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Narrow playoff loss ends Warriors’ record lacrosse season

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By Bob Sutton

Special to The Alamance News

It had been so good this spring for Western Alamance’s boys’ lacrosse team.

Turns out, it just wasn’t long enough.

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The Warriors’ record-breaking season ended with Friday night’s 12-11 loss to visiting First Flight in the Class 1-A/2-A/3-A state playoffs.

That game was too short as well for Western, which made a furious rally before running out of time.

“I love this team so much,” attackman Evan Kuehnel said. “We just became a team and that’s why it mattered so much.”

So the conclusion was painful, complete with shedding of many tears for the Warriors.

“That one hurt a lot,” coach Trey Andrews said. “(These guys) kind of put it all together this year. They gave everything every minute. They gave down to the last second.”

Western scored the final four goals, including Corben Bowen’s tally with 14 seconds left. A wild sequence following the ensuing face-off resulted in a penalty on the Warriors – and there wasn’t a chance for a tying shot.

In part, the snags came earlier when Western was thwarted offensively too often in the first half, Kuehnel said.

“We wanted to take care of business here,” he said. “We’ve had games like this and we’ve fought like this. I never for a second doubted this team.”

Western (13-7) finished with a program-record win total and played in its first home playoff game in 11 years.

Perhaps that’s why the result seemed so awkward.

“It was a winnable game and the ball just didn’t bounce for us,” Andrews said.

First Flight (8-5), which reached the state finals as the East Region champion last year and will meet Orange in the next round, posted six consecutive goals for a 9-4 lead. That included the first five goals of the second quarter before Kuehnel halted the rally with the second of his three goals.

The Warriors had two goals for the only scoring in the first nine minutes of the third quarter with Matthew White and Tanner Stout finding the net. When the Nighthawks produced the next three goals, it looked dire for Western with less than eight minutes to play in the game.

Kuenhel scored again followed by two more from White before Bowen completed the scoring.

White finished with four goals and Eli Harper and Joey Leupold also scored for Western. Goalie Will Foster provided a couple of stretches with critical saves that kept the Warriors within striking distance.

Eighth-seeded Western Alamance, winner of seven of its last eight regular-season games, and ninth-seeded First Flight received first-round byes before the second-round clash.

 

Elsewhere in the states …

Eastern Alamance won 11-5 at Oxford Webb in the opening round with Dalton Helton and Collin Deese both scoring three goals. Sam Royal had two goals and four assists and Tyler Counts added two goals and one assist.

The season ended for the Eagles (8-11) with Friday night’s 16-6 second-round setback at Orange. Helton scored three more goals.

Williams (4-15) lost in the opening round with Tuesday’s 9-2 loss at Havelock.

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