Hajek’s OT goal lifts Bucs past Spartans 14-13 in boys lacrosse

Landan Hajek scored a game-high five goals, including the game-winner in overtime. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

FELTON — Landan Hajek wanted to send his team home with a road win, so when the Milford High sophomore saw the opportunity to do so he made sure to take advantage.

Hajek’s game-winning goal with 1:45 remaining in overtime lifted his Bucs past rival Lake Forest High, 14-13, Wednesday night.

“I saw an open right side and I just had to take it, I knew I had to step up,” Hajek said. “I just wanted to win the game for us. It was the first overtime of my career and it felt good to end it for my team.”

He finished with a game-high five goals with one assist.

“It was a heck of a shot, and he’s one of those guys who we’re OK with having the ball in his hands with the game on the line,” said Milford coach Blake Faulkner.

“We trust him completely. We have those guys out there for a reason and we just put it on them and know that they can do it.”

Milford’s Alex Herka takes a shot against Lake Forest Wednesday night.

The win extends Milford’s streak to six straight boys’ lacrosse victories over the Spartans (6-5), with the past three matchups being decided by just one goal.

When the two teams faced off earlier this season at DE Turf Sports Complex, the result was also a 14-13 score in Milford’s favor.

“It’s always a fun game against Lake,” said senior Jonathan Gaglione. “We finished strong, which we’ve been struggling to do this year, and we came together as a team at the end.”

Gaglione and junior Alex Herka each recorded a hat trick for the Bucs (6-4). Junior Conor Christie scored two goals and sophomore Matthew Hague added one. Milford goalkeeper Ryan Frost made 15 saves.

Junior Kade Collins scored a team-high four goals for the Spartans, while senior Josh Kennedy recorded a hat trick.

Juniors Zyaire Elliott and Dylan Auen each scored a pair of goals, while senior Kaidan Fullerton and junior Riley Sapp each added one. Lake goalkeeper Caleb Secrist made 14 saves.

Josh Kennedy scoops up a ground ball for the Spartans.

The Spartans controlled much of the first half, netting its first goal from Sapp just 34 seconds into the game to take the quick lead.

Trailing 3-1, Gaglione scored his second goal of the night at the 1:48 mark of the first quarter to pull within a goal. It marked the senior attack’s 200th point of his high school career.

“It was pretty surreal,” he said of the milestone. “It’s a confidence-booster and it really just feels amazing.”

Trailing by a pair of goals at the halftime break, Herka came out in the second half and scored two quick goals at the 10:21 and 9:21 mark to knot the game 7-7.

The Bucs battled back once again at the end of the quarter, scoring a pair of goals in the last 27 seconds to tie the game, 9-9.

With just over four minutes remaining in the game, it was the Spartans who found themselves in a two-goal hole and was forced to battle back.

Fullerton pulled the Spartans to within a goal at 4:01 and it was Kennedy who scored the 13-13 equalizer with just 43 seconds left in regulation, sending the game to overtime.

“We really just tried to stay the course,” Faulkner said. “We knew we were making mistakes early on and that we needed to clean things up.

“We still didn’t clean things up the way that I think we had hoped, but the kids gutted it out despite everything that was happening, and they just played hard.”

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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