Hunter Smith led the Panthers with 5 goals and an assist, including 2 scores in the decisive fourth quarter surge, as Pallotti won its second MIAA lacrosse title and its first since reigning over the B Conference in 2006.
After a couple of tough season in the B Conference, the Panthers made the move down to the C and their rebuilding efforts were kick started with a championship.
“It’s definitely building and we definitely needed to drop to the C to rebuild,” said Smith. “Last year we were in the B and I think our record was 2-14. So, we dropped down to the C and we’re rebuilding. Hopefully, when I am graduated the freshman class can go back to the B and we’ll whoop up on them.”
Beth Tfiloh drew first blood as Scott Tepper bounced in a shot, on a feed from his brother Justin, at the 8:47 mark of the first quarter, but Pallotti responded with consecutive scores from Lee Shumaker, the second assisted by Zack Burns, and the Panthers were off and running.
Hunter Smith scored later in the period and scored again in the second quarter. Justin Lee added a pair of scores in the second stanza as Pallotti built a 6-1 lead at the half.
The Warriors began their climb back into the contest in the third quarter.
Danny Monroe tickled the twine, with a helper from Scott Tepper, early in the quarter for the Warriors. The Panthers responded with an unassisted goal from Smith, his third of the game, but Beth Tfiloh got scores from Ryan Ross and Mitchell Cardin, in the final minute, to pull within three at 7-4.
Cardin’s goal sparked the junior attack and netted the first three goals of the fourth quarter, in just 98 seconds, giving him four straight, to stun Pallotti and tie the contest at 7-7. On the first, he slapped a loose ball out of the air onto the ground and it trickled across the goal line. He then netted a shot on a feed from Scott Tepper and then buried an unassisted thrust with 10:22 to play.
Shumaker scored his third goal of the contest, at the 9:17 mark, to push the Panthers back on top. Smith stretched the Panther lead back to two, seconds later, and Zack Burns made it 10-7 with 6:43 left. As the clock wound down to 4:44, Burns scored again, followed 32 seconds later by Smith’s fifth goal of the contest, making 12-7.
Pallotti head coach Joe Stanilaus said he had seen the Warriors battle back against his team before.
“They are a hell of a team. We knew we needed to battle,” said Pallotti head coach Joe Stanilaus. “We played them earlier in the season, the same situation. We had a lead, they came back and we had to weather the storm. They are a great team and we’re very proud to finally win a championship.”
“They are a good team and if we didn’t turn it on, they were going to come back and finish,” said Shumaker. “So we talked, lwe came back and smacked right back.”
Jacob Welfeld, with an assist from Justin Tepper, stopped the surge and got Beth Tfiloh back on the board. With 1:08 left Shumkaer netted his fourth goal for Pallotti’s final score, before Justin Tepper and Welfeld tallied late goals for the Warriors.
With Smith and Shumaker coming back for the senior years, the Panthers should be strong contenders in 2017 as the rebuilding continues.
“Last year we couldn’t even catch and throw,” said Shumaker. “But this year we came back and you cannot have a strong building unless the base is good.”
“I think it’s essential that whenever you are trying to build something that’s powerful, to rebuild the proper way,” added Stanilaus. “Last year, the conference we were in, we didn’t belong at all. Now, you can see we have we have a decent fit here and maybe we will come back in a couple of years.”
MIAA C CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
AT JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY
ST. VINCENT PALLOTTI 13, BETH TFILOH 10
BT 1 0 3 6 — 10
SVP 3 3 1 6 — 13
GOALS: BT-Mitchell Cardin 4, Jacob Welfeld 2, Scott Tepper 1, Justin Tepper 1, Danny Monroe 1, Ryan Ross 1; SVP-Hunter Smith 5, Lee Shumaker 4, Zack Burns 2, Justin Wilson 2.
ASSISTS: BT-Scott Tepper 3, Justin Tepper 2, Welfeld 1; Zach Burns 2, Immanuel Brown 1, Christian Schembari 1, Smith 1.
SAVES: BT-Jacob Troy 8; SVP-Andrew Jumbelick 14.
Face-offs: Beth Tfiloh, 18-6.
Groundballs: St. Vincent Pallotti, 36-35.