With playoffs at stake, Summit lacrosse loses to Battle Mountain, 10-11
May 5, 2017
FRISCO — If ever there was a bubble game this one was it, and Summit came out on the wrong side when it popped.
On a stunning Thursday afternoon, Summit boys lacrosse hosted heated rivals Battle Mountain at home for a game that was too loaded for its own good. Not only was this match the final regular-season game of the spring for both sides, it was also Senior Night for Summit and — get this — the only thing standing between either team and a trip to the 4A post-season. Summit and Battle Mountain entered the afternoon nearly even: the Tigers 7-7 overall for No. 15 in the CHSAA ratings-percentage index (aka the rankings system the state uses to determine playoff seeding), the Huskies 6-8 overall for No. 16 in the RPI rankings.
The stakes were clear: the winning team would most likely make the payoffs by the skin of their teeth, while the losing team would be at the mercy of an algorithm and about a half-dozen other 4A games spread across the state.
The game started hot and heavy as it always does between these two, with Summit striking first in the opening 30 seconds to pull ahead 3-1 early between plenty of penalties and rough, in-your-face play. These teams really don't like each other.
After three or four flat (and unsuccessful) attacking drives, Battle Mountain responded with a 4-0 streak in the final four minutes of the first quarter to go up, 5-3, led by dangerous attackers Jeremy Sforzo and Cal Masler. Sforzo, who's only a junior, ended the day with five points.
The Huskies first-quarter scoring streak put the Tigers on their heels in the second quarter, when they were outscored 2-4, despite spending more time in enemy territory and taking more shots on goal (five to Battle Mountain's four).
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The home crew entered the locker room down, 5-9, but not exactly out. This is a team that's managed to compete with just about anyone on the regular-season schedule, including a shockingly good Vail Mountain School team that's currently No. 3 in the state 4A rankings. The Tigers lost 7-9 to the Gore Rangers on April 27, and that team is way better (on paper at least) than Battle Mountain at 12-1 overall.
Summit immediately took control in the third quarter, with senior Matt Francomano getting the first point barely a minute into the quarter on a streaking breakaway. The way this guy plays ball is like a bat out of hell: all quick and darty and wild, like he's not even sure where his feet are taking him until he gets right in the goalie's face.
And Francomano isn't the only Tigers starter with that kind of wild, unrelenting style. Rex Andrews, Keegan Moore and Braden Cross all scored. Vale Hildebrand was unusually quiet, but then again we knew that would happen because Battle Mountain knows he's a threat. It's good to see this team can split scoring opportunities between three or four guys, not just one or two.
Now if only Summit (and even Battle Mountain) could keep their emotions in check for these rivalry games. After a hot but respectful first half, both sides came into the second half feeling a little tired, a little on edge and a lot p***ed off. Coaches were yelling at players, players were yelling at each other, parents were yelling at everyone, everyone was yelling at the officials and, more than once, players yelled back at coaches. I never played lacrosse growing up, but I'd say lacrosse rivals soccer moms for overblown emotion.
Anyway, Summit started making a slow, slow comeback in the third and fourth quarters, led up top by attackers like Francomano and Moore and in the back by goalie Sawyer March, who rebounded wonderfully from a bad first two, and longstickman Dylan Lane, who spent his fair share of time in the penalty box for cross-checking and hits from behind.
In the final three minutes, Summit was down, 8-11, when sophomore Max Duxtbury and Moore combined for two points in less than two minutes, bringing the score to 10-11 with about 30 seconds remaining. Summit won the faceoff, started moving the ball — and then lost it to Battle Mountain's own incredibly longstickman, Zane Hensel, who streaked up-field and dumped the ball to slippery Sforzo, who held onto it for the one-point win, 10-11.
As of now, Summit and Battle Mountain are both headed to the 4A post-season, with Summit at No. 16 and Battle Mountain at No. 15.
Summit vs. Battle Mountain — May 4
1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q Final
Summit 5 4 1 1 11
BMHS 3 2 2 3 10
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