Louis Dubick (32) scored three goals for Churchill during the Bulldogs’ 6-4 victory over Walter Johnson on Monday in the 4A/3A West Section I final in Potomac.
Photo by Harvey Levine
With a third consecutive 4A/3A West region championship game appearance on the line, the Churchill boys’ lacrosse team matched its lowest offensive output of the season, managing just six goals against Walter Johnson.
But thanks in part to 13 saves by goalkeeper Matt Gloger, the Bulldogs punched their ticket to the region final with what head coach Jeff Fritz called “the best performance we’ve had, defensively, in years.”
Louis Dubick’s goal late in the first quarter gave Churchill a lead it wouldn’t relinquish and the Bulldogs defeated Walter Johnson 6-4 on Monday in the 4A/3A West Section I final at Churchill High School. The Bulldogs will travel to face Section II champion Wootton in the region final at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Derek Altobello’s goal gave Churchill a 4-1 lead with 10:25 remaining in the fourth quarter. Walter Johnson cut the Bulldog lead to one with a pair of man-up goals in the next five-plus minutes, but Dubick responded with two late insurance goals for Churchill.
What does it feel like to have a shot at winning a third consecutive region championship?
“Like nothing,” said Dubick, a University of Maryland commit. “We expect it. That’s the tradition here. We expect to win. As you saw today, we didn’t give our best effort. We’re just looking to get back and give [Wootton] a run. They haven’t been in a close game, so we’re looking to go to their home field and test them.”
While Dubick led Churchill with three goals and Matt Moshyedi finished with two, the story of the night was the Bulldogs’ defense. After allowing a goal to Walter Johnson’s Sam Quick with 2 minutes remaining in the opening quarter, the Bulldogs kept the Wildcats off the scoreboard for nearly 30 minutes, until Andy Weissman scored a man-up goal with 8:15 remaining in the fourth quarter, cutting the Churchill lead to 4-2. Mark Murpha found the net with 5:22 remaining, pulling WJ within one at 4-3, but the Bulldogs held on for the win.
“We expect it. That’s the tradition here. We expect to win. As you saw today, we didn’t give our best effort. We’re just looking to get back and give [Wootton] a run. They haven’t been in a close game, so we’re looking to go to their home field and test them.”
--- Churchill’s Louis Dubick
How did Churchill produce the program’s best defensive performance in years?
“We manned-up and took away the dominant hand and tried to force them where we wanted them to go and tried to force them into taking the shots that we wanted them to take,” Fritz said, “which led to some easy opportunities for our goalie.”
Fritz praised the effort of Gloger, and long-poles David Kushner, Robbie Simonds, Christian Edwards and Joey Sorkin.
“[Defensively], I think that was one of our best games this year,” Gloger said. “We slid well to the ball and we got a lot of big stops --- big saves for me, big stops for the D.”
Moshyedi scored the game's first goal with 9:57 remaining in the opening quarter. After WJ responded, Dubick scored to give Churchill a 2-1 advantage with 1:04 left in the quarter and the Bulldogs led for the remainder of the contest.
Churchill (13-3) will face Wootton (16-0) in Wednesday’s region final after the undefeated Patriots beat Quince Orchard 25-9 in the Section II final on Monday night. Wootton defeated Churchill 14-6 during the regular season on April 26.
“We just need to come to play,” Fritz said. “We played them … a couple weeks ago [and] I honestly did not have the team ready to play. They beat us in transition, they beat us in hustle to the ball, they just took it to us in every way.
“I hope they think that we’re that poor. I thought we couldn’t play any worse and they played pretty much lights out. Hopefully they think we’re not that good.”