Not unlike a pair of heavyweight boxers slugging it out over 12 rounds, the Chartiers Valley-Greensburg Central Catholic high school boys lacrosse game was a game of epic proportions held Wednesday night at Chartiers Valley High Stadium.
Rallying from a three-goal deficit, Chartiers Valley earned a historic victory over Greensbug Central when junior midfielder Ben Wasson blistered a shot past Centurions goaltender Zach Ringling from about 15 yards out with 3:28 left in the third overtime to give the Colts a 9-8 triple-overtime victory on a night where temperatures dipped into the 30s and snow flurries flitted about in the game's latter stages.
One Centurion had just returned from serving a penalty, and the second one was in the process of returning to the field when Wasson took a sharp pass from freshman midfielder Michael Weiss and fired the game-winning goal. It was Wasson's fourth goal of the game. Noah Zajicek had two goals, while Craig Gillen, Cole Wasson and Patrick Shaak each had single talllies.
Wasson had never experienced a triple-overtime game before.
"Never in my life," he said. "That's the longest game I've ever played in and the most energy I've ever put into a game. I've been in two playoff games at Chartiers Valley, and this was a like a championship game. The intensity by both teams was outstanding."
Wasson said game-winning play unfolded nicely.
"(Weiss) had a good look, and got the ball to me on the wing," Wasson said. "I had a wide-open shot, and I was going to take it. But we couldn't have won this game without our defense. We played as a team."
Barett Naugle paced the Centurions with three goals. Brady Wargofchik and Tucker Bocan had two goals each. Wargofchik's second goal gave the Centurions a 4-1 lead with 8:14 left in the second quarter.
The Colts' victory came on the heels of an 11-0 thrashing from Upper St. Clair last Saturday. It was the season opener for the Centurions, who have been the WPIAL Division 2 runners-up three of the past four years.
It also was the first time Colts have beaten the Centurions since the two teams began playing each other in 2005. Prior to Wednesday night, the Colts had lost eight consecutive games, just one of them by a one-goal margin.
Colts' goalie Sam Geffrey and his teammates were aware of the drought they had against the Centurions, and the magnitude of Wednesday's win.
"It was tremendous, and we'll savor it for one day and then get ready for Gateway," he said.
"We're very proud of our guys," said Greensburg Central coach Mike Evans. "We have just 18 guys, but we have a great rivalry with Chartiers Valley. It's the first time they've beaten us, but they earned it. It was a triple-overtime game, and it doesn't get better than that."
Chartiers Valley coach Matt Gigliotti agreed with Evans.
"I thought both teams had a heck of a game," he said. "I couldn't be more proud of both teams. Luckily, we got the last goal and the victory."
He also was pleased with the way Wasson and Weiss connected on the game-winning goal.
"I can't say enough about those guys," he said. "We don't have a very deep roster, so the guys we do have get a whole lot of playing time. They found something deep within them and finished the game for us."
While Wasson's game-winner would justifably garner the most attention, the game's most spectacular play occurred with 10.7 seconds left in the third quarter when Geffrey, a sophomore and two-year starter, unleashed a 50-yard pass to a wide-open Shaak for a "Gilman" breakaway and ensuing goal for an 8-7 Colts' lead.
"It was the end of the period, and that's when I'm supposed to launch the ball down the field," Geffrey said. "We just got lucky. It was right on target, and Pat just shot it right in there."
Geffrey's assist on Shaak's goal amazed Wasson.
"That was unbelievable; I've never seen anything like that," he said. "Sam's really been improving, and he's been getting better."
The Centurions' Tucker Bocan scored his second goal of the game with 1:46 left in regulation to tie the game. That set the stage for a historic finish that had both teams exhausted and the chilled fans glad they stuck it out to the end.