Asked what prompted him to give Will Coletti a more prominent role in Linganore’s offense this season, Lancers boys lacrosse coach Rich Thompson posed another question.
“Have you watched him play?” Thompson asked Monday at Linganore.
In other words, take one look at Coletti operating as a middie for Linganore, and his play on the field should speak for itself, as it did in Linganore’s 20-4 victory over Tuscarora in Monday’s Class 3A West Section II final.
Since his freshman season, Linganore’s Will Coletti has been regarded as one of best faceoff specialists in the county. In Monday’s victory, he showed just how effective he has been while staying on the field, registering a goal and three assists. Thompson noted that the Titans started paying close attention to Coletti whenever he had the ball on his stick, choosing to faceguard the junior.
“He doesn’t like to be called a FOGO,” Thompson said. “He doesn’t like that at all.”
Coletti won 82.3 percent of his faceoffs (14 of 17) on Monday, and the Lancers (14-2) will need that kind of dominance at the faceoff X when they travel to face Westminster in Wednesday’s 3A West region final. But Coletti’s ability to dodge and then try to find open shooters such as Noah Grenis, Zach Michael, Cooper Fabry and Billy Higgins helps take some pressure off Lancers leading scorer Roman LaRocco, who takes on a similar role.
Grenis and Cole Blanche each scored four goals against Tuscarora (7-7), and Michael had two. LaRocco had three goals and an assist.
“I love offense,” Coletti said. “It’s awesome — scoring goals, getting assists, playing out in the field. It’s great.”
Thompson said Coletti could very well have contributed as a field player his first two seasons at Linganore, but the Lancers had so much depth offensively that Coletti simply had to wait his turn.
“And now he’s one of the guys,” Thompson said.
On the other side of the field, Jon Wheat and Michael Mauro made their presence felt, causing turnovers and making it difficult for the Titans to get into the flow of their offense. Wheat even scored two goals, and on one of them, he almost ran the entire length of the field before finishing.
Ayden Bawcombe wasn’t tested often but came up with a few terrific stops when he was, finishing with six saves.
The Lancers’ next game is a rematch of last year’s 3A West region final — a 10-9 Owls win. Linganore rallied from a four-goal deficit, tying the game with less than 40 seconds left in regulation before Westminster scored the game-winning goal in overtime.
On Monday, Wheat, Bawcombe and the team’s other seniors gathered for a group photo, commemorating the last time they played together on Linganore’s home field. Coletti said the team set a goal of reaching the region final during the first week of the season, fully expecting to play Westminster. He’d like for the Lancers to achieve that goal for the senior class.
“They’ve created a great culture,” Coletti said. “Not everybody really thought we were going to be as good as we were last year. They brought us up, and the culture has been great.”
Bawcombe’s counterpart, Liam Collins, also played well in goal, making 14 saves. Tuscarora coach Curtiss Belcher said Collins has made more than 60 saves during his team’s playoff run.
“If you listen to him talk in the cage, he’s one of the smartest lacrosse players I’ve ever coached,” Belcher said.
For Belcher, the Titans’ success extends beyond wins and losses. For the first time, Belcher said, the Titans made an effort to connect with the youth lacrosse program at Carroll Manor Recreation Council. After either practices or games on Wednesdays and Saturdays, Tuscarora players and coaches spent some time mentoring Carroll Manor’s youth.
“There had never been any synergy with them,” Belcher said. “These young men literally spent hundreds of hours with our youth program.
“So, that went into changing the culture, not just within the school but outside of the school. So that made a humongous difference between the white lines because they were playing for each other now instead of just as individuals.”