By: Wells Dusenbury
Benjamin wasn't going to let it happen again.
Much like the season opener against St. Andrew's, Benjamin held a 3-1 lead after the first quarter against Lake Highland Prep. In the St. Andrew's game, the Buccaneers faltered in the second half, falling 16-7. That wasn't the case tonight.
On Senior Night, Benjamin edged the defending state champion Highlanders 9-8 for one of the biggest wins in program history.
"The kids have been working hard," said Benjamin head coach Riorden Cheatham. "I can't thank them enough for putting in the time and it's starting to translate on the field."
Benjamin raced out to an early 3-0 lead thanks to their offense, but it was their defense that sealed the game late.
Trailing by one, Lake Highland Prep had a man-up opportunity with 36 seconds left in the game, but couldn't get a shot off against the Buccaneers defense, forcing Lake Highland to use a timeout with 7 seconds remaining. Off the timeout, midfielder Devon Lewis had to fire a contested shot from just inside the restraining line that never had a chance.
"Just a lack of execution. I'll take the blame on that one," said Lake Highland Prep head coach Chris Spaulding. "I probably put the guys in a bad situation and probably should have called a timeout sooner."
As the final whistle blew, the Buccaneers mobbed sophomore goalie Anthony Cicio, who ended up stealing the show on Senior Night. Cicio recorded 16 saves, including a highlight reel kick save on a one-on-one with just under 40 seconds to go. Cheatham also singled out the sophomore as a vital aspect of the Bucs clearing game.
"He's athletic and really fast and really helped us tonight, earning him, on top of the nine seniors that were here, the game ball," said Cheatham.
After taking a 3-0 lead early, the Buccaneers allowed four consecutive goals, giving up the lead to the defending state champs. Benjamin answered back though, scoring three straight to take a 6-4 lead into halftime.
The Buccaneers kept that momentum into the second half and never gave up the lead again. The game stood in stark contrast to their season opener against St. Andrew's, where they surrendered 9 consecutive goals to open the 3rd quarter after being tied going into the locker room.
"We talked about that at halftime, being reminded of the St. Andrew's game and how flat we came out in the 3rd," Cheatham said.
Juniors Colby Kempe and Robert Jacobs led the Buccaneers on offense, with both players scoring 3 goals each. Austin Tamayo led Lake Highland Prep with 3 goals in the loss.
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