ROCKVILLE – Penalties were the name of the game when the Walter Johnson varsity boys lacrosse team traveled to James A. Cole Field to face division rival Wootton on Saturday.
The Wildcats were penalized seven times for slashing and lost a player to the penalty box for a minute each time. Wootton was called once for cross-checking late in the fourth quarter.
Although the score was knotted up at the half, the Patriots emerged victorious, 12-8.
“It’s tough to play the game with a man down,” said Wildcats head coach Alan Pohoryles. “I think we proved to ourselves that we could play with anybody.”
Wootton senior attackman Justin O’Daniel scored twice in the first quarter for an early Patriots lead.
The Wildcats, however, had other ideas.
Walter Johnson scored three goals in two minutes as junior attackman Kevin Salvatore fired the ball over the head of Wootton goalie Brian Barrett. Attackman Garret Brennan and midfielder Bradley Murray flung the ball past Barrett into the net a few plays later.
O’Daniel scored again 40 seconds into the third quarter to put the Patriots ahead for the final time. Wootton held the Wildcats to just one goal in the third quarter as Walter Johnson was called twice for slashing.
The Wildcats pulled within three goals, but Wootton’s strong passing game ensured that Walter Johnson didn’t get many chances offensively.
“It would have been nice to come out with the win, but I think the game was closer than the final score,” said Pohoryles. “I liked the fact that we competed until the end.”
Pohoryles says the next couple of games are going to be a good test for his team. The Wildcats host Oakdale from Frederick County on Monday and undefeated Churchill on Wednesday.
“They’re the powerhouse of the county,” Pohoryles said of Churchill. “My goal is for our guys to believe in themselves and to be competitive in every game.”
Wootton head coach Colin Thomson says he wants to see the underclassmen on his team continue to progress.
“We’re younger than we have been in the past,” he said. “We usually lose about 15 seniors per year. We have a good amount of freshmen and sophomores on the team this year.”
The Patriots have been playing without three students who have yet to appear in a game this season due to injury. Wootton hosts Whitman on Wednesday.