BY GENE NARDI
The Wellington High School boys lacrosse team traveled to American Heritage Delray to play the Stallions in the District 22 finals on Thursday, April 9, coming away with a 12-8 victory to claim the Wolverines’ fourth consecutive district title.
“This win is important; we played, in our minds, a tough schedule to be competitors,” WHS coach Joe Calby said. “Winning districts meant a lot to everything we do.”
The Wolverines had to get by Park Vista High School in the first round of the playoffs and handily defeated the Cobras 19-4. The win propelled them into the final match against Heritage. The two had battled earlier in the season, with Wellington losing by one goal, 7-6. Heritage defeated Palm Beach Central High School in its semifinal match.
The Wolverines started on all cylinders and jumped out to a 6-1 lead to close out the first quarter. Patrick Oporto earned a hat trick at the close of the quarter. The Stallions rallied back and grabbed four goals in the second quarter, but Wellington was able to respond offensively, controlling the ball and scoring two more goals to close out the first half 8-5.
The Wolverines racked up two more goals from Logan Rogers and Nestor Abad to start the second half, giving Wellington a comfortable 10-5 lead. Near the end of the third quarter, the Stallions pressured the Wellington defense relentlessly but could not find the back of the net. The Wolverine defense would bend but not break.
Heritage found life in the fourth quarter, driving in three goals, but it was too little, too late. Wellington would respond again with goals of its own from Jeffrey Goldman and Ryan Blum to extend the Wolverine lead to 12-8 and pave the way to the team’s fourth consecutive title.
“We came out to control the first five minutes of the game, get some goals, and try to control the tempo of the game,” Calby said. “We kept changing the tempo on defense, and our three poles played lights-out tonight.”
Eight different players scored for the Wolverines. Oporto tallied four goals and an assist. Rogers scored two goals and had an assist. Abad and Blum each had a goal, as did Jeffrey and Michael Goldman. Tyler Etten and Jacob Sebrell each scored a goal.
Wellington hosts Oxbridge Academy in the first-round championship play-in game on Friday, April 17.
ABOVE: The 2015 District 22 champions, the Wellington Wolverines.