WILMINGTON — Salesianum allowed just one second-half goal to pull away from Wilmington Friends, going on to a 13-3 win over the Quakers and a return trip to the DIAA boys lacrosse state championship game this weekend.
Top-seeded Sallies will face a familiar foe. Cape Henlopen, the No. 7 seed, defeated No. 6 Caesar Rodney in the other semifinal. The Sals and Vikings will meet at Dover High School on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Sals defeated Cape, 10-6, on May 1; this will be the third straight championship game between the two schools and the ninth overall.
As has been the case throughout the season, the Sals got off to a quick start. Tanner Stepanic came out of the X position behind the net after the Sals won the opening faceoff and beat Quakers goalie Ethan Lukach, and after taking the next faceoff as well, got a goal from Chase Black less than 30 seconds later.
Black struck again with 5:25 to go in the first, with Rowyn Nurry getting the assist, before Friends’ Rhys Butler scored on a man-up situation.
The Quakers stayed close through the middle of the second quarter, getting to within a pair at 4-2 on a nice spin move and goal by Jake Bryson at the 10:20 mark of the second quarter. Lukach shook off the early goals and made several outstanding saves. He kept the Sals off the board for nearly nine minutes of game action until Elliot Dotson solved him midway through the second. The Sals added two more before halftime, including a goal from Nurry with 10 seconds to go before intermission.
Sals goalie Cam Taylor helped limit the Quakers’ offense with a huge one-on-one stop of Jackson Redd.
Redd did get on the board in the first minute of the second half after a faceoff win for Friends, but that would be their final goal of the game. More strong play from Lukach and his defense limited the Sals to just two goals in the third quarter, keeping Friends within striking distance.
Taylor and Lukach kept up the quality goaltending, with Dotson’s turnaround shot with 8:31 to go the lone goal of the final quarter until the final three and a half minutes. Salesianum scored three times in the closing stretch to get the final margin to 10 goals.
Unofficially, Black led the way with four goals, while Dotson and Luca Pompeii had two each. The Sals improved to 13-4.
The Quakers, who had just six seniors on the roster, finished 15-3.
All photos by Mike Lang.