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Fauquier lacrosse blows big lead then rallies to beat Kettle Run on late goal

Monday, May. 12 | By Jeff Malmgren
Fauquier's Dom Scott had three goals and an assist during an 11-10 win over Kettle Run on Monday. --Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
Austin Bane has a new goal to lead his highlight reel.

The Fauquier junior scored only once Monday, but his goal with 36.5 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter gave the Falcons an 11-10 win over the Kettle Run boys lacrosse team at home in Warrenton. And he made the shot with some flair.

"Amazing goal. It was like something from the college game," Fauquier senior Robert Morrison said.

Bane ran right-to-left across the middle of the field and centered himself in front of the goal about 10 yards out. With a defender on his hip, Bane leaped off the grass and took a left-handed shot that sneaked past Kettle Run's goalie.

"I was so excited I couldn't scream," the right-handed Bane said afterward. "It's probably the best feeling I've ever had in this sport. It's definitely my favorite goal."

With the game tied, 10-10, the Falcons took possession with about 70 seconds remaining and appeared content to hold the ball for one final shot. Bane, however, found himself pitted against a defender who didn't have a long pole. So he attacked immediately after receiving a pass from Andrew Bierman.

"I recognized the short-stick matchup. That's just a good sign," he said. "Somehow it went in."

Morrison had a similar reaction less than a minute earlier. With 1 minute, 29 seconds remaining in the fourth, he scored a goal after Kettle Run goalie James Stumpo made a save and tried to clear the ball with a pass to midfield.

One of Stumpo's teammates couldn't handle the pass and the ball bounced up in the air. With players unaware of the ball's location, Morrison reacted quickest. He scooped up the ground ball near midfield and ran straight at the goal, scoring before Kettle Run's defense could converge on him.

"I didn't even see it" at first, he said of the loose ball. "It was kind of like a lucky goal."

Fauquier then won the ensuing faceoff, which set up Bane's game-winner.

Kettle Run, however, won the next faceoff to gain possession with 30 seconds remaining and a chance to tie. The Cougars attacked with about 10 seconds remaining, but Fauquier senior defenseman Kenny Palmer caused a turnover with a stick check and the Falcons recovered the ground ball to end the game.

"The last minute's a blur to me," Cougars coach Scott Begley said. "These are the big games."

Kettle Run entered Monday second in the Battlefield Group standings (equivalent to Conference 22/27) and in contention for the regular season championship. Fauquier eliminated that hope, though.

"It's better than beating anyone in any sport," Robert Morrison said of defeating the Cougars. "That's one of the best feelings I think I've had, especially coming up with the comeback."

With the win, third-place Fauquier improved its Battlefield record to 4-4 (5-4 overall), while the Cougars fell to 6-2 (8-3).

"I told them down there, 'No one's allowed to be upset about this game,'" Begley said of his players. "We left it all on the field. … They played a complete game."

The Falcons won, though, to sweep Kettle Run during the regular season for the first time in history. Plus, Fauquier has handed the Cougars' two-thirds of their losses in 2014.

"The boys know how important a win like this is," Falcons coach Eric Morrison said. "This is one of our biggest games of the year."

Fauquier seemed destined to lose it after the Cougars scored six consecutive goals midway through the second half. In a span of 14 minutes between the third and fourth quarters, the Falcons went from leading, 8-4, to trailing, 10-8.

Kettle Run's Morgan Ledden had two of his four goals during that stretch and both of his assists, while Tate Donaldson added three of his four goals.

"We do this every game," Bane said of blowing the lead. "I guess we just start slipping; get cocky.

"Everybody gets worried," he said, "but I know we have a good lacrosse team and I knew we could do it. I wasn't too nervous."

Kettle Run did most of its damage by scoring in transition. Donaldson, for example, tied the game, 8-8, after the Falcons committed a turnover. On the play, a pair of Cougars attackmen got behind Fauquier's defense and Donaldson converted a point-blank shot.

Fauquier turned the ball over again on its next three possessions, allowing Donaldson and Ledden to each score in transition and take a 10-8 lead with only 5:22 remaining in the fourth quarter.

"I think we need to just throw the playbook out and run-and-gun," Begley said. "That's really dangerous, but it seems to be how we do well."

Joining Donaldson and Ledden with multiple goals, Tyler Jones had two scores and two assists. For Fauquier, Dom Scott had three goals and an assist, while Andrew Bierman and Alex Ramey each had two goals and an assist. Morrison added two goals and two assists, while Briar Thomas had two assists and helped the Falcons win 9 of 13 faceoffs in the second half.

Fatigue, however, seemed to hamper the Falcons in the second half after they took a 3-0 lead by the end of the first quarter and a 6-3 halftime advantage.

"Nobody wants to leave the field for a breath, so everybody smokes themselves in the first half," Eric Morrison said. "They think they're helping their team more by doing that, but you just kind of hit the wall at some point."

Perhaps most telling, Fauquier played with a man-up advantage for nearly four of the final six minutes in the third period (a two-man advantage for 60 seconds) but failed to score. In fact, the Falcons went scoreless for 17 minutes during a stretch of the second half before Ramey scored to narrow their deficit to 10-9 with 3:46 remaining in the fourth quarter. Robert Morrison and Bane soon followed with goals to complete the late rally.

"I think what really inspired them was Kenny Palmer on defense," Eric Morrison said. "He really left it all out on the field. All our defenders really did. … It was our defense lifting up our offense, putting some wind in their sails."

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