Ahead of the Patriots next game against Whitman they got important news that would affect the team for the rest of the season. Senior John Billingsley, who hadn’t played lacrosse since his freshman year, would be making a return to the field just in time to help the team try and compete for a long awaited championship. Billingsley showed off his talent during the 2016 season, and looks to show his worth, while finishing out the regular season and into the playoffs.
The Patriots took on the Whitman Vikings on Apr. 26, coming off a blowout loss against Sherwood. This would be an important bounce back game, as they try to build confidence with playoffs right around the corner.
The Patriots took a slim lead as the first quarter came to an end, leading 1-0 thanks to a goal from junior midfielder Evan McLaughlin. In the second the Patriots blew things open, scoring from left and right. By halftime McLaughlin had tallied another goal and an assist. “The team couldn’t really get any open looks, so I wanted to get the momentum going and set the pace for the offense early,” McLaughlin said.
In addition to the contribution from McLaughlin, senior attackman Caleb Metz and Hunter Band scored, giving the Patriots a 5-0 lead heading into the break. The Patriots continued to put it to the Vikings. In the fourth quarter junior midfielder TJ Douglas scored his first goal of the season, putting a capper on the 12-4 win for the Patriots.
Next, the Patriots played the Blair Blazers on Apr. 27. Band and Metz led the effort, both with two points each. Their dominant offensive attack continued throughout the game to secure the win in a close 11-8 game.
With the next matchup approaching, the Patriots had to quickly turn their attention to the Paint Branch Panthers on May 1. It was a highly anticipated game, due to the fact that Billingsley would be making his return. He started in the face-off circle, and it was quickly known that he was back. Billingsley asserted his dominance, giving the Patriots extra possessions throughout the game. This led to the Patriots snatching the win in the low-scoring contest 5-1. “It feels really good to be back on the team. Especially playing in my first game, I’m excited to play for the rest of the season and it’s just great to be back,“ Billingsley said.
In their last regular season game of the season the Patriots played The Heights Cavaliers on May 3. With the Cavaliers’[ defense standing tough, nothing was easy for the Patriots. The Patriots got early tallies from Billingsley and Metz in order to keep it close, but it wasn’t enough and they ended up dropping this one 7-6 in the close loss.
In the Patriots first playoff game, they faced the Quince Orchard Cougars on May 10. With early goals from Billingsley and McLaughlin, the Patriots were able to build a 3-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. It was close throughout the entre contest, with the game intensifying as each minute ticked by. Going into the fourth quater, the Patriots held a 6-4 lead and the game wasn’t anywhere close to over.
Halfway through the fourth quarter, the Courgars tied it up at six and took back all the momentum. With the score tied with one minute, Metz was able to free himself and put one in the back of the net. 45 seconds later, with 15 seconds left the Cougars scored a goal of their own and it was all knotted up at seven. As overtime began, the Patriots turned up the intensity and early into the extra period junior midfielder Zane Cohen scored giving the Patriots a 8-7 win in overtime. The playoff game against RM on Monday was too late to be covered in this issue.