WASHINGTON — After falling in the second round of its conference tournament to rival Bullis School (Potomac, Md.), Georgetown Prep (Bethesda, Md.) savored an opportunity for redemption at the GEICO High School Lacrosse Nationals.
Even facing one of the best teams in the nation — Super 25 No. 4 and tournament top seed IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) — the Little Hoyas were intent on not letting the season end on a loss.
The Little Hoyas, led on offense by attacker T Ridgeway, upset the Ascenders 13-12 in overtime Monday night in the semifinals at Catholic University to advance to Tuesday’s title game (7 p.m.).
On the first possession of overtime, Ridgeway got the ball with a man advantage in the middle of the field. Ridgeway quickly rifled the ball into the right side of the net from 20 yards out for his third goal of the night.
“The goalie went out of the net to pick it off… so he was a little out of the net and not really set so I pulled the trigger and it happened to go in,” Ridgeway said.
This was IMG Academy’s first loss since the season opener against Hill Academy (Ontario) on March 21. After scoring 26 goals in Sunday’s quarterfinal victory against Christ School (Arden, N.C.), the Ascenders were held to half that amount. Leading scorer Tahoka Nanticoke, who scored eight goals the previous day, scored four goals.
Georgetown Prep goalkeepers Jack Van Slyke and Justin Clark said that after watching film Sunday night they knew what to expect from the IMG attack.
Additionally, they spoke with their goalkeepers coach on ways to neutralize Nanticoke, specifically.
“We had a good scout on them,” Van Slyke said. “We knew exactly what they would do before the game started enough. Sure enough, they came out and did what we knew they would do.”
After IMG took hold of the game in the first quarter, the fifth-seeded Little Hoyas stormed back into the game in the second when they dominated possession. In that period, Georgetown Prep outshot IMG by 11 and won twice as many faceoffs. Those extra opportunities translated into four goals and a one-goal lead at halftime.
“Sometimes the ball bounces a funny way,” IMG coach Jason Basso said. “Yesterday we had a bunch of balls bounce our way to create transition for us, today two or three balls we almost had got goosed out by them.”
After a tight third period in which both teams scored two goals, the Little Hoyas surged in the fourth quarter. Each time they made a big play, they sent their bench and fans, into a frenzy. Whether it was Jackson Luck or Ridgeway, their offense was able to convert the chances their defense provided.
IMG forced the overtime on a goal by Nanticoke with 1:39 left, but the game was decided moments later.
When Ridgeway’s goal hit the nylon behind IMG goalkeeper Tyler Armstrong, the reaction was instantaneous. Within moments, the Little Hoyas had stormed Ridgeway and lacrosse gear was flung high into the sky. Soon after the team was creating a dogpile on the sideline with their friends from school who had come to support them.
“I think we all grow up dreaming of these games,” Ridgeway said. “When you got a bunch of people there watching you, you’re on television, it’s down to the wire in overtime. It was a surreal experience. Definitely our biggest win of the year.”