Morgan Madonna scored a game-tying goal with 37 seconds remaining in regulation and Mike Walsh scored just seconds into overtime as St. Mark’s defeated Tower Hill 7-6 on Saturday night at DeGroat Field.
“We’ve been behind before and we’ve come back through overtimes, and this overtime was no different,” Walsh said after a congratulatory hug from his dad. “We just wanted to get the first shot off. We wanted to get a nice possession going, and luckily I got the first goal in on my first shot, and man, there’s nothing like it.”
St. Mark’s (14-3) advances to play top-seeded and two-time defending state champion Salesianum, a 19-10 winner against No. 8 Wilmington Friends, in a state semifinal game Wednesday at a time and place to be determined.
Salesianum (15-2) has advanced to the finals each of the last six seasons. Sallies defeated St. Mark’s 19-5 on May 9. The Sals have won 13 consecutive games and have not lost to an in-state opponent this season.
“They have a great team, one of the better teams that this state has seen,” St. Mark’s coach Mark Reynolds said. “We just have to go in and be confident in our ability to play and not worry about their hype. We’ve just got to go out there and play hard.”
Joseph Giannaras scored three goals to help lead fifth-seeded St. Mark’s. Madonna had two goals and two assists. James Magnani recorded a goal and an assist, Rhett Schweizer had two assists and Walsh assisted on Madonna’s game-tying goal.
Ben Watson had three goals and an assist for Tower Hill (13-4). Will Mette contributed two goals, and Andrew Pettit added a goal and three assists.
“We weren’t able to really get much of a rhythm on offense,” Tower Hill coach Brad duPont said. “We had a bunch of penalties and turnovers that hurt us and they played a great game. … We weren’t able to pull away.”
St. Mark’s scored the first two goals of the game and owned a 2-1 lead after one quarter on the strength of tallies by Magnani and Giannaras, who whipped the ball into the cage moments after the Hillers were whistled for unnecessary roughness.
Watson scored with two seconds remaining in the first, bouncing a shot into the cage to put Tower Hill on the board.
Mette scored just two minutes into the second quarter to knot the score at 2. And he scored again with 5 ½minutes remaining in the frame to give Tower Hill a 3-2 lead that stood at halftime.
St. Mark’s wasted little time responding, however, as Madonna scored just nine seconds into the third quarter to tie it at 3.
The teams continued trading goals throughout second half, with Tower Hill always taking the lead and St. Mark’s tying it back up.
Watson scored for a 6-5 Tower Hill lead with fewer than three minutes to play, and the Hillers appeared on the cusp of advancing until Madonna tied it at 6 with 37 seconds remaining in regulation.
“Coach told us to never quit and to think about all the hard work we put into this season and not to let it just go to waste,” Madonna said. “He just told us to take good shots and we had a good look and we took it. I was pretty relaxed. I was pretty excited. I just wanted to get a goal.”