The middle school lacrosse game featuring Sussex Academy at Beacon May 6 was a saltwater showcase between two good teams that had never met on the pitch in the sport of lacrosse.
Beacon is 14-1-1 over the last two seasons, while the Seahawks are now 7-1-1 after a 8-8 tie at Mariner and an 8-5 loss to Beacon.
The Seahawks’ game at Beacon was not originally scheduled, but both schools agreed to add it, as it promised to be a great matchup.
The score at halftime was 4-4; both teams seemed intensely focused on the game, and the grass field made it difficult to pick up ground balls.
Beacon scored the only goal of the third to open up a 5-4 advantage and scored early in the fourth to gain a 7-4 lead. The quarters are 10 minutes for middle school and go by fast.
The Seahawks closed the gap to 7-5, but Beacon fought off a two-man-down situation, then scored the clincher for an 8-5 win.
Sussex Academy coach Westly Cox played his high school ball at Boys Latin and college lacrosse at Washington College. Cox reflected after the game: “My team definitely felt they played poorly. Our defense forgot how to slide and we normally play more solid than that, but I think you are right when you say that the nerves got the better of them due to the relationships among them. I think they were all trying so hard to be the playmakers that they forgot how to play team defense and offense. Turf would have definitely been better, but I am just glad they got to play each other. That should be a good rivalry game due to how close we are to each other and because they all know each other.”
Most kids on the two teams are teammates on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at Atlantic and Saltwater.
Beacon coach Joe Vavala said: “We played well defensively and executed the game plan all day. Impressive to hold a good offensive team to one goal for the second half. Offensively, the hype around the game from both players and parents seemed to make our guys nervous and resulted in some uncharacteristic offensive mistakes in the first few quarters.”
Vavala added: “I wish we had played better offensively, but good teams find a way to win when they don't have their best. I'm glad we were able to settle down in crunch time, handle our nerves, and execute down the stretch to get the W.”