Senior Spencer Towne scored twice during a 4-goal run in the fourth quarter to create separation for the host Olentangy Liberty boys lacrosse team in a 13-10 win over rival Olentangy in a Division I, Region 1 semifinal Tuesday night in Powell.
“(Spencer) had a good game tonight – stepping up in that senior role,” Liberty coach Jason Godwin said. “We were very proud of basically our whole attack unit, (which) was phenomenal. They were put to the challenge earlier in the year and stepped up.”
Towne had four goals and an assist, John Paolo and Alex Theuerkauf each tallied a hat trick and a pair of helpers and Skylar Wahlund had five saves to lead the second-seeded Patriots in the win.
“This game really meant more because it’s live or die,” Towne said. “You keep going or you’re done. We just really wanted revenge from the first game (against Olentangy) from how we played. The seniors have a really high motivation right now.”
Johnny Wiseman’s goal with 4:33 left in the third quarter gave the Patriots the lead for good and Ethan Donelson found Paolo 30 seconds later to push the lead to 9-7.
Josh Petrone came up with the ensuing face-off near the Liberty goal and found Blake Profio to cut the deficit to 9-8 with 3:49 left for Olentangy, which beat Liberty 12-11 May 1.
“(Olentangy) pushes transition and we limited that (tonight),” Godwin said. “That’s what dug us a hole the first time. We gave up a lot of transitions, made some mistakes and had some unlucky bounces. There were a couple of those that dug us a big hole the first time that we didn’t get ourselves into this time.”
The Patriots held the 9-8 lead through the end of the frame.
Wahlund scooped a groundball in front of his own net and found Gabe Meyer to start a breakout. Meyer then found Paolo on the right side, who centered to Towne in front for the goal that started the 4-0 rally that put the game out of reach for the Patriots (14-6).
Kyle Milliron had two goals and an assist and Blake Profio added a pair of goals as third-seeded Olentangy built a 5-3 lead with 10:37 left in the first half.
“What was going well was that we were getting ground balls and we were possessing the ball,” Olentangy coach Dominique Alexander said. “It was good effort by our kids. I think our kids played almost the majority of 48 minutes as hard as they could.”
But, Liberty responded with goals by Donelson and Paolo to tie it up. The teams were knotted in a 6-6 tie at the break.
“(Olentangy is) really good at finishing,” Godwin said. “They score 15 goals per game. They do a great job hitting the crease with their cutters, pushing from X, drawing slides, getting guys sleeping and burying shots. They are a good-shooting (team). There are times that they got guys on them and they’re still hitting shots.”
Milliron and Profio had three goals apiece, Milliron and Khairi Sears had a pair of helpers apiece and Charley Harkin stopped seven shots in goal to lead Olentangy (16-4).
“When you let a team like (Liberty) dominate possession with the guys that can pass and catch on that team – eventually you’re going to wear down,” Alexander said. “And that’s what happened in the fourth quarter. Defensively, they just wore us down.”
Liberty meets top-seeded Dublin Coffman in the regional final Friday at 7 p.m. at Otterbein.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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