Just 12 minutes into Friday's WPIAL Boys Class 3A championship lacrosse game at Robert Morris, prospects were bleak for the Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils.
Peters Township's significant first-quarter offensive flurry left the Blue Devils trailing their big rival, 5-1.
Mt. Lebanon coach Mike Ermer's message was to the point.
"It was about picking up ground balls," said Ermer minutes after his team made a valiant comeback only to fall short to the Indians, 12-11, in double-overtime on a spinning shot by the Indians' Danny Bacchiochi at the 2:41 mark.
The Blue Devils travel to Harrisburg for a 7 p.m. game Tuesday with District 3 champion West Lawn Wilson at Central Dauphin High School's Landis Field.
Early in the game with Peters Township, the Blue Devils were having a tough time gaining possession.
"[Indians faceoff specialist] Nick Phelps was just crushing it in the first quarter, so we had to throw in some monkey wrenches there," Ermer said. "We needed to kick the guys in the rear end and get them refocused. We put ourselves behind the eight ball to begin the game, and we had to scrap and claw to get us close as we did. We had a chance, and it just didn't go our way."
The Blue Devils roared back in the second quarter to cut the Peters Township lead to 6-5 at halftime.
In the second half, the teams were tied three times, and Mt. Lebanon took its second lead of the game at 11-10 with 6:44 left in the fourth quarter when John Sramac took a great feed from Patrick Moeller for his fourth goal of the game. For Moeller, it was his fourth assist.
And, it stayed that way until the Indians' Will Delaney scored his first goal of the game with 54 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Ermer said he has the same respect for Peters Township as he does for North Allegheny, a team the Blue Devils also played twice this season.
"It's like losing to North Allegheny," he said of the setback to the Indians. Mike is a great guy and a great coach, and I'm happy for them. I think it's good for lacrosse in the WPIAL. It's also a nice motivating factor for our guys. We have a lot of young guys, and hopefully they'll remember what it takes [to win]. We talked in our huddles after the game that it wasn't necessarily the overtime goal that lost the game for us. There were a series of mistakes throughout the game that these guys need to recognize and put together a more complete effort."