BRANDYWINE HUNDRED — After going nearly all of the fourth quarter and into an overtime session since their last tally, one could hardly blame the Saint Mark’s boys lacrosse team for feeling iIke celebrating when the Spartans appeared to score to end it in sudden-death overtime.
But a late whistle from one of the referees stopped the party. The Saint Mark’s shooter had stepped in the crease, negating the goal. Adding insult to injury for the Spartans, they were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for coming on to the field, giving the homstanding Raiders a man-up situation.
The Raiders took quick advantage, rushing down field, with Tyler Saccomandi setting up behind the net. He took a pass and immediately looked for a cutting Connor Schleeweis, who fired a shot past the Saint Mark’s goalkeeper to give Concord a 7-6 win. It was the end of a game that was close throughout.
The game was tied 5-5 going into the fourth, but that changed early. The Spartans controlled the draw, and Dan Mitchell picked up the ground ball and ran it toward Raiders keeper Dan Jupiter. His shot was true, putting Saint Mark’s back on top. It would prove to be the Spartans’ final goal of the game.
A few minutes later — the scoreboard was not on — Saccomandi tied the game. He started with the ball behind the net after a timeout before coming out in front, turning and firing the tying shot into the cage.
There was much up-and-down action as the quarter ran on, but aside from one save each for Saint Mark’s and Jupiter, the teams kept each other from getting quality chances. The Spartans had a man-up situation late in the fourth, but the best chance on that belonged to the Raiders, who nearly went end to end as time expired.
Saint Mark’s opened the scoring in the first, but Schleeweis tied it up on a bouncer while the Raiders were a man up. Mitchell untied it, beating Jupiter low on a long shot. Saint Mark’s took a two-goal advantage on a delayed penalty, holding the ball for more than a minute before scoring. Schleeweis cut the deficit to a single goal for Concord when he won a ground ball and fired a bouncer with about 30 seconds remaining in the first.
The Spartans capitalized on a Raiders penalty for the first goal of the second quarter about 10 seconds after they went a man up. Saccomandi scored later in the second, and it was the Spartans on top at the half, 4-3. The Spartans’ keeper made sure that lead stood with two big saves before the break, including some highway robbery of Nicholas Albano just before the end of the quarter.
Schleeweis, who had a strong outing, tied the game a few minutes into the third on a play he made possible himself. First, Schleeweis whacked the stick shaft of a Spartans player, knocking the ball loose. He picked up the ground ball, scrambled toward the net and fired a shot in for his third.
Two more man-up situations benefited the Spartans in the middle of the third. They did not connect during the first one, but Alex Salerni restored his team’s one-goal lead when he took a pass from behind the net and whipped it past Jupiter. Shane Gorman scored on a cutter to tie the game once more, setting up the fourth quarter and overtime.
Schleeweis led the Raiders with four goals. Saccomandi added a pair. Concord (10-3) winners of eight straight, hosts Wilmington Charter on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.
Saint Mark’s got two goals from Mitchell. The Spartans (4-7) play four home games over the next eight days to close out the regular season, beginning Saturday at 1 p.m. against Red Lion.
All photos by Mike Lang.