By Owen Gotimer
Viva Loudoun College Editor
Leesburg (June 4, 2014) – Loudoun County High School lacrosse brothers Kevin and Sean Rogers scored three goals each to help the Raiders take down the Stone Bridge Bulldogs, 9-8, in the North zone semifinals on June 3 in Leesburg. With the win, the Raiders advance to play in the North zone finals on June 5 and secure a spot in the state tournament.
“Sean has been there since the day I arrived. He came in with a reputation and has started at varsity every season of his high school career,” Loudoun County head coach Dave Colangelo said. “Kevin was a varsity guy last year, but I don’t think physically and with the speed of the game, that he was at a level where he needed to be to really be an impact player.
“This year for Kevin has been a breakout year. He has really transformed. He came back bigger, stronger and with a lot of conference. That’s why he’s an all-conference guy.”
After Stone Bridge junior defender Matt Nabors scored less than two minutes into the game, Kevin – the younger of the Rogers’ duo – answered with a goal of his own just 26 seconds later. Later in the first quarter, Sean – who noted that playing with Kevin is an incredible experience – scored his first goal of the night as the Raiders rolled into the first intermission leading the Bulldogs, 4-1.
“We’ve been talking about [playing together in high school] since the last time we played together when we were playing 9U. It’s great, especially when we can connect with each other on an assist and a goal,” Sean said. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I’m going to miss him next year. I hope we can keep it going for the rest of the season, and that I can have the best senior year with my brother that I can get.”
So far, Sean has enjoyed a senior year that includes just a single loss, and the Raiders will be heading to the state tournament this season after playing well down the stretch in a close game against the Bulldogs.
“Any time you get to this level of the playoffs, all the teams can play. At some point, you know the other team is going to make a run,” Colangelo said. “It happened to us earlier in the season, and we ended up dropping a game there that we were ahead by a significant amount in the fourth quarter. That has been in the forefront of our minds since that time, and we made a decision that if that ever happened to us again, and it would, that we wouldn’t cave.”
And cave, the Raiders did not.
Late in the third quarter into early in the fourth, Stone Bridge went on a scoring rampage as senior midfielder Shane Lighton scored two goals during a 6-2 run for the Bulldogs.
“They were winning face offs. That ended up being the difference,” Colangelo said. “They would have a make-it-take-it situation where they would score, they would get the ball back and run and break it down and score again.”
With just under five minutes left in regulation, Kevin put his final goal in the net cushioning the Raiders’ lead which had shrunk to 9-7.
“I think we played as a team. We kept our minds in the game, and we executed,” Kevin said.
Even with the extra goal late, the Bulldogs put up a fight until the very end.
Stone Bridge sophomore midfielder Thomas Radford made the game interesting with three minutes left when he connect on his second goal of the night as the Bulldogs trailed by only one goal.
“We’ve been motivated all year long. Our coach has been preaching to us the past couple of weeks to play with composure,” Sean said. “I think we lost a little bit of that in the third, but coming back in the fourth, I think we banded together well and finished strong.”
With one minute left, Loudoun County senior defender and North zone Player of the Year Michael Rexrode took the situation into his own hands causing the final turnover of the game as the Raiders controlled the ball and ran out the clock to secure the win.
“Basically it comes down to, someone on your team needs to make a play to stem the tide,” Colangelo said. “You have to have someone on your team step up and get the momentum going the other direction. Tonight we were able to do that.”
A short turnaround awaits the Raiders, who just two days after their semifinal victory over the Bulldogs will play the Loudoun Valley Vikings in the North zone final on June 5 at Tuscarora High School at 7 p.m.
“Coach game plans really well. We’re excited,” Sean said. “We have to enjoy the win and come out the next time with our heads on straight and get ready.”
Rogers, S. 3 goals
Rogers, K. 3 goals
Hildner 1 goal
Curtis 1 goal
Dewey 1 goal
Nabors 2 goals
Radford 2 goals
Groton 1 goal
Jachimowski 1 goal
Lighton 2 goals
Owen Gotimer is a graduate of Heritage High School in Leesburg and will enter his senior year at Syracuse University this fall. Follow Owen on Twitter (@BigO_Gotimer) for up-to-date college signings and news. Contact us if you want Owen to do an article on the college commitment of your favorite local athlete or a story on a Loudoun County graduate playing in college!