Stadium knew it was in for a tough test against Ballard in the second round of the lacrosse playoffs, having tied with the Beavers earlier in the season. For 20 minutes it looked like it would be the same type of game, but Ballard took control with three goals late in the first half and held on for a 10-5 win on May 22 at Stadium Bowl to end the Tigers’ season.
Tied 2-2 with just over three minutes until halftime, Ballard’s Josh Schwartzenberger struck for two goals in under two minutes, and Thomas Christensen added a goal from a wide open look with 1:40 left to give the Beavers a 5-2 lead at the break.
“I think once they scored that first goal we kind of hung our heads,” said Stadium senior Aaron Park. “We definitely let up. We lost our morale. It just went down the drain from there.”
Schwartzenberger had given Ballard a 1-0 lead just over two minutes into the game, but Noah Leonard answered for Stadium with 5:34 left in the first quarter with a goal from 20 yards out. Jacob Marks regained the lead for the Beavers late in the first quarter, and Stadium was unable to equalize despite several good chances early in the second quarter.
“They went into a little bit of a zone (defense) there,” said Stadium head coach T.J. Serrianne. “The passes weren’t clicking…(Ballard) definitely played very well, but I think we lost some of it on our own.”
Park equalized midway through the period for Stadium, skipping a shot past Beavers keeper Alex James from 15 yards away.
“Not by any means was their defense weak, I don’t want to take anything away from them, but I knew their goalie wasn’t the strongest,” Park said. “If I could get those open looks, even from 15 yards out, I knew I could take them and get some goals in.”
But the Beavers responded quickly with their three-goal run at the end of the period.
The Tigers looked to get back in the game quickly in the third quarter when Harry Dillman threw in a shot from a tough angle on the right side just 11 seconds after the break. But Kyle Garrity regained control for Ballard by scoring just over a minute later, and John DeGarmo added his second goal for the Beavers to make it 7-3 with 7:38 left in the third. Brendan Raschke and Park again responded for Stadium with goals to cut it to 7-5 at the end of the third, but Ballard rattled off two early goals in the fourth to put it away.
“We didn’t get the bounces we’re used to getting, but we played hard until the very end,” Serrianne said. “I’m very proud of the guys, it just wasn’t our night tonight.”
The Tigers finished the season with a 10-2-1 overall record, having beaten Lynden 12-7 in their playoff opener on May 17.
“We did what we wanted to do,” Park said. “We established a program here. We got it going for the younger guys, and they’re looking forward to next year. They can’t wait.”