Sunday afternoon, at Rhodes Stadium in Katy, Rockwall defeated the Greenhill Hornets 16-7 to capture their first, Division 2, Texas High School Lacrosse League State Title in program history.
In this clash of Division 2 titans, Rockwall was paced offensively by senior captain and Bellarmine commit, Brody Lowry, with an explosive 5 goals and 1 assist. Hunter Roberts was outstanding in the championship game, as well, adding 4 goals and 2 assists. Carson Newman (2A), Luke Fisher (3A), and John Burton all registered two goals to their credit and Preston McMahon added one of his own. Also worth noting was Dylan Brunk's role as a facilitator with 3 assists of his own.
After Saturday's semi-final games, Rockwall and Greenhill were the only two teams left standing with the opportunity to clinch a title. Both programs were able to cruise to victory in their semi-final match-ups winning by a combined score of 28-10. For each team, it was their program's first state title appearance.
Greenhill's sophomore attackman, Caleb Holdridge, was outstanding in the title bout registering a hat trick and an assist to his impressive tally for the weekend. The freshman, William Coben, followed up his strong performance on Saturday (4G,1A) with 2 goals, while Mason Marano and Max LaMendola each added a goal apiece.
Rockwall came out swinging early in the first quarter and jumped out to a 4-1 lead on the Hornets. Greenhill was able to respond and score twice with less than two minutes left in the frame to tighten the game up to 4-3 headed into the second quarter.
It was only a matter of time before the Rockwall offensive unit would start to get it going. They did so in the 2nd frame and exploded to go on a 5-1 run and enjoyed a 9-4 lead headed into the locker room at halftime. Rockwall came out firing once again in the third quarter and went on another 5-1 run to go up 14-5 headed into the final frame. Greenhill responded and each team registered 2 goals in the fourth, but the sustained barrage from Rockwall in the 2nd and 3rd quarters proved too much for Greenhill to overcome.
Heading into Championship Sunday, we were excited to watch these two quality programs compete for the title. Greenhill was sitting at 15-3 on the season, while Rockwall was 17-2 with a 1 goal loss to Plano (which they avenged in the semis) and an impressive showing against Division 1 finalist, ESD.
We knew coming in that Rockwall's senior class was tremendous and had support players to add the depth that they needed to win a title. For Greenhill, with only 1 senior on roster, it would be all about how their young team would stack up against the experience of the veteran Rockwall group. The young Hornets were able to play with Rockwall for the first quarter before the athletic advantage became too much to handle. Rockwall used their veteran status to apply tons of pressure all over the field. It paid dividends in the form of turnovers, transition opportunities, and, ultimately, tons of goals.
Hug it out, we're champs!
For Coach Kevin Barnicle and the Greenhill Hornets, it was a truly impressive season! To have only 1 senior on roster and make it to the state title game is an unreal accomplishment, and they must feel great about their future moving into 2018. They will boast a class of 9 seniors led by their workhorse, Mason Marano. The young talent on the roster is plentiful and have gained tremendous experience that will pay off big in the coming season(s).
For Coach Michael Fay and the Rockwall players, this victory must be exciting and a huge relief. As previously mentioned, Rockwall felt as though they had unfinished business from 2016 after dropping a tough overtime game to McKinney in the state semi-finals in Allen. The Rockwall upperclassmen were determined to not let that happen again in 2017 and seized the opportunity to compete at every turn. And while Rockwall graduates some serious high end talent, they, too, are poised to be dangerous once again in 2018. Rockwall gets athletes to the field, and Coach Fay has done a tremendous job of developing depth in his younger classes as underclassmen logged serious minutes this season and produced at high levels across the board. The younger players have tremendous examples to follow in terms of leadership and precedent established by the 2017 class. It will, without a doubt, be fun to watch them compete moving forward!
From the start, we knew a newly crowned D2 Champ would emerge from the weekend as neither of the programs playing on Sunday had ever won a title before. It was truly a fitting conclusion to a tremendous season at the Division 2 level. Now, the discussion will commence as to which programs might have to make the jump to D1. At this point, though, we will congratulate everyone at the D2 on a truly tremendous season! Next up - the D1 Recap!
Congrats to both teams on an amazing season!
Marano will be back
"I'm going to Disney World!!"