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Kettle Run’s Tyler Jones helps beat his former boys lacrosse team

Thursday, Apr. 3 | By Jeff Malmgren
Tate Donaldson's four goals and two assists Thursday helped Kettle Run beat Liberty, 11-6. --Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
If you can beat them, join them.

That's the twist Tyler Jones put on a traditional mantra.

Last boys lacrosse season, Jones helped the Liberty Eagles beat the Kettle Run Cougars for the first time in program history. Then he transferred to Kettle Run and helped prevent the Eagles from repeating the historic feat Thursday.

Not only did the Cougars defeat Liberty, 11-6, on the road in Bealeton, Jones scored the decisive goal in the fourth quarter.

"I came over here for a reason," Jones said of Kettle Run. "I came over here to win, and I wasn't losing this game tonight. … It's a great feeling."

Locked in a 6-6 tie with 10 minutes, 20 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Jones caught a pass on the perimeter, dodged inside his defender and then spun back to the outside. That created an open shot that Jones converted.

"We were tied way too long and somebody had to make a move," the senior said. "I had a match-up and I took it.

"Hearing that Liberty sideline go silent made us realize, 'We have this game,'" said sophomore Tate Donaldson, who led Kettle Run with four goals and added two assists.

Jones finished with three goals.

"I'm glad. He's been a little erratic" in previous games, Cougars coach Scott Begley said of the transfer student. "He finally lived up to his potential."

Liberty coach Scott Girolmo saw that same potential in Jones last season when they shared the Eagles' sideline.

"You try and not really focus on the fact that one of our starting players [last season] is playing for them," Girolmo said. "You can't do anything about that … but it doesn't feel good.

"He played with a great intensity tonight," Girolmo said. "I'm glad to see he's doing well over there."

By beating the Eagles, Kettle Run improved its record to 4-0 this season after going 7-7 in 2013. Liberty, meanwhile, dropped to 0-3 after going 4-10 last season.

During mid-April last season, the Eagles beat Kettle Run, 13-11, to break a six-game losing streak.

"It was definitely a tough loss," Donaldson said. "This year, we were like, 'We have to step it up, boys. We have to win this game.'"

Liberty didn't make that easy, though.

As it has all season, victory teased the Eagles on Thursday. They never led, but they began the fourth quarter in a 6-6 tie after holding Kettle Run scoreless for a 16-minute stretch.

"We're in the hunt and the kids are playing their guts out, and in the fourth quarter you just come up a little bit short," Girolmo said of the Cougars' three games this season. "But I don't fault our effort one single bit."

The Eagles mustered only four shots in the four quarter and turned the ball over seven times. Plus, Kettle Run won five of six face-offs in the period and took 15 shots after Liberty had out-shot the Cougars, 26-24, over the first three quarters.

Following the Jones goal that gave Kettle Run a 7-6 lead early in the fourth period, Mario Chambers scored a goal less than 90 seconds later.

Liberty then turned the ball over on its next three possession, leading to another Kettle Run goal. Jones later finished the scoring with a goal in transition off a pass from Morgan Ledden, who also transferred from Liberty to Kettle Run following last season.

"We knew we were better than them," Jones said of the Eagles. "We knew we didn't have to play to their level" in the fourth quarter.

"We realized we were about to lose, so we had to step it up," Donaldson said.

The Cougars, in fact, held Liberty scoreless during the entire 24-minute second half. The Eagles reciprocated in the third period by holding Kettle Run scoreless, but they couldn't extend that defensive effort into the fourth.

"They played at a higher intensity in the fourth quarter and it looked like we started to back-peddle a little bit," Girolmo said. "That could very well be a result of our extreme inexperience."

Liberty fell behind, 4-1, near the end of the first quarter, but then capitalized on some Kettle Run penalties to tie the game by halftime. The Cougars committed five penalties in the first half that cost them six minutes. The most devastating was a three-minute unreleasable penalty for an illegal pinch on the stick.

The Eagles scored twice during that penalty time, but Kettle Run countered with one goal in that span when a Liberty penalty left both teams playing a man down.

"Penalties definitely killed us," Donaldson said. But "huge props to our defense."

Kettle Run goalie James Stumpo had four of his six saves during the second period to keep the Eagles from taking a lead.

"They're all big stops," Begley said.

Parker Smith led Liberty with three goals and added an assist, but Kettle Run shut him down after halftime.

"We kind of just talked about how to cover him," Begley said. "We looked again at his tendencies and kind of told our guys not to give him the opportunity to get high and dodge on us."

Liberty's Tommy Smith added two goals, while Austin Wolfe had two assists and a goal.

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