Boardman earns first lacrosse win against Canfield
By Brian Dzenis
Boardman won no trophy Friday night, but its boys lacrosse program took a mighty step forward.
The Spartans hit a key milestone in the old Spartan Stadium, outlasting Canfield 11-10 for their first win against the Cardinals at either the club or varsity level.
“I’ve been playing for five years now and every year we’ve lost to Canfield,” Boardman senior Colin Frost said. “This was huge for us.”
Frost’s short-handed goal with five minutes left in regulation gave his team its first lead of the contest and he scored one more time with 59 seconds to go to add insurance.
The Spartans celebrated as if they had won a championship — with players running on the field chucking their equipment into the air — and it’s understandable. Lacrosse’s history in the Mahoning Valley is short, but it is Canfield-heavy. Canfield was the first to really take to the sport with youth through the high school club teams. Last year, lacrosse was recognized as a varsity sport in Ohio for the first time and Canfield led the local charge.
Canfield swept Valley rivals Poland and Boardman last year as the only local team with a winning record. This year, the Cardinals swept Poland again and split the season series with the Spartans. Canfield took the first meeting, 11-8.
“It’s always good to see a team in this area come up and do well,” Canfield coach Gordon Byrne said. “We always like the challenge and we’ve been leading in this area for a while now and it’s good to see them develop as a Division I team.”
Boardman (12-6) has its first winning season after going 7-7 last year.
“We have a lot more chemistry. We’re passing the ball more,” Frost said. “We’re talking more. We have a lot better shooters and our goalie has been amazing this year.”
Spartan goalie Cody Geary was worked over with Jared Donches beating him five-hole for his first in a five-goal performance for the Cardinals. Canfield led 3-0 after the first quarter and took a 4-1 lead in the second before Boardman came to life.
Boardman tied the contest at 4 in the second quarter, setting up the game to be a pattern of Canfield pulling ahead by a goal only to have the Spartans tie it up.
“I had to talk to my defense and the coaches did a great job of working plays,” Geary said. “We have some great players who can put it in the net.”
Devin Whittaker had a hat trick for the Spartans and a goal from Egan Hare in the third quarter helped Boardman keep pace going into the fourth quarter.
Donches scored with a second left in the third quarter for a 9-8 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Hare scored again to tie it and to set up Frost’s scoring. Stone Elias cut the deficit to one goal with 17 seconds left but Canfield (9-5) got no closer.
Both teams are in postseason play next week. Canfield travels to Canton Central Catholic on Monday, while Boardman heads to Massillon Jackson on Tuesday.
“It felt amazing having our team work together so well and have great chemistry between all of us to finally go out and get one on them,” Geary said. “Hopefully we’ll get more on them.”