By Chris Goldberg
TopLaxRecruits.com, Posted 6/30/19
FREDERICA, Del. – Even after falling behind, 5-2, to Duke’s Elite to open the second half of the 2021 AA championship game today at the Liberty National Elite Classic, Patriot (NJ) showed no signs of panic.
“The keys to our success were just keeping determination and motivation even through the hardships,” said Patriot goalie Declan Maseker. “We just kept going.”
That attitude helped Patriot rally for five unanswered goals to close the game and claim a 7-5 win over Duke’s for the title at the Delaware Turf Sports Complex.
Maseker (Delbarton) played every second of all seven games, including four today in the 90-degree heat. His coaching staff gave him the game ball for not just surviving, but being consistent enough to allow only 27 goals (7-0 overall), fewer than 4 goals per game.
“My partner couldn’t make it this weekend,” Maseker said. “It was tiring, but I loved it and glad I got the chance to play all the games.”
Duke’s seized the 5-2 lead on a goal by Liam LaBarge (Penn Charter) early in the second half. But Andrew Ross (Delbarton) made it 5-3 and then he fed Wes Peene (Ridgewood) for another tally on a two-man EMO. Matthew Wendorff (Delbarton) tied it and Thomas Walker (Blair Academy) put Patriot up, 6-5.
Patriot then killed a 2-man disadvantage before Henry Pinilis (Randolph) took a long feed from defenseman Mason Russo (Seton Hall Prep) and converted late in the game to clinch it.
“It feels great; we played with a lot of heart,” said Russo. “The whole team came together and battled back. It was a great effort all around, from offense to the defense, especially the goalie.
“We were going 100 percent through every game. We didn’t stop no matter what the score was.”
Russo said the team’s defense was solid all weekend.
“We had a lot of communication; we didn’t stop talking and that helped the defense,” he said.
Added Maseker: “We had a little bit of scouting before the game and we knew who to slide to and really got our slide packages early.”
Anthony Tropia (Don Bosco Prep) and Harrison Rocheville (Seton Hall Prep) also scored for Patriot in the first half. Luke Cole (Lenape-NJ), Jayden Santangelo (Upper Dublin), Jackson Shields (Bishop McDevitt) and Nick Cataline (Moorestown-NJ) also scored for the Dukes.