Two nights after ending Thomas S. Wootton High School’s six-year run as 4A/3A West region boys’ lacrosse champions, Winston Churchill captured a regional title of its own.
After the final buzzer of a 12-6 victory against Sherwood sounded, players from Churchill’s bench and fans from the stands rushed onto the field and dogpiled each other at the far corner of the field. Coach Jeff Fritz clutched the regional championship plaque to his chest as he spoke to his team following the landmark win.
“I’m so proud. I’m so happy for the kids. They’ve busted their butts for nine months. The guys have done everything they can in the offseason to improve,” Fritz said.
Churchill won the second regional title in school history Wednesday, the other coming in 2002. The Bulldogs face Westminster on Saturday at Franklin High School in the state semifinals. The time is to be announced.
In the regional final at Shepherd Stadium, sophomore midfielder Matt Moshyedi scored five goals and junior attack Matt Leonard added four. Freshman attack Louis Dubick assisted four goals and senior midfielder Cameron Moshyedi scored two goals and assisted three. It was yet another night when Churchill’s high-powered offensive quartet (which features one player at every grade level) flexed its muscles.
“It feels real good, but that was only one of our goals this season,” Matt Moshyedi said of the win. “We can celebrate [Wednesday] and have a good time, but then we’ve got to get back to work.”
Moshyedi scored two goals in the first quarter and three in the second half, the prettiest of which put the Bulldogs (14-2) ahead, 10-5. It came with Sherwood (13-3) on the man-advantage and the ball deep in Churchill’s attacking zone. In the near corner, Moshyedi slipped by a doubleteam, ran toward the front of the goal, jumped and fired the ball by Connor Welch (eight saves) for the tally. Moshyedi then tumbled in front of the crease, but quickly was picked up by his jubilant teammates.
“Churchill’s a very good team,” Sherwood coach Chip Steel said. “They moved the ball well on us. They possessed the ball more than we did and their faceoff guy [Spencer Ralph] was very good. When you win a very low percentage of faceoffs and don’t possess the ball, you can’t expect to win too many games.”
The Warriors played a zone defense for a majority of the game, which Leonard said was one of the top zones Churchill has faced this year.
“It definitely slowed us down. If they were in man, I feel like we could have taken advantage a bit more. We definitely couldn’t move the ball as fast, so we just had to find the gaps,” Leonard said.
Sherwood scored first on a goal by Griffin Paquin and the Warriors entered halftime down, 5-4. But in the second half, Churchill’s offense possessed the ball well and the defense limited the Warriors to three shots on goal in the final 24 minutes. Two goals in a 30-second span early in the fourth quarter by Matt Moshyedi and Leonard extended the lead to 9-5.
Peter Hurd made seven saves for the Bulldogs in the winning effort and later was relieved by Matt Gloger.
Churchill’s second-team offense entered the game with 1:46 remaining in the fourth quarter as the starters exited to a standing ovation from the rowdy home crowd.
“We’re doing everything in our power to go to the next level and here we are,” Fritz said.
Winston Churchill 12, Sherwood 6
Sherwood 1 3 0 2 -- 6
Churchill 4 1 2 5 -- 12
Sherwood (13-3): Griffin Paquin (10:08, 1st), Matt Cromwell assisted by Michael Crooks (8:12, 2nd), Crooks assisted by Paquin (3:52, 2nd), Michael Traynor assisted by Crooks (0:14, 2nd), Blake Bonita (8:11, 4th), Ray Wright (3:06, 4th)
Churchill (14-2): Matt Leonard assisted by Louis Dubick (9:05, 1st), Matt Moshyedi assisted by Dubick (6:39, 1st), Matt Moshyedi assisted by Dubick (2:57, 1st), Cameron Moshyedi assisted by Ricky Morse (2:32, 1st), Leonard assisted by Cameron Moshyedi (6:23, 2nd), Matt Moshyedi assisted by Cameron Moshyedi (11:02, 3rd), Cameron Moshyedi (7:21, 3rd), Matt Moshyedi assisted by Dubick (9:28, 4th), Leonard (8:52, 4th), Matt Moshyedi (6:14, 4th), Leonard assisted by Spencer Ralph (5:18, 4th), Marshall Rhodes assisted by Cameron Moshyedi (3:43, 4th).