LATHAM — Years from now, Shenendehowa’s third quarter against Shaker on Friday may be held up as a nearly perfect quarter of lacrosse.
The second-seeded Plainsmen turned a 4-1 halftime deficit into a 7-4 lead entering the fourth quarter, and hung on for an 8-7 win to defend their title in the Section 2 Class A boys’ final at Shaker High School.
Shenendehowa (15-3) will play the Section 9 champion in a state regional game at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Middletown.
“Down the stretch here we’ve put together really good third quarters, and that was the talk at halftime, just stay the course. And we needed a play, we needed a score,” Shenendehowa coach Jason Gifford said.
The first score of the third quarter came from Mason Carroll, who led Shenendehowa with three goals and one assist, at 9:51. Braden Fahey cut Shaker’s lead to 4-3 with his goal at 8:22. The Plainsmen tied it at 4 on an extra-man goal from Nathan Wolfe at 5:34.
Less than a minute later at 4:42, Fahey put Shenendehowa in the lead for good with a crank. Carroll notched another one at 3:33, and the Plainsmen saved the prettiest one for last in the period, as defenseman JT Wilders scooped a ground ball and started a fast break and found Freddy Hicks open on the crease to make it 7-4 with 2:23 left in the quarter.
“We’ve been here before,” Carroll said. “We all just got hyped up, coaches talked to us and we came out flat in the second quarter. One little play can just set us off, and it did [in the third quarter], and we went on a six-goal run.”
Shaker — trying for its first Section 2 title since 2017 — had taken the 4-1 halftime lead on goals by James Easton, Eric Hennessey, Brody Williams and Carter Fort, but the top star for the Blue Bison (13-4) was goalie Mason Dils, who made six saves in the first half, including a beautiful doorstep one.
“They got talented players, they got a great coaching staff, we knew they were going to make a push at us in the third quarter,” Shaker coach Shawn Hennessey said. “They had some extended possessions, and when that happens, we’re going to have defensive breakdowns, any team will.”
Jack Burns’ extra-man goal made it 7-5 20 seconds into the fourth quarter, but Carroll’s third goal at 7:54 re-established a three-goal lead for Shenendehowa. Burns struck again to make it 8-6, and Eric Hennessey’s second goal with 42.8 seconds left brought Shaker within one.
However, Wilders, on the wing, won the ensuing faceoff for Shenendehowa, and later, the Plainsmen scooped a ground ball in the Shaker offensive end with nine seconds left to ensure the victory.
The win avenged an 8-4 Shaker win during the regular season on April 27.
“We executed,” Carroll said. We had tons of looks the first time we played them, we just couldn’t capitalize on them. We had great opportunities today and were able to capitalize on them.”
“Couple little adjustments here and there,” Gifford said. “It’s a feeling-out process every time you play them.
“It speaks volumes to their resiliency and their trust in each other,” Gifford added. “They all knew we weren’t in trouble, we just needed a play, and they all kind of stepped up.”
“I thought our scheme was good, our organization was good, we had a shot to come back and tie it,” Shawn Hennessey said. “You couldn’t ask for a better Section 2 Class A final than we had today. They came up on top. The better team won today.”
Shenendehowa 1 0 6 1 — 8
Shaker 2 2 0 3 — 7
Shenendehowa scoring: Carroll 3-1, Fahey 2-1, Wolfe 2-0, Hicks 1-1, Wilders 0-1, LoPresti 0-1. Shaker scoring: Burns 2-1, Hennessey 2-0, Easton 1-1, Fort 1-1, Williams 1-0, Resnick 0-1. Goalies: Shenendehowa, Standaert, 6 saves. Shaker, Dils, 8 saves.