The agony of the irony was a twisted misters' nightmare for the Cape boys' lacrosse team May 7 on the screaming green turf at Legends Stadium. Seldom does a jubilation celebration turn so quickly to abject resignation.
Cape’s Todd Keen scored the go-ahead goal - his fourth of the game - with two minutes and six seconds remaining to give Cape a 9-8 led over Caesar Rodney in a battle for the Henlopen Conference Championship and preferred seeding in the postseason state tournament.
Cape players mobbed Keen behind the Caesar Rodney goal. An official threw a flag for excessive celebration, giving the Riders possession for 60 seconds in a nonreleasable penalty.
‘I’ve never seen that in lacrosse,” said Cape coach Jack Lingo after the game. “That flag instantly changed everything.”
Cape’s brief pressure relief found the team right back in the cooker facing a nonreleasable man down for 60 seconds.
Thomas Ott stripped the ball loose and zipped a line-drive pass up the sideline that was snared one-handed by Austin McCoy, who appeared to have saved Cape’s bacon.
But with possession and a one-goal lead with 1:15 left to play, the Vikings turned the ball over with 33 seconds left to play.
Ten seconds later, the Riders were in the back of the net, tying the game at 9 and sending it into a four-minute sudden death overtime.
The Riders were awarded possession on a “you moved before the whistle“ call on the face-off.
Cape killed off three minutes, finally got the ball, came over midfield and called a time-out.
Midfielder Todd Keen threw a highball bullet inside to Michael Hopkins - two goals on the game - who leaped and caught it then fired on goalie Johnmichael Smith, who stoned Hopkins for his 13th save of the game.
A fast break and right down Broadway flew Nick Gruwell, who took a pass from Austin Hayward - 4 assists and 2 goals on the game - who ripped the shot home for the game-winner and a 10-9 Riders victory.
And then the real excessive celebration began on Cape’s home field and on Senior Night; it easily lasted 15 minutes.
Cape’s offensive coach Mark D'Ambrogi walking off the field and tried to man up and answer questions about Cape’s leading scorers Luke Benson and Blake Mann not scoring a single goal between them but watching the Riders' celebration on the Cape field, said, ”I’m sorry; I have to keep moving - I just can’t watch that.”
Cape outshot the Riders 32-19, but Smith’s 13 saves gave the Riders a chance to win it.
The Vikings' goals were scored by Todd Keen 4, Michael Hopkins 2. Matt Kane, Kyle Orton and Justin Lopez each scored a goal.
Riders goals were scored by Eric Schaeffer 3, David Schmidt 2, Austin Hayward 2 (4 assists), Nicolas Gruwell and Sean Macleish.
Cape drops to 10-4 with the loss and closes out the regular season at Tower Hill Friday, May 10; game time is 7 p.m.
The Riders, 12-2, have a game remaining at Delmar.