The Coral Shores High girls lacrosse team had just won the District 32 title and now, in Thursday evening’s fading sun at the Back Yard field in Key West, the Key West boys team was ready for its title game against Westminster Christian.
Attired in white uniforms, the Conchs, holding their shooting sticks in gloved hands, their fresh faces hidden by sleek gray caged helmets, bore the confidence befitting a team with a 15-1 record. Hoisting flags, they roared onto the field for warm-ups. Westminster entered just as raucously.
The game began stunningly when the visitors’ Mike Whyte took the opening faceoff and sped down the field for a goal. Just as stunningly, less than 15 seconds later, the Conchs’ Christian McCain scored to tie the game at 1-1.
After some jarring collisions, the Conchs took the lead when Colin Lutz took a pass from Dean Wallen and shot the white ball (heavier than it looks) into the narrow confines of the net. The sudden lead delighted a good-sized crowd that leaned on barriers like rail birds at a horse race.
It was 2-1 after the first quarter.
Early in the second, junior Kolby Kelleher faked a defender and scored from 10 yards out to make it 3-1. McCain soon followed with a shot that got by Warriors goalie Andres Llamas.
The momentum didn’t ebb. Kelleher scored again, as did Zack Hill.
Meanwhile, Westminster could not solve goalie Joey Eppy, and shouts of “Joey, Joey” rang out as the half ended with the Conchs ahead, 6-1.
A chill was in the air as the third quarter began. The onslaught continued: Lutz scord twice and Kelleher, after Westminster scored, got his third goal to make it 9-2, which was the score when the period ended.
Physical defense marked the fourth period. “Save by Justin Eppy,” public-address announcer Casy Dion intoned.
McCain made it 10-2, Josh McAlearney added an 11th goal and Hill scored for a 12-2 lead.
Time was running out. Kelleher, maneuvering down the field like the running back he is for the Conch football team, scored his fourth goal just before the 13-2 game ended.
Cell phone cameras went off from all angles as the elated Conchs and their exuberant coach, Jake Luce, celebrated their second consecutive district title.
“Five, four, three, two, one....”
Coral Shores players counted down the final seconds before the horn sounded on an 11-8 victory over Palmer Trinity.
The Lady Hurricanes pulled away from a 5-4 halftime lead to win their second consecutive District 32 title.
Mallory Hudson’s third goal made it 6-4, and started a flurry of goals including scores by Emma Upchurch (four goals) and Kyrie Foote (three goals). The lead soon ballooned to 11-4.
Emily Thomson, who scored five goals in the Hurricanes’ 12-3 semifinal win Tuesday over Gulliver Prep, scored one more in the title contest.
Goalie Carolyn Barrow made six saves on Palmer shots. “The defense worked diligently all night,” said head coach Mark Hall.
The Lady Canes made short work of Gulliver in the semifinal round.
In addition to Thomson’s five scores and an assist, Upchurch scored three times with an assist and Foote scored twice. Marissa Darrow and Delaney Hoag each threw one goal into the Gulliver net.
Cara Erickson and Barrow each picked off three saves in the net. Field defenders Lorena Perez, Jessica Goodwin, Paige Joyce and Emily Ruiz had standout games, Hall said.