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Indians lacrosse nearly pull off thrilling upset against Hawks

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Throughout this entire season, the resilience and bond of the Powhatan boys lacrosse team has been a prevailing theme.

After going down 9-3 in the second quarter while also seeing a teammate go down with an injury, the Indians came together and fought back to nearly topple the 8-2 Hanover Hawks, but a last-minute goal put Hanover ahead for a thrilling 14-13 finish.

"They just really came together,” head coach Joe Niles said. “It's one of those things where you see a teammate go down and you rally around that teammate. They played for themselves and did what they could to make Powhatan proud today."

After the Hawks pushed the lead to 9-3, the Indians quickly fought back thanks in large part to the scoring efforts of senior Hayden Somerville and junior Connor Walters, with Somerville scoring the game-tying goal with three minutes left in the game.

"I couldn't imagine what things would be like without them,” Niles said. “Hayden's a fantastic player, we're going to miss him. He brings a fantastic energy and plays super hard all the time."

The Indians scored two quick goals to cut the lead to four after goals by junior Michael Sloan and Walters off a Somerville assist.

The team also saw incredible efforts in goal from senior Connor Jeffs, who made countless big-time saves to keep the Indians’ comeback bid alive. Toward the end of the first half, Jeffs made three saves in quick succession to thwart an aggressive Hawks attack just as the first half whistle signaled halftime.

Opening the second half, Jeffs delivered a great pass that sparked a goal by Sloan, while Walters added another score after ripping one into the net after a foul to make it a 9-7 Hawks lead.

The Hawks ended the Indians' run to push their lead to 11-7, but two minutes after a goal from Hanover’s Gavin Quinn, Somerville stepped in with a rifle of a shot from the right wing to get Powhatan back to their scoring ways. Somerville later scored another response goal after a harsh Hanover penalty when he lasered in a shot from the same spot as his previous goal to make it a 12-9 game entering the fourth quarter.

Then, Walters became the star of the show, scoring two quick goals from long distance to cut the lead down to just one with nine minutes left to play.

With momentum crawling back in Powhatan’s favor and the Powhatan fans fired up, it was a quick moment of shock as Hanover junior Clement Schraa scored one and nearly added another with 7:37 left to go.

A minute later, Somerville added yet another beautiful goal to his goal-scoring resume, and with two minutes left, he became the hero after a masterfully accurate shot in traffic fired past the keeper to tie things up 13-13.

After a timeout to draw up a play, the Hawks offense executed their plan perfectly to take the go-ahead goal with a minute left, crushing the Indians, who worked tirelessly to tie the game up.

The Indians had one last chance to tie things up again, but with 16 seconds left, they were called for being in the crease, effectively ending the game and giving the Hawks a chance to run the clock out.

Despite the loss, Niles is proud of the fight his team demonstrated in a high-intensity environment against a quality opponent.

"It's one of those things where you talk about never giving up, we always preach that as part of our culture,” he said. “Lacrosse is a game of runs, you get a couple goals here, a couple ground balls there and eventually things turn in your favor."

While a tough pill to swallow, the Indians have two games left to finish the regular season out strong when they take on Patrick Henry on the road on Wednesday, May 11 and Glen Allen on Monday, May 16.

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