the first half.
Within two minutes into the second half, Tyler Etten and Patrick Oporto each scored to bring the Wolverines within one goal at 4-3. Wellington’s offense kept the Bronco defense busy, pressuring the goal. Big saves by Bronco goalie Tyler Rosenbaum held off the assault, until Nester Abad launched a shot from about 15 yards for the equalizer to tie the game at 4-4.
Cavallo struck for the Broncos on the team’s first shot in the third period to regain the lead 5-4. Seconds into the fourth period, both teams traded blows, scoring, keeping the game close.
Wellington grabbed its first lead of the game with Oporto and Ryan Blum combining for two goals to give the Wolverines a 7-6 lead. The Broncos tied the game again, as both teams battled in a physical match. Three more goals would be scored in the last two minutes of the game.
Wellington held on 9-7, but the Broncos rallied when Tyler Thomasson closed the gap to bring his team back within one. However, they could not find the equalizing goal. Wellington maintained possession for the remaining seconds to take a 9-8 win and the Outback Rivals Cup.
“We have a habit of starting late, but we kept grinding, and kept doing our thing,” Calby said.
Five different players scored for the Wolverines, and Oporto and Blum both had hat tricks with three goals each. Cavallo also had a hat trick for the Broncos. Hagerty and Liermann each scored two goals.
ABOVE: The Wellington High School lacrosse team celebrates its first win of the Outback Rivals Cup.