After falling behind 3-0 to a hungry host Pioneer team on its senior night, the Eagles clawed their way back to a hard-earned victory.
With the scoreboard reading 7-5 and 42 seconds left in regulation time, junior Isaac Lippert narrowed the Pioneer lead by one. The Pioneer squad was left stunned when Skyline tied up the game 7-7 less than 20 seconds later as senior Cam Newton scored on a pass from Lippert. Two minutes into the first overtime, sophomore Kevin Nguyen ripped the back of the net to seal the win 8-7 on Wednesday, May 8. Nguyen’s game-winner capped a long fourth-quarter comeback against a well-coached Pioneer squad, who managed to bottle up the Eagles for three quarters only allowing four goals in three periods.
“I am really happy for Kevin (Nguyen) because he played a terrific game under a great deal of pressure, but I am more happy for the lacrosse team who continues to define their character and find ways to get better every day,” said Skyline coach Greg Normand, who added that the key to the overall victory was at the face-off circle, where senior FOG Blake Turner pulled off 16 wins in 18 tries and he didn’t lose a face-off in the fourth quarter.
“There are a lot of folks that we can be proud about their performance, but Blake was the singular reason we won tonight, period….without him, we don’t win tonight…again, period,” Normand said.
Isaac Lippert had two goals and two assists for the winners, while the Newton brothers added three goals (Cam Newton, two goals, Jamie Newton, one goal). Defensively, JJ Edwards picked up eight ground balls, while Anthony Henry played stellar defense on the Pioneer’s best offensive players.
“J.J. and Anthony played as well as you could expect in the second half and shut down Pioneer’s offensive guns really well. Our entire defense played really well in the second half tonight,” said Eric Gullburg, Skyline’s defensive coordinator. “Robbie White, Evan Eisman and Nick Pachera, along with shortstick defensive middle Kobe Clemons did a great job.”
Normand said goalie Kaelan Bonner, who recorded his 11th win as a varsity starter, came up big in the second half. He said Bonner’s close range saves allowed Skyline to stay in the game. “Kaelan is just getting stronger every game and he’s only going to get better as an underclassman,” he said.
The JV squad walked away with a 4-4 tie against the Pioneers that night.
The Eagles ran into little trouble with visiting SEC opponent Lincoln on Friday night during Senior Night as Skyline ripped 52 shots and found the win column for the 12th time this season. Skyline was led by Cam Newton’s seven goals and brother Jamie had six points on four goals and two assists. Isaac Lippert (three goals, three assists) and Blake Turner (two goals, one assist) were the other multi-point scorers for the Eagles. Kevin Nguyen and Gavin Tribble each had a goal, while first year varsity players Kobe Clemons and Ian Rothstein scored the first goals of their careers.
“It was really fun watching Kobe and Ian score tonight…in fact, Ian’s shovel shot was really something to behold from the sidelines,” said Greg Normand, Skyline’s head coach.
Senior captain J.J. Edwards continued his dominate defensive streak as he gobbled up eight ground balls after his recent move back to long stick middle.
“We put J.J. back at long stick a week or so ago because we thought he would be more effective in the open field. He was playing close defense after Dylan (Hughes) went down with a potential season ending injury the second week of the season. I thought J.J. was struggling as a close defender because it eliminated his best talent…speed….and now he’s back to finding open spaces,” said Normand.
Skyline Varsity travels to Grosse Pointe North Monday for a 5:00pm non-league matchup with the Nordsman, who played in last year’s MHSAA D2 state semi-finals. JV will travel to Canton High School for a 5:30pm game against the Chiefs. Both Eagles squads travel to play Walled Lake Northern on Wednesday and both squads will be in Birmingham on Saturday to take on Birmingham United.