Chances are this wasn’t how head coach Kevin Broderick drew it up. But it’s unlikely that many members of the Chantilly boys’ lacrosse team will be filling a complaint box any time soon.
Given a halftime break that lasted just less than 22 hours, Chantilly and Robinson resumed their Virginia AAA state semifinal contest Thursday night at Fairfax High School. With a two-goal lead, Chantilly scored twice in the first five minutes of the third period before surviving a late Robinson rally to earn an 8-5 victory.
The win improved the Chargers’ record this season to 16-2 and produced a berth in Saturday’s 8 p.m. state title game with Langley at Westfield High School. Langley eliminated Chantilly from this year’s Northern Region tournament with a 6-4 semifinal win.
“We had all the momentum, but we just needed to come out with a certain intensity this game,” said Chantilly junior Joe Marson, who scored the first goal on Wednesday and the last one on Thursday. “We played the same way as we did [Wednesday], and we came out with the same intensity.”
After one half of play Wednesday night, the skies opened up and lightning appeared. As Chantilly eventually left Westfield, not all that much was said. But Chantilly’s silky smooth offense during the first five minutes of play Thursday said it all.
“I thought we came out pretty strong to prove to everyone that we’re still that team that we were last year,” said senior defender Stevie Gombos, referencing last year’s undefeated run to the program’s first-ever Virginia AAA state title.
Kevin Egan gave Chantilly a 6-3 lead at 10:10 of the third, firing a pass from Robbie Bowers past Robinson goalkeeper Kenan Kevan to give Chantilly a 6-3 lead.
At the 7:00 mark, Devin Westerman scored unassisted to push the Chargers’ lead to 7-3 before Robinson’s Thurmond Shaw took a pass from Daniel McNulty -- stationed to Shaw’s right -- and beat Chantilly goalkeeper Derek Kegerreis. Robinson’s Chase Walton then scored at 6:28 to pull the Rams within two at 7-5. But Marson’s second goal of the game with 1:09 remaining sealed Chantilly’s second straight state title game appearance.
One threatening moment came with Robinson trailing by two and Kegerreis behind his net trying to initiate some offense, as a Robinson stick check and the slick turf resulted in a tumble for Kegerreis. And as the ball popped to the left of the cage, Gombos picked up what was perhaps the most clutch ground ball of his career.
“[Kegerreis] had a guy right on him and he hit him and sure enough I was right there to pick it up and clear it,” Gombos said. “It was a good feeling.”
<b>ON WEDNESDAY,</b> Joe Marson gave the Chargers a 1-0 lead almost two minutes into the game, scoring on an isolated matchup from behind the Robinson cage. Walton tied the score by moving from left to right and firing against the grain to beat Kegerreis at 3:55 of the first period.
After Waters spun to his right and beat Kevan, Alex Barber took a pass from McNulty, regrouped and fired a shot from his right that beat Kegerreis. With 12 seconds left in the first, Robbie Bowers converted a feed from Brendan Waters to give Chantilly a 3-2 advantage.
In the second period, Egan took advantage of a one-timer from Marson to give the Chargers a 4-2 lead at 10:50, but Barber scored his second goal of the game 42 seconds later from the middle of the offensive zone.
Then Chantilly’s Mike Turpyn, with 42 seconds left before halftime, made a quick dodge and spun to his left before finishing Westerman’s pass to produce the 5-3 edge.
“I thought we played our best lacrosse this season,” said Broderick, whose squad lost 16 players from last year’s state championship team. “We’re getting better. With all these young guys, we’re just working and slowly getting our confidence.”
10:04 (1) -- C: Marson (Chantilly, 1-0)
3:55 (1) -- R: Walton (Tied, 1-1)
1:56 (1) -- C: Waters (Chantilly, 2-1)
:40 (1) -- R: Barber from McNulty (Tied, 2-2)
:12 (1) -- C: Bowers from Waters (Chantilly, 3-2)
10:50 (2) -- C: Egan from Marson (Chantilly, 4-2)
10:08 (2) -- R: Barber from Shaw (Chantilly, 4-3)
:42 (2) -- C: Turpyn from Westerman (Chantilly, 5-3)
10:10 (3) -- C: Egan from Bowers (Chantilly, 6-3)
7:00 (3) -- C: Westernman (Chantilly, 7-3)
:26 (3) -- R: Shaw from McNulty (Chantilly, 7-4)
6:28 (4) -- R: Walton (Chantilly, 7-5)
1:09 (4) -- C: Marson from Golden (Chantilly, 8-5)