The Loveland mens varsity lacrosse team hopped on a team bus Friday night; led by a sirens-blaring police escort and cheered on by Tiger fans lining the streets, headed across town to take on the St Xavier Bombers in the Southwest Region Division I Mens Lacrosse Finals. Loveland outlasted St Xavier through 3 overtime periods to walk away with a 6-5 win and head to the Ohio High School Division I Mens Lacrosse State Tournament Final Four in Columbus.
Move on to play in the State Division I Final Four on Wednesday, June 1 at 7 PM
Coming into the contest, St Xavier was the defending 2015 Ohio High School Division I State Champions and ranked #1 in Ohio, having not lost to a local Division I opponent since 2014. The Bombers boasted an offense generating 13.7 goals/game, tops in the state and featuring 2016 All-American and Southwest Region Player of the Year Griffin Buczek (Cornell). Earlier in the season, the Bombers shredded the Tigers 14-2 in their worst loss of the season. Before Friday night, Loveland had not defeated St Xavier in 8 previous tries.
For this game, Loveland Head Coach Mike Pritz installed an unconventional “packed-in” 6-man zone defense, directly challenging the Bomber offense to fire at will on the Tigers goal from 12-14 yards out.
Loveland and St Xavier ended regulation tied at 5. In what is now dubbed an instant classic, the game moved through 2 sudden-death, overtime periods deadlocked, with both teams getting multiple shots on goal. Settled in their zone and anchored by 2016 All-American goalie Marshal Amon (Wilmington), the Loveland defense was able to contain St Xavier’s Buczek, leaving him with 0 points on the evening.
Loveland senior captain Michael Newbold (Dayton) ended the struggle half-way through the 3rd OT with a hard bounce shot past Bomber goalie Alex Deters (Princeton), sealing a 6-5 win for Loveland and propelling the Tigers to their first Southwest Region Mens Lacrosse Championship at the Division I level. The Tigers lost in a Division II State Final in 2008.
[quote_right]Marshal Amon recorded a Division I playoff record 30 saves in the contest.[/quote_right]Amon recorded a Division I playoff record 30 saves in the contest. Freshman Kyle Beasley notched a goal, and sophomore sensation Adam Clark added the other 4 for the Tigers.
With Friday night’s output, Clark’s 104 pts on the season (74g/30a) adds to his Loveland Mens lacrosse single-season scoring record of 97, previously set by Loveland 2014 All-American Brian McElveen during his senior season.
Loveland is now 17-3 on the year and moves on to play in the State Division I Final Four on Wednesday June 1 at 7 PM. The Tigers face the Golden Bears of Upper Arlington High School. Upper Arlington is a northwest suburb of Columbus.
The game is at Olentangy-Liberty High School. (See map below.)
Upper Arlington, now 18-3, has won 17 State Championship titles, including three titles in a row – 2012, 2013 and 2014. They beat the Dublin Coffman Shamrocks 14-10 to make it into the Final Four contest.
The winner of Loveland vs. Upper Arlington will play either Hudson or St. Ignatius on Saturday, June 4 at 4:30 PM at Thomas Worthington High School for the State Championship.
Loveland High School is planning a send-off the Mens LAX Team Wednesday at 3 PM in the high school parking lot.
Thank you to Loveland Lacrosse for contributing the bulk of this story. All photos are by David Miller © 2016.