Rangers Rally Past ESD for THSLL Crown

By Colby Gordon / Contributor

DRIPPING SPRINGS — Jesuit faceoff specialist Will Reading and goalie Connor Knight won’t have any of the statistical glory. However, Rangers head coach Chris Surran, knows the value of their contributions in the Texas High School Lacrosse League Class AA state title game.

“We don’t win this game without those two,” Surran said.

After trailing for nearly the entire game, Jesuit earned its second straight championship with an 11-10 win over Episcopal School of Dallas on Sunday.

The Rangers completed a wild comeback in the final five minutes of the game. scoring four times in that stretch to overcome a 10-7 deficit. McCallister Hobbs netted the game-winning goal after a brilliant run with 58 seconds left.

And though Reading may not be the highlight of a box score — though he did have one goal — his dominant showing in faceoffs and Knight’s shot-stopping display in the second half were as crucial to the Rangers win as anything.

“Connor was amazing in goal and we got some amazing faceoff work from Will,” Surran said. “There was some timely offense and the kids never quit. We didn’t have our best, but we kept working, hustling, and grinding, and came out with the win.”

ESD senior Mac Rodvold scored two of his game-high four goals and Fletcher Calvert, Blair Brennan, and Sean Browne all found the net as the Eagles took a 5-2 lead after the first quarter.

Goals from Jack Whitham and Rodvold pushed ESD’s lead to 7-3 midway through the second quarter, but the Rangers regained a bit of momentum when Charlie Metz scored right before halftime.

Max Fernandes and Charles Moran produced goals in the third quarter to bring Jesuit within 7-6 and set the scene for a wild final 12 minutes.

Whitham and Rodvold scored within 30 seconds of each other to stretch ESD’s advantage to 9-6 and start a stretch of six goals in a span of less than 3 minutes, 30 seconds.

Nate Duncan answered for Jesuit before Cooper Raney scored the Eagles’ final goal and gave them their 10-7 lead.

Reading started the Rangers’ comeback with a score that he took from faceoff to goal less than 15 seconds after Duncan’s score. Beckett Foley then fired in two goals in a short stretch to tie the game at 10-10 with 2:10 to play.

A short time later, Hobbs worked his magic to secure Jesuit’s repeat.

“We got some divine intervention today, to be quite frank,” Surran said. “We got a big push from above. … We did just enough to win the game.”

Charlie Schmidt and Foley also found the net for Jesuit in the first half, with Schmidt scoring twice.

Top-seeded Jesuit advanced to the title game with a 12-6 win over St. Mark’s in the semifinals on Saturday, while ESD slipped past Austin Westlake 13-12 in overtime.

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