On a beautiful Tuesday evening on Lee and Cedar, the Lax Tigers jousted with the Gilmour Academy Lancers and were able to prevail with a decisive 7-3 victory in front of a raucous home crowd for Senior Night.
The day started with a group photo, as the team all dressed in garb similar to the wardrobe of head coach Chris Ticconi – athletic pants tucked into their socks, a hooded sweatshirt, and a hat with sunglasses crowning the top. The jubilant atmosphere continued into the game as the Tigers pounced on a 4-0 lead out of the gate.
Shamar Steele dictated the tempo early at the faceoff X, winning most of the draws and allowing the Tigers to get on the board early. Owen Lang, Pendle Smith & Co. gave the Tigers a cushion which they would not relinquish to the Lancers. Things got a bit hairy at the end of the first half with Gilmour scoring 3 quick goals as the Tigers couldn’t stick a fork in the groundballs. The Tigers headed into halftime with a 4-3 lead.
After regrouping, the Tigers came out dominating on all parts of field in the second half and putting together a complete game. The defense, lead by Andrew “Pec” Pecorarro and Xavi Pelligree dictated their matchups and only gave the Lancers shots resembling warm cereal – slow moving and easily controlled. Pelligree had a “gobbly gook” game in cage, making double digit saves. “Getting gobbly” is when a goalkeeper is in rhythm, gobbling up the opposing teams shots with no regard.
The play of the day came from the usually defensive minded senior midfielder Jalen Starr as he put the Lancer defense in a blender as he carried it up the field. One could only glimpse his frizzy hair through a torrent of Lancer defenders as he torpedoed his way towards the goal and dished it to Jack Dyer, who canned a lefty shot to give the Tigers the momentum and basically put the game away.
This was a marquee win for the Tigers and secured a winning season for the team – the first since Philadelphia Eagles’s center Jason Kelce’s senior year in 2006. If you listened closely, you could hear the spirits of former Heights coaches Jimmy Yoo, Ben Beckman, and Julian Gatta cheering the Tigers on to victory. The seniors – Shamar Steele, Andrew Pollard, Jalen Starr and Jacob Budnar – were sent out on a high note in their final home game. A festive atmosphere ensued after the game with student-athletes mingling with parents, friends, coaches, AD Joe D’Amato, and referee Brian “Holtzy” Holtzheimer – while chowing down on gluten free Heights themed cupcakes.
The Lax Tigers continue their season on Friday at Lake Uniontown and with a playoff tilt with the Green Bulldogs in one week’s time.