On Monday, May 20, the varsity lacrosse team played the Meadville Bulldogs in District 10 Championship game at Dollinger Field. The Ramblers earned their spot in the final by beating the Fairview Tigers the previous week in a 12-4 victory.
The past two meetings between Prep and Meadville were gritty, physical battles. In the first game, which was in the first week of the season, there certainly was no shortage of chippiness, misconduct penalties, and illegal body checks. This game would end up going to the Bulldogs by a score of 10-5. The second game still had hard hits and trash talk. Though, this bout would be a much more competitive one, with the Ramblers scoring in double overtime to win 9-8. With the series 1-1, and the two teams having a fierce, competitive history this season, the stage was set for the championship game.
In the first quarter, each team struggled to gain an edge over the other. Each team was able to create chances, but not put a tally on the scoreboard. Eventually the Meadville Bulldogs opened the scoring, only to have the Ramblers rally back soon after to even the score. The quarter ended with more group ball scraps and near misses at goal.
When it came to the end of the first, the Ramblers managed to edge out a lead. Their offense caught wind in their sails. Their dodges and off-ball movement provided them higher quality shots. Still, not being able to capitalize on every chance they made, their lead at the half only amounted to a 3-2 score.
“Coming out of the second quarter, we were still hyped,” says Grant Brown, a senior defenseman. “We were excited to have the lead, but also knew we had to keep grinding to be leading at the end of the fourth quarter, when it really matters.”
In the third quarter, the Ramblers’ play fell apart. After losing many ground balls and failing to produce offensive looks, Prep’s defense was constantly under pressure. Meadville played with more energy than they had before, and it managed to overwhelm Prep. By the end of the third quarter, Meadville commanded a lead, 9-4.
In the fourth quarter, every player knew they had to give it all to pull out a victory, and for Prep, probably a little more. Seconds into the start of the quarter, Meadville scored, which proved to be an emotional blow to the Ramblers. Prep’s woes continue to plague their game, resulting in the team being unable to get anything going. In the later half of the quarter, Meadville players were constantly in the box for penalties. This gave Prep opportunities to claw back from the deficit they were in. Among these man up opportunities, Prep players, especially the seniors, gave it their all, managed to get back three goals, but not enough to take the lead. The final score of the game was 10-7, with the Meadville Bulldogs claiming the District 10 lacrosse title, marking the first time it has not been Prep’s title in eight years.
The season definitely did not end the way the Prep lacrosse players would have wanted. The seniors were especially bummed as it was their last season wearing orange and white. A few seniors will be continuing their lacrosse careers at the next level in college, while for the majority of them, this was their last organized athletic competition. The bad ending to the 2019 varsity lacrosse Season did not make the whole story sour. Many of the players enjoyed spending the bus rides, practices, and games with each other. “The people on the team made every experience worth it,” says senior captain Tim Klebanski. “This season has been more of a struggle and challenge to win than the past few teams, so this challenge really demanded the most of us.” The memories of Prep lacrosse team, the numerous challenges to overcome and the great moments of being with Prep brothers, are ones the team will always hold onto, especially for the seniors.