ROXBURY, NJ – Thanks to an overtime win against Madison on Thursday, the Roxbury High School boys lacrosse team is going where none of its predecessors has ventured: To the semifinals in the Morris County Tournament.
The 9-8 victory came on a dramatic goal by senior Eric D’Arminio, ending a contest where Roxbury was, at one point, trailing 8-6.
The first quarter was more of a defensive match-up ending in a 2-1 score in favor of Madison. The Dodgers came out hard in the second quarter scoring four more to the Gaels’ two, ending the half by the score of 6-3.
But the Gaels kept plugging away at Madison's lead. They netted three more in the third quarter and their defense kept Madison scoreless in the fourth.
It was in that quarter where the heart and determination of the Roxbury players was put on display. They never lost faith in themselves and in each other, and their confidence enabled them to keep the pressure on and score twice when it was needed most.
The final goal of regulation came in the last 11 seconds when Dave Biank passed to Paul Shadel who scored the point that sent the dramatic battle into overtime.
For the Gaels, overtime did not start out particularly well. Roxbury lost the face-off, but it proved to be only a minor setback as Mike Christiansen stripped the ball away from the Dodgers and returned it to the hands of Roxbury, a move that set up the last goal of the game when Dave Biank found D'Arminio open in front of net to score for the win.
The game-winning goal was D’Arminio’s second of the game. He also had an assist. But it was Biank who led the Roxbury offense by scoring three goals and making five assists.
Matt Dancsecs and Shadel helped the Roxbury cause by scoring two goals each. Dancsecs also racked up an assist as did Anthony Perhacs.
Roxbury goaltender Wayne Safreed made six saves, playing a big part in the historic win.
The game had all the makings of a short novel: The ups and downs, the disappointments and excitement, only to end in total jubilation for Roxbury and its fans. The 19th-ranked Gaels lost only one game all season and won the other 13. Their next county tournament foe: No 1-seeded Delbarton in a Saturday battle at Montville.