Hampton boys lacrosse rallies past Pine-Richland
This season is one of extreme transition for the Hampton boys lacrosse team. A new coach in Randy Burns coupled with a jump to Division I is a lot to take on.
The Pine-Richland squad looked to add to the difficulty to the Talbots' situation when it hosted the new kids in the division.
Pine-Richland leaned on Hampton early and often, and as the game wound down, the Rams' defense tightened up.
Goals by Joe Briski, Brian Newcamp, Connor Slomka, Ryan Means and Chris Szelong helped the Rams build a 5-4 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Nick Dudenas scored two goals, and Nick Grabowski and Jon Nigro added one each.
With time ticking away, it was time for Hampton to make a statement or fall victim to a young Rams squad.
Attacker Luke Happel knew just what to do … he got his stick on the ball, drew the attention of the Pine-Richland defense and dished to the arguably the best scorer the Talbots have: Andy DeMichiei.
The senior attacker cashed in with just more than three minutes to play and tied the score, 5-5.
The Rams were stunned but had one haymaker left to throw.
Moments after it appeared Happel and DeMichiei saved the day for Hampton, Newcamp scored his second goal of the game to give the lead and momentum back to Pine-Richland.
With both teams scrambling for possession and 1:23 left, Nigro bought Hampton some time with his second goal of the game.
The game went to sudden-death overtime, and with the next score deciding the game, what better time to net a milestone point?
DeMichiei found the back of the Pine-Richland net for the second time, earning the win and career point number 300.
“It was all coach (Sam) Happel,” DeMichiei said. “He drew up two really nice plays that got me open right in front of the net.”
Hampton won, 7-6, and gave itself some breathing room in the section.
“This is the kind of thing that can define a season,” Burns said. “They were patient and played with heart. We controlled the ball and played smart, and that is what it comes down to: making plays.”
DeMichiei said the team didn't get nervous despite trailing almost the entire second half.
“We didn't execute in the first half, but our defense and goalie played fantastic,” DeMichiei said.
Burns added that a win like this builds character and is important as the season takes shape.
Pine-Richland coach Jim Vollberg was disappointed in the loss but said his team still is learning to respect its own talent.
“If we play our game, we can beat anyone,” Vollberg said. “We played hard, but had some mental lapses.
“Hampton played a hell of a game. On that last play, we knew it was coming, we just didn't stop them. Hampton is pretty good.”
In addition to the win, DeMichiei reflected for a minute on the milestone point.
“It's a nice accomplishment. Now I am only about 130 behind the record (held by former Seneca Valley star Peet Poillion),” he said. “I just want to give a shout-out to my mom (tonight).”
Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.