BOYS LACROSSE: Clarkston topples Athens to reach regional finals | North Oakland Sports

BOYS LACROSSE: Clarkston topples Athens to reach regional finals

| May 30, 2013 | Comments (0)



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TROY — Sitting in a one-goal deficit after the first period turned out to be a good thing Wednesday for Clarkston’s boys lacrosse team.

The Wolves, ranked second in the state in the LaxPower Super 25, quickly responded with a three-goal outburst in the second frame and cruised to an 11-6 victory over host Troy Athens in a Division 1 regional semifinal.

“I think we just started to play better,” said Clarkston boys lacrosse coach Brian Kaminskas. “We settled down and began to attack more.”

BLOCKADE: Troy Athens' Ian Munro (left) tries to halt Clarkston's A.J. Kowell during Wednesday's Division 1 regional semifinal. Staff Photo | Dan Stickradt

BLOCKADE: Troy Athens’ Ian Munro (left) tries to halt Clarkston’s A.J. Kowell during Wednesday’s Division 1 regional semifinal. Staff Photo | Dan Stickradt

Clarkston will play Holt at 7 p.m. Friday in the regional finals at Athens. It marks the third straight season that the Wolves (16-2-0) have reached this stage.

The past two years, Clarkston lost to 10-time defending state champion Birmingham Brother Rice, a national powerhouse, in its Elite Eight matchup. This season, the Wolves are in a different regional than Rice and are just one win away from its first regional title and Final Four berth in the program’s 10-year history.

“We have been here before, so we do have some experience,” said Kaminskas. “We do have some players back, but we too are still very young. We have 16 sophomores and a freshman on our roster. But I think our guys will be ready for Holt.”

Down 2-1 entering the second quarter, Clarkston’s Mitchell Keaton scored a pair of goals and Kyle O’Grady notched another to help the Wolves take a 5-3 advantage into the half.

After O’Grady opened the scoring for the Wolves, Athens (9-10-0) bounced back with goals from Chris Dowd and Brennan McHugh. The Red Hawks could not keep the momentum in the second half.

Athens pulled to within striking distance at 5-4 early in the third on a tally by Matt Dougherty. That was as close as the Red Hawks could soar.

Clarkston outscored Athens 6-3 in the second half, and turned a 7-4 lead after three quarters of play into the 11-6 final.

“We came out with every intention of battling with them and beating them. We did a nice job early on, but I think their defensive pressure got to us,” admitted Athens coach Justin Suarez, who team lost to Clarkston 10-4 back in mid-April. “We had a hard time holding onto the ball and our passes were off (in the second half). I think that led to our demise.”

Connor Ward led the way with three goals, while Mitchell, O’Grady, Connor Dziewit and Reid Kaminski added two goals each for the Wolves.

Six different players scored for Athens.

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