CLARK, NJ – The Scotch Plains-Fanwood boys’ lacrosse team seemed destined for an upset over rival Westfield in the Union County Tournament semifinal.
The third-seeded Raiders had a 3-1 lead and dominated the first quarter of play. Then, quicker than you can say “upset,” Westfield stepped on the gas and scored eight unanswered goals en route to a 15-6 victory on Friday.
Luke Prybylski scored five times for Westfield, including back-to-back tallies to open the second half as the Blue Devils advance to the county final for the second straight year.
“Its always nice to beat Scotch Plains-Fanwood,” Prybylski said. “The main goal is to beat Summit in the county final. That’s the one we’re looking for.”
Westfield trailed early in the game, as SPF’s Kevin Kerby scored twice and Gabe Gibson once in the first quarter to lead the Raiders to a two-goal first quarter lead. However, the Blue Devils responded with four goals in the first five minutes of the second quarter to take command of the game.
“We came out a little flat, that’s a credit to Scotch Plains,” Chris Aslanian said. “They’re a tough team. If we’re going to give them opportunities, they’re going to finish. We have to come out harder.”
Pat Decker started the streak with a goal in the quarter’s opening minute. Prybylski tied game less than a minute later before Aslanian gave the Blue Devils the lead for good.
By the time Scotch Plains-Fanwood scored again, they found themselves with a six-goal deficit. That didn’t stop the Raiders from fighting back into the game.
Kerby scored his third goal of the game late in the third quarter to pull SPF within five. Then in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, Christian Gordon made the score 9-5, but Dane Huber led a second Blue Devils surge.
Westfield responded by scored seven of the game’s final eight goals to shut the door on the Raiders.
“In the second half, Jack Custer was winning face-offs for us, getting us the ball,” Aslanian said. “Our offense started clicking, started playing as a team. Everything started working out.”
With the victory, the Blue Devils earned a spot in the county final where they will face Summit for the second consecutive year. Summit won last year’s battle 9-5.
The boys’ championship game will be the second game of a doubleheader on Monday at Arthur L. Johnson High School. The 2014 girls’ lacrosse Union County Tournament final between the same two schools is scheduled for 6 p.m., with the boys’ facing off immediately after the final horn.