Ayden Bawcombe experienced the emotional highs just over a year to the day when Oakdale’s boys lacrosse team defeated Linganore for the first time in program history.
Bawcombe, who backed up Bears goalie Shawn Gibbons, transferred into the Lancers program last fall as the senior sought an opportunity for playing time, one that would have been hard to come by if he stayed at Oakdale.
Friday night, Bawcombe stepped into goal to face his former team for the first time, with his new team seeking to avenge a rare defeat inside Frederick County.
Backed behind a stalwart defensive line in front of him, Bawcombe stopped 13 shots for the Lancers, who scored the first five goals in a 13-6 win over the Bears.
“I’m sure it means a little bit for Ayden,” Lancers coach Rich Thompson said. “He was with some of those guys for a good bit, and now he’s with us. He played a heckuva game.”
“I think this was a statement game for us after Oakdale beat Linganore last year. We came out here and really put it to them right from the start, and it says a lot about us and our resiliency to play together,” Bawcombe said.
Having played youth sports with a number of his current teammates, there was very little adjusting Bawcombe had to make with the move over to Linganore, especially with the starting goalie position open.
“It was nice to go in there with a little motivation. I didn’t play at all really, rode the bench so it was nice to show myself,” Bawcombe said.
Bawcombe was rarely tested in the first half as the Lancers controlled possession for the majority of the half. When the Bears were able to take their offense into Linganore territory, Lancer defenders Jon Wheat, Mike Mauro and Matt Beekey created havoc in the scoring lanes.
“They make my job easy every night. They’re out there stopping guys from taking shots, blocking shots on their own,” Bawcombe said.
Frustration for the Bears reached its peak with 2 minutes, 38 seconds left in the third quarter, when Linganore’s Cooper Fabry scooped up a ground ball, turned and fired a shot past Gibbons to increase Linganore’s lead to 12-2.
With emotions heightened from both teams, Gibbons appeared to shove Fabry into the goal before Fabry made his way back to the Lancer sideline to celebrate. Penalties were called on both teams, and both coaches briefly met with the referees at midfield.
Oakdale’s offense sprung to life in the final quarter with goals from Spencer Hill, Justin Hartz, Garrett Witt and Joe Wilson to cut the Lancer lead to 12-6 with 6:03 to play.
“I like to look at the game as a whole and not just a segment, but as a whole, there’s things we need to improve on,” Thompson said.
Linganore jumped out to a 3-0 lead with 5:38 left in the first quarter as Roman LaRocco set up the first of a pair of goals from Billy Higgins before adding one of his own.
Will Coletti extended the lead to 5-0 with a pair of highlight reel goals nine seconds apart, corralling a midfield bounce pass from Mauro, turning and firing a shot past Gibbons, then securing the ensuing faceoff and streaking down the middle of the field and launching home another shot.
LaRocco — who Bawcombe referred to as the “point guard of the offense” — and Fabry would add a pair of goals each in the second quarter as Linganore held a commanding 9-2 halftime lead.
“I learned a lot playing with Jordan (Swoyer) and Jack (Watsic) last year, so I’m trying to help some of the new guys come along this year. A lot of guys are stepping up, finding their roles and making plays,” LaRocco said.
LaRocco had four goals and two assists to lead the Lancers offensive attack, while Fabry added four goals and an assist. Coletti finished with three goals, and Cole Blanche had three assists.
Witt led the Bears with a pair of goals. Gibbons finished with 14 saves.
Linganore held on to win a close JV game, 11-10.