XENIA — Nobody wants to be the first team to lose to a fledgling program in any sport, but that’s where Xenia found itself on Saturday, April 7, in a boys high school lacrosse match with visiting Newark.
The host Buccaneers fell behind by a 6-3 score, then saw their second-half rally come up just short in an 8-7 loss to Newark, a school playing club lacrosse for its second season, ever.
Players and teams are always encouraged to win gracefully, like you’ve been there before. So when the Wildcats players went crazy and celebrated on Xenia’s field, it might’ve been frowned upon by some of the Xenia players.
But hey, Newark had never “been there” before! After 20 consecutive losses, Newark earned a little bit of celebration for its first win in school history.
“They played the best game they’ve ever played today, in the two-year existence of lacrosse at Newark,” Head Coach Caleb Nilo said. “They played the best lacrosse they’d ever played for about the first 90 minutes, then they had a stretch there at the end where they let Xenia put three goals in the nets in about 5 minutes. So it was real scary, but they came together and realized they needed to give 100 percent again. It was just an awesome day for us.”
Nilo credited sophomore Becca Kalas with her first-ever goal and said attacker Joey Loughman recorded a hat trick (three goals) for the Wildcats. “It was a good overall win for us. One that we’ll never forget,” he added.
The two schools will meet up again on May 4 when Xenia plays on the ‘Cats’ home field.
Led by a pair of late goals from Alex Dye, Xenia pulled to within one goal of tying the Wildcats with roughly three minutes left in the contest. A series of late penalties left the Buccaneers short-handed down the stretch and seemed to kill the team’s comeback momentum, however.
Despite the loss, Bucs coach Scott Dye liked the team’s effort, especially in the second half.
“The kids are doing pretty well,” Xenia coach Scott Dye said. “We’ve gotta put a little more effort in during practice, and try to carry that over to the time that we spend on the field. The first half was a bit of a downer, but the second half was pretty good for us. … If we take away our first-half performance, and played the way we should have, we probably would have come away with a ‘W’ today.”
Newark’s Nilo knew his team had dodged a late-game bullet in recording the school’s first-ever win. He credited Xenia in showing class and sportsmanship in the loss.
“Xenia is a very classy team, and they’re the kind of program that we’d like to model ourselves after,” Nilo said.
Nilo and his Wildcats then boarded a school bus and headed south to Wilmington High School, where they played another match later Saturday evening.
Xenia was scheduled to play at Fairmont on Monday. The Bucs then head to Lebanon on Wednesday, April 12 for a 6:30 p.m. contest, before returning home on Friday, April 13 for a 6:30 p.m. contest Chaminade Julienne.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.