Falling two goals shy of potentially hosting the first home playoff game in the program history, the Edgemont boys lacrosse team headed into the postseason with fire in its eyes.
After a 9-7 regular season No. 7 Edgemont was set for a rematch against No. 2 Byram Hills, a league opponent, on Saturday for the Section 1 Class C quarterfinals. Back on April 12, Byram Hills dominated Edgemont 18-6.
Five weeks later, the Panthers were hoping to show how much they had improved and turn the tables on Byram.
Knowing some of Byram’s tendencies and go-to players, the Panthers made sure to prepare for Saturday’s game throughout the week. Come Saturday, the boys were fired up and ready to go. The Panthers, however, were not able to get off to the hot start they had hoped for and, like the last time they had matched up against Byram, which quickly ran up the scoreboard, the Panthers still struggled to get a grip on the game.
Despite the early deficit, the Panthers stood strong and kept playing as if it was a tie game in the last minute of play. To coaches Billy Locher and Brian Smith, this was no real surprise at all.
“We’ve seen many times throughout the season where the boys have been asked to play with the same intensity, despite the score, or even the time left in the game,” Locher said. “This was evident especially in this game as it was a playoff game, and likely the last for many seniors.”
Senior captain Harrison Bieber also recognized Jack Tomkiewicz, Tim Babchak as well as Christian McGee, for their efforts on defense.
“Seeing the defenders never giving up and continuing to give it their all despite the score really carried throughout the team,” Bieber said. “I love seeing those types of things because it lets me know I’m leaving the team next year in a good spot. When you see guys giving that much effort you naturally will follow suit and so I think the defense as an entire unit really set the tone for everybody else.”
The Panthers were able to get some solid possessions and score four goals: two from junior captain and midfielder Griffin Frank and one each from junior midfielder Zach Stern and junior captain and attackman Ryan Gordon.
Despite the early-than-hoped ending to the season, the Panthers walked off the field with their heads held high as they had a rare winning season.
“These guys really have a lot to be proud of,” Coach Smith said. “We asked them to buy into our system and they did. We understand the work and commitment we ask of them everyday is not easy, but this season shows how far that dedication and hard work can bring you. We were asked to build men and win lacrosse games, and we did just that this season. Ending the season this way just makes us hungrier and more excited to start up next season.”
With a core group of players who now have some varsity experience under their belts — the team graduates only Bieber, Evan Greenberg, Fabio Scarselli and David Kuriakose — the Panthers look forward to playing next year with a chip on their shoulder and are ready to shock the section.