Cava’s overtime goal lifts No. 10 CR by No. 2 Tatnall 6-5 in boys lacrosse quarterfinals

Jimmy Cava in action earlier this season. (Delaware State News file photo)

WILMINGTON — Jimmy Cava already had two chances in overtime which he sent wide.

With time running out, he was hoping for one more. Then he found himself with the ball in his stick and less than 10 seconds remaining on the clock.

Cava took two steps to his left and fired.

The ball skipped in, Cava tossed his stick into the air and Caesar Rodney High was moving on.

Cava’s overtime goal lifted No. 10 seed Caesar Rodney over No. 2 seed Tatnall, 6-5, in the quarterfinals of the DIAA boys’ lacrosse tournament. The Riders (12-5) advanced to play third seed Salesianum on Wednesday at a time and place TBA.

“I was pretty mad because I missed two shots before that in overtime,” Cava said. “It was awesome when it finally hit.”

Tatnall (15-2) had tied the game with 5:42 left in the fourth quarter and the score stayed 5-5 until Cava scored three seconds away from another overtime period.

Both teams had plenty of chances to take the lead in regulation and in overtime. The Riders sent a shot over the bar at the buzzer of the fourth quarter while Tatnall had two shots on goal in overtime.

Caesar Rodney senior goalie Jacob Stant recorded 14 saves to help the Riders earn the win.

“It’s really nerve-wracking knowing you’re the last defense between going to the next round or going home,” Stant said. “You just got to stay cool and that’s what I tried my best to do.”

Stant made a key point-blank save in the fourth to keep the game tied. He also tipped out a shot in overtime before rushing behind his goal to be closest to the ball as it went out of bounds, forcing a change in possession.

Junior defender Jackson Phillips also forced a key turnover in overtime.

“At the end of the day, I know I’m out there with my boys and we got each others’ backs,” Phillips said. “One of the best feelings in the world to win this. We put in a lot of work at practice and we work as hard as we can. It was a group effort today to dictate the game.”

“We played as close to a perfect game on the defensive end as we could,” said CR first-year coach Brooks Johnson. “We have had confidence in these kids all year long and it’s just a great team win.”

Stant also credited the defense in front of him, anchored by Phillips, Kevin Duson and Myles Lawrence for creating turnovers and preventing Tatnall from getting into good shooting space.

“It’s always great when you only give up five goals,” Stant said. “I know the boys in front of me did a good job.”

Sean Wooleyhand assisted on Cava’s game winner with one of his two assists.

After the goal, Cava jumped into Wooleyhand’s arms before they were crushed by the Caesar Rodney bench running out to celebrate.

“It’s tough to prepare for situations like that in a state quarterfinal,” Johnson said. “We put our trust in the guys who have been putting forth a good effort all season. For these guys to bond together for this win, it’s big for our program.”

Tyler Morris paced the Riders with two goals while Wooleyhand added a goal and a pair of assists. Brian Page and Evan McCleary also scored once, Zach Davis provided two assists.

The Riders took a 4-0 lead in the first quarter but were held scoreless in the second and third. Morris scored with 9:46 remaining in the contest which was CR’s first goal since 3:08 left in the first.

It took 14 minutes for the next one, but the defense made sure it would be the winner.

“It was hard but we had to battle through it,” Cava said. “It was a total team effort.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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