Gateway earns first WPIAL win
The Gateway varsity boys lacrosse team waited out a 30-minute lightning delay before getting started at Allderdice on April 10, but it was worth it because the Gators scored their first-ever victory in a WPIAL varsity game.
The 8-0 win over the Dragons came after a 10-2 loss to Chartiers Valley in the season opener and a 15-0 setback to Pickerington Central Ohio four days later.
The victory also was only two days after a heartbreaking 9-8 loss to Mars in double overtime. Gateway had an 8-4 halftime lead against the Planets.
“It was our first WPIAL win and our first section win, so the kids were very excited,” Gateway head coach John Washington said.
“However, it's only one win in a long season, so we are preparing to stay focused on each opponent.”
The Gators improved to 1-0 in Section 1 of Division II, and Gateway had a section home game against Latrobe on Wednesday that was to be played past the deadline for this week's edition.
Six players scored goals in the victory. Senior Jason Katz and junior Mark Wiesemann each tallied two goals. Juniors Jack Washington, Sam Passalinqua, Greg Paladin and senior Shawn Chaudhry had the other goals.
“It is a great all-around effort and unselfish play by our offensive units when that many different people score,” coach Washington said.
“We stayed patient, possessed the ball and found good open-shooting lanes by moving the ball quickly.”
The goals were more than enough for the defense and junior goaltender Collin Berdis.
“The difference was our defensive midfielders, namely (senior) Chris Frazier and (junior) Dorian Eathorne, winning faceoffs and giving our offense more opportunities to score, which, of course, reduces the number of opportunities that our opponents have to score,” coach Washington said.
“Our defense has really been playing well together, which is a compliment to (assistant) coach Sean Walker, who has coordinated their efforts, along with the faceoff units.
“Our starting long-poles — (junior) John Yakim, (junior) Zach Mrazik and (senior) Quint Dilucente — continue to improve and be physical. We have several players that can score, but our defense has to provide the opportunity before we can do that, and that's what is improving.”
Gateway traveled to face Moon in a nonsection game on Monday, and the Gators suffered a tough 14-1 loss to the Tigers.
It was the first of six games over 10 days for the Gators, who are battling for a playoff spot in Division II. In addition to Latrobe and Allderdice, Gateway also will take on Greensburg Central Catholic, Indiana and Norwin in section games.
Each team in the section plays the other section teams one time, and the top three teams in each of the three sections in Division II make the WPIAL playoffs.
“I've always believed that our kids could be competitive, and now they're starting to believe it, too,” coach Washington said.
“Our team confidence is rising, and we will do everything we can to maintain that, because it's not good to be thinking too much in lacrosse. We need to believe we can win then just go play to the best of our ability. If we can do that, we should expect to get more wins under our belts.”
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.