Eagles rally past Masuk High, 12-11

Despite a rough second period and trailing by two goals at halftime, the Trumbull High boys lacrosse team rallied to earn a thrilling 12-11 victory over visiting Masuk High on Saturday.

“We don’t always play as good as we are. Sometimes we come out a little flat, but we’re learning to win in tight spots,” Trumbull coach Jim Kammerman said. “We have a young team, but we have a lot of talent and we know we can expect a lot from a lot of different guys.”

The Eagles (3-4) got off to a strong start at McDougall Stadium, setting the tone for the first period with a goal by senior Devin Hunt less than a minute into the game. Fellow senior A.J. DiMasi stretched the Eagles’ lead to 2-0 with a goal with 4:02 left in the period, and Trumbull held onto the margin through the rest of period despite a goal by Masuk with 1:56 to go.

The momentum shifted drastically in the second period.

After two and a half scoreless minutes, Masuk tied the score on an unassisted goal by Fabio Romano, and the Panthers surged ahead just 18 seconds later when Cody Ryan scored — with an assist by Zach Kaufman. Following a short lull in scoring, Romano added another goal with 6:29 left in the half, putting further distance between the two teams.

Trumbull tried to keep pace with the Panthers, and midfielder Stephen Kelley narrowed the score to 4-3 with a goal with 5:37 left. But the second quarter belonged to Masuk, and the Panthers scored a pair of unanswered goals late in the second period to take a 6-3 into halftime.

Masuk looked as though it would continue its dominance in the second half, as Andy Fredeen scored unassisted on an undefended goal.

Trumbull then answered just seven seconds later with a goal by Hunt. The goal, so soon after Masuk had scored, helped to shift the momentum to Trumbull even though the Eagles continued to trail 7-4.

Stephen Kelley of Trumbull cut the deficit to two goals a few moments later when he scored with an aggressive attack up the middle, pushing his way through several Masuk defenders to net the goal with 7:26 left in the quarter.

The Eagles had opened up the half with a newfound aggression on both offense and defense, and their persistence was paying off. Midfielder Jacob Howes whipped a shot into the net with 5:59 left, and the score brought the Eagles to within one goal.

Putting more pressure on the Panthers, Trumbull tried to keep the ball in Masuk territory and Hunt and midfielder Jacob Klas both took a shot on goal, though both were blocked.

Masuk managed to remain composed and preserved its lead with a goal by Frank Bacarella to take the score to 8-6, but it was clear that the Panthers were prolonging the inevitable. Just over a minute later, the two teams found themselves engaged in a fierce battle near Trumbull’s goal, and the Eagles’ Tom Schutz managed to sneak the ball into the net for a goal.

With the score at 8-7, the Eagles were once again close enough to taste the lead. Finally, with 2:19 left in the third, Kelley sneaked in a goal to tie the score at 8. Trumbull had not led or been tied with Masuk for nearly two quarters, but with just over two minutes left in the third, it had found their redemption.

But the Eagles did not yet have the lead.

Masuk (2-5) regrouped and matched Trumbull in aggression on both sides of the ball, and both teams fought to end the period deadlocked. No scoring took place in the last two minutes despite several shots on goal, and the quarter closed with the score tied at 8.

Trumbull scored the goal they had been looking for 44 seconds into the fourth quarter, when Hunt netted the ball with an assist from Howes to take the score to 9-8. Masuk got the ball and tried to slow the pace of the attack, but Howes scored again to stretch the lead to 10-8.

Masuk would not go quietly, though. The Panthers scored their first goal since the middle of the third quarter when Kaufman scored from the left side of the goal to slice the deficit to 10-9, and, with newfound aggressiveness, tied the score at 10 with 7:30 left on a shot by Bacarella.

Masuk held onto its control in the middle of the fourth, keeping the ball mostly in Trumbull territory.

The Panthers regained the lead with 5:51 to go on a goal by Brandon Charney, but Trumbull hung in to tie the score at 11 with a goal by DiMasi. Both teams were running on all cylinders by now, but it was the Eagles who pushed through to take the lead on a charge by Howes with 3:26 to go. Masuk made a valiant effort to keep itself in the game, but Trumbull held onto its 12-11 lead to win the game.

All in all, Hunt, Howes and Kelley were Trumbull’s leading scorers with three goals apiece, while DiMasi chipped in two.

“We definitely tried to push the scoring pace in the second half of the game,” Kammerman said. “We needed to control the pace a bit more and take control.

“I tell them all the time, ‘Just because you’re on defense doesn’t mean you’re not on offense’. You really have to be aggressive on defense so you can get those steals, and that’s what we did today.”