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Back Row: Coach Joel Elmquist, George Elmquist, Michael Tsay, Logan Peterson, Jack Johannson, Casey Wasserman, Lindell Stone, Luke Millican, Clayton Keyes, Victor Simpson, Coach Neal DiBello. Front Row: Avery Smith, A.J. Van den Dyssel, Nick Donfris, Paxton Garman, Jake Gillen, Carson Green, Davis Stairs, Preston Deno and Ryan Thompson.

The 7/8 Black Championship Boys team made it to the NTYLL Championship game Friday, April 26 vs. Highland Park. Without electing to use a coin-flip to determine home field, the game was instead held at the neutral site of Coppell Middle School.

Despite being down early in the game 2-0, the Dragons came back as Carson Green started the scoring off an assist by Lindell Stone. After another HP score, Stone then found AJ Van den Dyssel for a goal with 30 seconds left to end the first quarter 3-2.

HP scored the first goal of the second before Stone scored early in the 2nd quarter to close to 4-3.  With tough midfield play by Jack Johannson and Clayton Keyes, the Dragons applied pressure on the HP goalie and defense, who proved up to the task.

HP scored from the top of the box to extend their lead to 5-3 with 6:24 left in the half. A quick series of one-touch passes from Preston Deno to Casey Wasserman to Van den Dyssel pulled the Dragons to within one again at 5-4. HP answered to go up 6-4.

Play went back and forth until with just over a minute left before half-time, the Dragons were charged with a 2-minute non-releasable penalty. HP took full advantage of the extra man and scored two goals to end the half and then one to start the third quarter to extend their lead to 9-4.

The Dragons answered as Preston Deno took a Wasserman pass and cut the lead to 9-5. This seemed to inspire goalkeeper Luke Millican and Dragon defenders Ryan Thompson, George Elmquist, Michael Tsay and Victor Simpson as they turned back several Highlander threats.

After several minutes of end to end action Coach Neal DiBello took a time-out to give midfielders Green, Jack Johannson, Clayton Keyes, Nick Donfris, Paxton Garmin, Avery Smith and Logan Peterson a well-deserved break and shuffle his attackmen including Jake Gillen, Davis Stairs for one final push. 

However, the Highlanders ended the period with clear momentum and scored twice more to extend the lead to 11-5. HP then took advantage of another penalty and man-up offense to lead 12-5 at the end of the third.

Wasserman found Johannson to start the fourth quarter to trim the lead 12-6, and then found Gillen who made it 12-7.  With the lead, HP was content to keep possession and run large amounts of time off the clock. Peterson scored with 35 seconds remaining for a 12-8 final score.

The Dragons finished their season 12-1. Their league-leading offense averaged more than 10 goals per game. Their stingy defense allowed only 5 goals per game for the entire year. 

The Dragons are coached by Neal DiBello and Joel Elmquist. Based upon their team success, they will have five representatives for the upcoming 7/8 All-Star game.

Story and photo courtesy of the Southlake Carroll Lacrosse Association

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