Boys Varsity Lacrosse Team Wins Sectional Championship

George Dunhill runs the field against Islip.

Catalina Fragoso

George Dunhill runs the field against Islip.

Sam Plunkett, Co-Web Manager, Sophomore

Down three goals with under three minutes to play in the Section 1 Class C final, the Pelicans needed a comeback. After managing to send the game into overtime with their rapid offensive attacks, one goal would crown the winner. Fans dressed in all white cheered and screamed. Senior George Dunhill lowered his shoulder and ripped a shot into the back of the net. The Pelham Pelicans were the Section 1 Class C champions.

In all the years of the Pelham boys’ varsity lacrosse program’s existence, no team ever advanced to the section finals. This year however, the team won, led by first year head coach Mr. Rogers. The team had a rough go during the regular season finishing 7-8 after a grueling schedule, but managed to obtain the five seed in the Section 1 Class C playoffs. In the first game of the postseason, the Pelicans beat the four seed, Ardsley, 16-5. In their second game, the Pelicans played the number one seed, Hendrick Hudson, where they came out on top 12-7. Next, the Pelicans faced their rival, Rye, in the section championship.

During the regular season, the Pelicans had beaten the Garnets 8-7, with Brady Tolan scoring the game winner. The beginning of the section final game played out similarly to how the regular season game, in which Rye took an early 3-0 lead in the first and a 7-4 lead at halftime. The team mustered all its strength to pull off the successful comeback, ending the game with a 9-8 lead, sending the Pelicans to regionals.

”Winning the section title was something the team and I had wanted since we were little kids, so getting the opportunity to score the game winner was a truly special experience. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end my lacrosse career at Pelham,” said senior captain George Dunhill.

Next, in regionals, the Pelicans faced Glens Falls, a team with a record of 11-9 throughout their Section 2 campaign. The pelicans met their opponent with force, striking early with four goals while only allowing one to go in the back of their own net. The Pelicans had a convincing win by a score of 16-3, winning the regional championship and punching their ticket to the State Final Four in Albany.

Momentum was on their side as the team headed up to the University of Albany to play the talented Islip team. Big and fast, Islip managed to gain an early lead going up 2-1 in the first quarter, eventually defeating the Pelicans 14-4.

Despite eventual defeat, the boys’ season remains a huge achievement and milestone for Pelham lacrosse. Coach Rogers led the team not only a section championship, but also a regional championship.

“This was a very positive season. Mike Solazzo was extremely helpful as a mentor to me, he made sure I knew what to expect and how to prepare for the season. We set up an ambitious schedule, knowing that we would be battle tested when the sectional playoffs arrived,” said Coach Rogers.

Though they had to deal with a challenging schedule and talented opponents, the Pelicans were able to prove themselves in the finals.

“The season had its up and downs, beating Westlake, who were the state final runner ups in 2017, to start the season followed up by beating Bronxville and Rye for the first time followed by a 4 game losing streak, each loss by 2 goals or less. We managed to learn about ourselves and each other and come together as a team to string together a 6 game winning streak that included our first trip to the sectional championship, winning our first sectional championship and then the regional championship” said Rogers.

Looking onto next year, the team hopes to improve through winter training. Though they are losing seniors that were an integral part of the success, the team possesses a lot of young talent.