CR falls to Sallies, Cape moves on to lax finals

 

CR’s Jared Wagenhoffer scores a goal against Sallies during boys’ lacrosse state semifinal at Dover High School on Wednesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — Down eight goals in the first quarter, it seemed a foregone conclusion Caesar Rodney High’s boys’ lacrosse season would be ending on Wednesday night.

But for the rest of the game, the Riders did all they could to prevent that from happening.

Caesar Rodney cut an eight-goal deficit to three goals in the second half before ultimately falling to Salesianum 16-11 in the semifinals of the DIAA state tournament hosted by Dover High. Sallies started the contest on a 8-0 but the Riders outscored them the rest of the way, just not enough to climb out of the big hole.

“You’ve got to seize the moment and play as hard as you can,” said CR senior goalie Tyler Gross. “Obviously the first quarter didn’t go our way, but I think after that the whole game went our way. I think our effort is really what made that happen.”

Junior Josh Cosden led the comeback attempt with a game-high six goals.

“We just didn’t give up,” Cosden said. “We knew it was going to be tough but we made our run and got momentum. It was just such a great game, a great battle. It’s so emotional, such a tough loss.”

Salesianum will play Cape Henlopen in the championship game, at a time and place to be determined. Cape Henlopen reached the final with a 16-7 victory over top-seed and previously unbeaten Wilmington Friends on Wednesday night.

Caesar Rodney wrapped up its season with a 14-5 overall record.

CR’s goalie Tyler Gross prepares to block a Sallies goal.( Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

The 11 goals were the most Salesianum has allowed to a Delaware team since April 28, 2015, against St. Mark’s. The Riders only scored three against Sallies in the season finale two weeks ago in a 17-3 defeat.

Salesianum also ended Caesar Rodney’s seasons in 2012, 2013 and 2014. But none were this close. The average margin of victory for the Sals in those three games was 11.6 goals and the most CR was able to score was four goals.

This marked the highest goal total for CR against the Sals in recent memory, edging out April 8, 2010, when they scored 10.

“Going down to this team in the past has resulted in a snowball effect,” said CR coach Matt Faircloth. “These guys said that wasn’t going to happen. They popped up on their feet, they fought to the last second. I couldn’t be more proud of the way they battled.”

“If we play to our capabilities we’re able to play with them,” Faircloth added. “At the end of the day, we’ve got to make sure we’re doing the little things and go back to fundamentals.”

The closest Caesar Rodney got to the Sals was 10-7 after a Demetrius Stevenson goal with 8:16 left in the third period. But the Sals answered with a pair of goals to create some breathing room.

The Riders were fresh off an upset victory over No. 3 seed Appoquinimink in the quarterfinals. That came after CR lost to Appoquinimink 16-4 in the regular season.

The win over Appoquinimink and the comeback against Salesianum are two positives for the Riders to take into the offseason.

“It shows that we’re capable of playing to that high of a level,” Cosden said. “We came together and played as well as we could. We’ve been a family this year. This has been such a great year for us.”

“To finish a game that close really says a lot about our team and our effort,” Gross said. “I think every time we’ve played Sallies before since I’ve been here has been at least a 10-goal margin. I think next time these guys play against Sallies they’ll think about this game and play them as hard as they can.”

 

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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