With the Henlopen South title and a bid to the DIAA state tournament currently out of their control, the Indian River High School boys’ lacrosse team was keeping their focus on the things that weren’t out of their control last Wednesday, May 10, taking care of business with a 20-2 win over Lake Forest.
Despite the lopsided final, it was actually the Spartans who struck first in that matchup, taking their only lead of the game shortly after the opening whistle.
The Indians wouldn’t trail for long, however, tying things up on the next possession with the first of three goals from senior midfielder Max Stong.
Senior midfielder Andrew White struck next, making it 2-1 with his first goal of what would end up a career-high in points on the night, finishing with three goals and four assists.
Then, after a quick draw from senior midfielder and FOGO specialist Sam Nitz led to a fast break on the next possession, junior attackman Wyatt Kovatch would finish the chance to make it 3-1 on his own first score of the night, eventually adding five more goals and an assist before the game was through.
“It was just quickness, really. I was able to beat my guy off the ball on most of them,” said Nitz of his success at the face-off “X” on May 10. “Being able to control the ball made a big difference today. It just opened so many opportunities. It seemed like as soon as we got the ball it was already in the net.”
Nitz would go on to finish out the game 19 of 24 on face-offs, similar to the numbers that he’s been putting up throughout the spring.
“Sam — he’s been another guy that we’re so lucky to have on this team,” said senior midfielder George Martin. “He was dominant today. He was winning the face-off, creating fast breaks, and then pushing it down to the attack all game.”
After a Lake Forest goal on an extra-man opportunity made the score 5-2 nearing the end of the first quarter, the IR defensive unit of senior Griffin McCormick, sophomores John Martin and Patrick Spencer and senior LSM Joey Ciriello, and 15 saves from senior goalkeeper Hayden McWilliams, would keep Lake off the board for the rest of the game’s three quarters and change.
Senior defenders Jordan Mears and Jarrett Lowrance also saw action in what was one of the unit’s lowest goals-allowed total on the season, second only to their performance against Delmarva Christian High School on April 3, when they gave up just one score all game.
Offensively, the Indians were without junior attackman Cole Josetti for the matchup but saw players including junior attackman Garrett Bomhardt help fill the role in the 20-2 victory.
“Garrett stepped up and came in for us today, and played fantastic. Andrew and Max both did a good job dodging from up top all game. The defense stepped up big for us. We were just feeling good today,” said Martin, who finished with seven goals and three assists in the matchup, to surpass the 300-points (goals and assists combined) mark on his career.
Senior attackman Gianni Gottschalk capped the day with a goal and two assists, with Ciriello and junior midfielder Wilberth Gomez each tallying an assist of their own.
Headed into their final game of the regular season against Delmar on Wednesday, May 18, (after Coastal Point press time), the team wasn’t sure whether the playoff brackets would shake out in their favor and they’d live to fight another day. But what-if scenarios weren’t factoring into their game plan, or the hopes they’ve had for themselves since stepping out onto the field during the pre-season.
“The ball’s not in our court anymore, but we’ve still got to go out there and play Delmar with all that we’ve got,” said Martin. “We’ll see what happens after that. Going into the year winning a playoff game was the goal. I don’t see why that should change now.”
IR game stats:
Goals: G. Martin (7), W. Kovatch (6), M. Stong (3), A. White (3), G.Gottschalk (1)
Assists: A. White (4), G. Martin (3), G. Gottschalk (2), J. Ciriello (1), W.Gomez (1), W. Kovatch (1)
Saves: H. McWilliams (15)