Game 1 Summary

Christopher Lawlor

WASHINGTON – There was a stretch of 42 seconds of the second quarter when The Hill Academy (Ontario, Canada) showed how explosive the offense is.

It was more like a blitzkrieg, three goals all spaced out by 14 seconds and were a byproduct of special teams and a special effort: Wining the faceoff and a natural hat trick.

Hill, the defending champions, will press on in the second GEICO High School Lacrosse Nationals on Sunday after knocking off fifth-seeded St. Sebastian’s School (Needham, Mass.), 16-8, in the a first round matchup at Catholic University’s Cardinal Stadium.

“I was a little relieved that play on for another day,” Hill head coach Brodie Merrill said. “We capitalized on the early transition and were able to take a deep breath and settle in.”

St. Sebastian’s fell behind early but finally settled into a rhythm by the onset of the second quarter. Duke-bound attackman Michael Swirtbalus made it 5-2 with 3:38 left in the half and the Arrows were in business. Maybe in a league game but in a GEICO Nationals; no way in such a talent rich field assembled here.

At 1:52, Dylan Watson tallied the first of three in succession; his final of the trio coming at 1:11 and it remained 8-2 at the break.

Hill Academy (11-4) advanced to face top-seeded Culver (Ind.) Military Academy or last year’s runners-up Georgetown Prep (North Bethesda, Md.) Monday in the semifinals on ESPNU at 7 p.m. ET.

“We know [Culver Military] quite well. They have a number of Canadians and a familiar skill set,” said Merrill of a potential third matchup this season with the Indiana school.

The Arrows actually drew first blood at 8:23 on middie Matthew DeSisto’s strike from Peter Murphy. Hill’s Matt Stucci and two from Dyson Williams gave the fourth-seeded Pride a 3-1 lead all of which were unassisted.

“They took the lead early and had a majority of the possession,” Merrill said.

That rapid-fire offense helped the Pride soar to an 11-4 in the third. Only eight seconds into the frame, long-stick middie Ian Mussington hit for the 10th goal and Watson netted his fourth of the contest at 9:16 and a seven-goal bulge.

For the third time in the contest, the Pride put a run of goals away to keep St. Sebastian’s at an arm’s length. It was 12-5 late in the third when Owen Williams, Owen Hill and Josh Zawada pegged the back of Mac Fotiades’ net, the latter with 18 seconds left.

The fourth quarter was a formality but the Arrows (17-2) refused to go away without at least one last dash. Trailing 16-5, Swirtbalus added his second, while Brian Piatelli and Peter Pickard scored in the final 3:20 to close out the scoring.

Pickford also had two goals and Will Frisoli captured 5 of 10 faceoffs for the Arrows, who were outshot 33-29. Fotiades made 13 saves.

Hill controlled the ground balls, 31-26 and was 16 of 20 on clears. Watson and Williams sank four goals apiece for the Eagles and goalie Brett Dobson rejected sevens shots.