Missed opportunities kill Panther comeback


Shelby Foster

Senior Panther Jacob Zellen defends junior War Eagle James Mayfield. Mayfield scored four times against the Mill and led Woodward to their 10th win of the season. The War Eagles are now 3-0 in the area and have clinched a No. 1 seed in the state tournament.

Rilee Stapleton, Editor-in-Chief

One focal point for the Starr’s Mill boys’ lacrosse team this year has been playing a tougher schedule to better prepare for the postseason. This explains the Panthers’ 7-5 record in contrast to the lopsided records of the past (17-3 in 2018 and 2017).

We’re a good program. They just got the best of us.”

— head coach Jeff Schmidlkofer

Their most recent game against Woodward proved be another tough game for the Mill. It resulted in a loss to the visiting War Eagles 13-10.

“Every game goes down like that against Woodward,” head coach Jeff Schmidlkofer said. “We’re a good program. They just got the best of us.”

Juniors Cameron Herd and Christian Sparkman carried the Starr’s Mill offense, scoring three and four goals, respectively. The other three goals were scored by senior Reid Harrison, junior Addison Long, and sophomore Gabe Lopez. The Panthers fell behind on multiple occasions, but continuously battled back. However, after coming within one goal to start the fourth quarter, the Mill failed to connect on a multitude of opportunities to tie the game.

The War Eagles were led by junior Eric Malever, who is ranked as the fourth best lacrosse player in the country in his class. The Maryland commit scored three goals against the Panthers and fellow junior James Mayfield found the net four times in the contest versus the Mill.

“We started off hot, we got a spark,” Herd said. “But really, we killed it ourselves. It started with turnovers, and we didn’t execute.”

Shelby Foster
Junior Eric Malever observes the field. Malever found the net three times against the Panthers in Woodward’s 13-10 win over Starr’s Mill. Ranked No. 4 in the nation for the class of 2020, Malever has committed to play college lacrosse at the University of Maryland.

Woodward started the game hot, scoring three straight goals in the first four minutes. The Panthers were unable to answer until the 5:48 mark in the first quarter, when Long fired a shot into the goal. Just seven seconds later, Sparkman cut the Woodward lead to just one goal. Malever quickly countered with his second goal of the night, but after stealing a pass from the goalie, Sparkman launched a shot to an open goal, setting the score at 4-3.

Herd opened the second quarter with an equalizing goal, but the War Eagles responded soundly. Mayfield scored his second of the night, followed by freshman Stratton Ford and Jackson Dunn. The lead quickly bloomed to 7-4 in favor of the War Eagles. With two minutes left in the quarter, Sparkman finally answered to cut the deficit to two. However, Mayfield scored twice more before the half was over, giving Woodward a 9-5 lead at the break.

“Overall, we didn’t play a complete game,” senior Jacob Zellen said. “We played a little bit more in the third. The first and second quarters we weren’t really in it and playing our best.”

The third quarter proved to turn things around for the Mill. Lopez scored just over a minute into the second half, and Herd followed 40 seconds later to make the score 9-7. Malever countered with another goal, but Herd and Sparkman responded with one more goal each.

Going into the fourth quarter, Starr’s Mill only trailed 10-9 after outscoring Woodward 4-1 in the period.

The fourth quarter was filled with opportunities for Starr’s Mill to tie the game. The Panther offense misfired on multiple shots and failed to capitalize on Woodward’s turnovers.

With 5:34 left in the game, Dunn scored to increase the War Eagle lead to 11-9. A minute later, he found the net again. Harrison scored his first goal of the game in the final minutes, but Dunn countered it with another goal in the final 15 seconds.

Woodward’s strong fourth quarter push handed them a 13-10 win over the Mill and set them up to clinch a No. 1 seed in the state tournament.

“This has to drive us forward,” Herd said. “We have a big game against Harrison next week and we have to use this to pound them to the ground.”

The Panthers’ next matchup is at Harrison High School against the 6-8 Hoyas. Harrison has a poor 1-6 record at home, but are a flawless 6-0 against region opponents. The game is at 7:45 p.m. on April 17.

Following that matchup is a contest against McIntosh with region standings and state seedings on the line. The lacrosse edition of “The Battle of the Bubble” is at 8 p.m. on April 25 at McIntosh High School.

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