A resilient effort ended in heartbreaking fashion on Thursday night in West Lawn as fourth-seeded Wilson fell to Hempfield 9-7 in a District 3 Class 3A boys lacrosse quarterfinal.
Holding an 8-7 lead, the fifth-seeded Black Knights called a timeout with 1:36 remaining. Thirty seconds later Jason Hilton scored his game-high fifth goal that would seat it for Hempfield.
“The game was what what I expected it would be,” Wilson coach Ryan Sheaffer said. “It was a tough opponent that came down here knowing that they could beat us and they came out and played really, really hard. At times, I thought their effort was a little bit bigger than ours and my boys fought really hard.
“And I thought they executed their game plan and we got a little flustered at times, and in some big moments I think it hurt us.
Senior Brady Rigdon scored four goals for the Bulldogs (17-5), including Wilson’s final goal with 7:30 remaining. The loss was heart-rending for Rigdon, a member of the team that won the 2021 District 3 title, but has fallen the past two seasons to the Black Knights (13-4) in the district playoffs.
“Two years ago when I was a sophomore, we won it,” Rigdon said, “and the last two years we’ve had heartbreakers losing by one and two goals, both to Hempfield, when we think we could have made a run.”
Hempfield’s goalie, Gabe Colon-Munoz, made 15 saves in an impressive effort to stifle Wilson’s attack.
“I thought Hempfield’s goalie was outstanding,” Sheaffer said. “I thought he was the difference in the game, to be honest. We could have shot the ball a little bit better, but their goalie was unbelievable.”
The Bulldogs scored four in the first half, two in the third quarter and Rigdon’s goal in the fourth. Carter Brensinger, Cohen Renninger and Seamus Breslin each had a goal for Wilson.
Brensinger led the team with two assists. Renninger and Jack Dendall also had one assist. Zack Weitzel made eight saves for the Bulldogs.
The Black Knights led 3-0 after the first quarter and 5-4 at the half. In the third, Hilton scored with three seconds left to extend Hempfield’s lead back to two at 8-6. Wilson had five turnovers in the fourth and 10 overall.
For Rigdon, a lacrosse lifer who has been playing since second grade, though the ending was not what he wanted, the experience of being a Bulldog will forever hold a special place in his heart.
“I’ve been an awesome Bulldog since I was born,” Rigdon said. “I’ve lived here my whole life, gone kindergarten through 12th grade here; it’s something that is special. Not only just the lacrosse team, but the community. The way Wilson is … you expect to be a certain way when you come to this school.
“And we come out and we live up to the expectation. Playing lacrosse here is something I started when I was in second grade with the first ever Little Lax group we had. And I’ve worked my way all the way up and the coaching here, little by little, has gotten me to where I am as a player. This team in particular, these are my brothers; I love these kids with all my heart.
“It’s just something special.”
For Shaeffer, Wilson is in a promising position moving forward. The Bulldogs are graduating five seniors (Rigdon, Breslin, Wes Prentiss, Spencer Thenga and Weitzel) who have made lasting contributions and helped continue the standard of excellence that people have come to expect from Wilson.
“Great, absolutely great kids who have done so much for this program,” Shaeffer said. “And I think they’ve set a really good bar for the program in terms of work and the effort that they’ve put in. And we’ll miss those five; there’s five kids that we’re gonna miss for sure. We love those kids. Wish them all the best in the future and I hope the younger kids learn from from their example”
After winning their 11th straight BCIAA championship earlier this month, the expectation remains the same for the Bulldogs heading into 2024.
“They’re gonna turn up, I know they will,” Rigdon said. “Another county ‘chip, that’s something that we strive for every year, but the district ‘chip is the next thing.”
“I feel great; we have a good young group,” Sheaffer said. “A group that I know will work hard, but listen, we have an expectation here, and that expectation is to go beyond where we are right now. We expect to play for and compete for district championships and play in the state tournament, and we fell short tonight. It’s disappointing. We all have to live with it.
“Hopefully the younger kids let that motivate them to get back to it next year.”
Source: Berkshire mont
Be First to Comment