By Michael Rich
Luke Schmeling found Nick Brandt with 2:05 left to push Olentangy Orange past Delaware Hayes 12-11 in an OHSLA boys lacrosse regional quarterfinal Friday night in Lewis Center.
Brandt’s game-winner came 15 seconds after Remington Curtain finally pulled the Pacers even after spotting Orange (15-3) a 6-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
“We have been in this situation a lot this year where we’ll come out strong and we’ll have lapses,” Brandt said. “I think the difference between last year’s team and this year’s team is when we get down, our coaches don’t get down. That just keeps the team going in games like that.”
Brandt finished with a game-high four goals and Schmeling had three goals to go with his assist on the game-winner.
“(Brandt) is a lax-rat – I mean he loves lacrosse – he’s always talking about it,” Orange coach William Mathes said. “He’s an opportunistic type – he puts himself in position to score goals.”
Cole Livermore scored two of his three goals in the third period to pull the Pacers within one. Orange led 9-7 through three.
The last of Orange goalie Michael Trombetti’s six saves, which came late in the third quarter, gave him 500 for his career.
“He’s the heart of this lacrosse team and he’s been that way for two years – he’s a two-year captain and a three-year starter,” Mathes said. “He makes plays that are just ridiculous for us – he’s like a superhero at times.”
Ethan Miller and Casey Eiland each scored to pull the Pacers within a goal before Curtain tied the score 11-11 with 2:20 left in the fourth. Eiland finished with three goals to lead the Pacers.
Josh Rochon and Brandt scored two goals apiece as the Pioneers raced out to a 6-0 lead with 6:47 left in the half.
“I’ve been preaching all year that I want an angry lacrosse team,” Mathes said. “Our whole goal is to be disruptive and earn respect and (we) were an angry lacrosse team.”
Adam Rieger found Brandt just over four minutes in to open the scoring and Rochon’s goals capped a 4-0 first period for Orange. Rieger and Rochon each finished with two goals and two assists.
“We got a lot of possessions – we possessed it virtually the whole quarter – and when you do that you’re going to score goals and they’re not,” Mathes said.”
Sean Gliebe curled behind the net before finding Eiland with 6:47 left in the half to finally get the Pacers on the board.
The goal sparked a string of four straight and seven of the next nine goals to highlight a Hayes comeback.
Connor Shroyer hit the post for the second time of the half for Hayes (11-4), and Tommy Wegmiller was there to pick it up and put it back with 1:41 left in the half.
Shroyer got his goal 39 seconds later to pull the Pacers within two goals.
Rieger picked up his second assist of the half when he found Schmeling for his second goal of the half to give the Pioneers a 7-4 advantage at the break.
Josh Forrester also scored twice for the Pioneers.
This is the second thriller the two teams have played this season. Orange won an 8-7 triple-overtime meeting March 22 in the season opener for both teams.
“(Hayes is) a gritty team and they’re well-coached,” Mathes said. “The first time we played them, they killed us on groundballs.”
Next up, Orange will play at the winner of today’s St. Ignatius at St. Edward matchup in the regional semifinal Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
“Our team is never going to be satisfied,” Brandt said. “Getting to this point is great, but if we just settle for mediocrity – we’d never (be successful). We just really want to win.”
Liberty 19, Medina 6
Eric NeCamp went nuts, pouring in a game-best six goals — nearly outscoring visiting Medina all by himself — to lead the Patriots to a solid Division I Northwest Region Tournament second-round win Friday in Powell.
NeCamp got plenty of help, too, as Ethan Garland finished with four goals and Griffin Hughes had a hat trick. Johnny Wiseman, Vincent Ramondelli, Andrew Bull, Grant Uehlein, Chase Snyder and Spencer Towne also found the back of the net in the win.
Cameron Finley anchored the defense with six saves in the Liberty goal.
The Patriots will host the winner of today’s game between Olentangy and visiting St. John’s Jesuit in next week’s regional semifinal.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.