Cinderella Team: Lions Advance Closer to Finals

High School Lacrosse

by: Daniel Kucin Jr. Special to the AFRO
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Gwynn Park High School goalie Preston Rorick corralled 22 shots against an aggressive Largo High School boys lacrosse team during a third round 2A/1A match in the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association playoffs in Brandywine, Md., but it wasn’t enough to tame the Largo Lions as they fell 4-1 on May 15.

On May 15, the Largo Lions defeated the Gwynn Park Yellowjackets 4-1. (Photo by Daniel Kucin)

Gwynn Park took down the Lions earlier in the season, and their play earned them a first-round seat as the No. 1 seed. “The last time we played them [Gwynn Park] they schooled us because we didn’t know all of the intricacies of the game and lost the match 7-3, so we have learned a lot from that and haven’t lost since then,” said Largo Head Coach Raymon Crawford.

The Yellowjackets dismantled Frederick Douglass High School 15-1 in the second round and appeared to be the favorite, but Largo was up for the challenge after they took down Surrattsville High School 10-5 and Central High school by the score of 8-2 leading up to a clash of two storied Prince George’s County athletic programs.

Largo senior attacker Collins Nwadike forced the issue early on by scoring the first goal of the contest after he scooped up a loose ball that deflected off of Rorick’s stick and then Nwadike fired it home to go up by one late in the first quarter.

“He [Nwadike] has been doing it all year,” said Crawford. “He is our Kobe Bryant.

Nwadike wasn’t finished though as he rifled a shot off of the crossbar that funneled into the net to go up by two with only two minutes remaining in the first quarter.

“It definitely gave us a lot of momentum,” said Nwadike about his two back-to-back goals to start off the first half. “They [Gwynn Park] bullied us the last time we played them, but I believe we had the mental endurance the rest of the game to just keep doing what we do to get what we wanted.”

Both teams battled and fought for position throughout the duration of the match. Gwynn Park finally got on the scoreboard when Edson Moreira slung a laser past the goalkeeper in the slot to split the difference 2-1.

Largo hunkered down and played solid defense to pressure Gwynn Park into taking ineffective shots from long range. Gwynn Park did not register a goal again for the remainder of the game. Largo netminder Seyi Abolade wasn’t tested much for most of the match, but he shined when the ball flew in his direction.

“I think we did pretty good and we came out focused,” said Abolade who finished the game with nine saves. “The win feels good. It is our first year playing, but we came out here today, played hard and had fun.”

Largo found its rhythm offensively and scored two unopposed goals before the end of the first half.

However, Gwynn Park struggled to connect on passes or cradling the ball, and as every second drained off of the clock, the sense of defeat started to come to fruition.

Despite having an impressive season, Gwynn Park amassed ten wins and will look to build off a solid year.

Largo played against South Carroll High School on May 16. The final score was not posted by press time.

“They are wonderful kids, and they come from all different avenues, and this is their first year, so it is all uncharted territory,” said Crawford about his team with a big smile that stretched across his face. “We have heart, and we keep fighting. I ask for effort, and they always give it to me.”

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