Letting teams stick around is dangerous.
Maclay lacrosse coach Mike Jones wanted his team to know that at halftime as it squared off with visiting Jacksonville Episcopal in Friday night’s regional semifinal.
Mired in a 5-5 game after the Eagles tied the score with a goal early in the third quarter, the No. 4 Marauders responded.
Maclay burst from its doldrums with a four-goal flurry, keying a 14-10 victory that secured its spot in a home game next Tuesday against No. 2 Ponte Vedra (21-2).
“They started out with a little more energy than we did,” said Marauders junior Stephen Chase, who scored four goals and added three assists. “We have to come out through warm-ups and push it the first two quarters. We’re always good in the third quarter. We got comfortable and started playing well.”
Chad Minter won the ensuing faceoff after Episcopal (9-9) tied the game at the 9:24 mark, then when the defense pressed out, Minter sprinted past and scored unassisted.
Garrett Schwarz followed with a goal in man-up, before Andrew Killinger and Luke Langford scored unassisted to assert authority for the Marauders (19-3). Overall, Maclay scored eight goals to Episcopal’s two in a 15-minute span.
“The good thing about us is when we pop one or two in, we kind of get out confidence back,” Jones said.
“We started pouring a couple in, then fell asleep on defense at the end.”
Langford scored three goals, while Scott Ereckson, Jack Berg, Jimmy Wheeler and Lewis Langford each added a goal in the game, which Maclay led 2-0 and 4-1 before succumbing to a bit of lethargy.
“We’ve got to show up to practice Monday with the intent that this is it,” Jones said. “We’ve had the problem the last three games of showing up with the mentality that we know we’ll win, but we don’t put 100 percent in.
“They came with nothing to lose; we came just trying to survive. We have to come out with a nothing-to-lose mentality and just go.”
Maclay goalie Chad Kim made 11 saves, including five in a pivotal first quarter, while using his speed on numerous occasions to reach the backline first when Episcopal’s shots sailed past the goal.
“We’ve done this the last three years with them, you expect it to be tight and there are momentum swings,” Eagles coach Patrick Harnett said. “We threw the ball away a lot and they did a good job of picking us apart. And their goalie did an outstanding job.”
Episcopal was led by Quinton Miller’s five goals, while Hunter Greene and Ethan Edwards each scored two in challenging Maclay, which will need all it can plus a desired quick start to beat Ponte Vedra. The Marauders won 9-8 in the regular season last year, but dropped a 2013 playoff game, 15-3, and lost, 11-6, earlier this season.
“They’re our big rival and we get super hyped for them,” Chase said. “It’s always a good matchup. Whenever we play them, we jump on them early and fight.”