Midland-Dow boys’ lacrosse coach Joe Stadelmaier was expecting a tough match from Detroit Country Day on Saturday, and he got it.
The Yellowjackets broke open a close game with a dominant fourth quarter, pulling away to win 20-10 at Midland Community Stadium and improve to 7-1.
Country Day led 7-5 at halftime and by six midway through the third quarter before Midland-Dow went on a run to trim the deficit back to two. From there, though, it was all Yellowjackets.
“I’m really pleased with the way we played in the first half. Their team doesn’t really allow a team to make mistakes. We just made too many mistakes in the second half, and they took advantage of it,” Stadelmaier noted.
“They’re a much deeper program than ours, and they’ve got more players that they can spread out, and we’re pretty shallow and short,” he added. “They’re probably going to be in the (state) finals in Division 2.”
It took Midland-Dow only 38 seconds to get on the board, as Ryan Stadelmaier passed to Ryan Pomranky, who beat the Yellowjackets’ goalkeeper from close range for a 1-0 lead. Country Day scored the next two goals to take a brief lead, but Midland-Dow answered with a point-blank goal by Eli Elza off of a nice over-the-top pass from Will Kuper to tie it at 2-2 midway through the first quarter.
The Yellowjackets surged back ahead, 4-2, but Stadelmaier found Kuper, who scored from close range on a power play late in the period, making 4-3 heading into the second.
Midland-Dow tied it again in the opening minute of the second quarter, as Cal Stearns charged hard from the left wing and beat the goalie low from 12 yards out, but Country Day responded with a three-goal outburst over the span of 1:52 to regain the lead 7-4. In the closing minutes of the half, Midland-Dow’s Kyle Riter cut it to 7-5, scoring on a high, hard shot from 15 yards out.
Early in the second half, Country Day appeared poised to take command, collecting four goals – including a couple on long, unabated runs off of defensive breakdowns by Midland-Dow – over the course of 3:24 to extend to an 11-5 advantage.
Midland-Dow fought back, though, answering with four goals of its own in the span of 3:27.
First, Riter passed to Stearns, who scored from in front of the net, and then Stadelmaier fought through contact on the right wing and backhanded a shot past the goalie to make it 11-7. Just under a minute later, Stadelmaier struck again, this time with a power play goal from 10 yards out. Stearns then capped the run, taking a pass from Kuper and quickly firing a hard shot into the net from 7 yards out to make it 11-9 with 2:55 left in the third quarter.
From there, Country Day took over.
The Yellowjackets scored with 27 seconds left in the third to make it 12-9, then tacked on five more goals in the first five and a half minutes of the fourth quarter, including two shorthanded tallies and multiple wide-open opportunities, to build a 17-9 lead.
Stearns scored again off of an assist from Elza midway through the period to cut it to 17-10, but Country Day scored three more times down the stretch to seal it.
“I was pleased with the way we battled on the faceoff. … But there were a lot of ground balls that we missed that we could’ve had,” said Joe Stadelmaier. “ … I’m just not real happy with the way we played in the second half. We can play better. The good news for us is that it can all be fixed. All the mistakes we made can be fixed.”
Midland-Dow (3-2) will head to Bay City Western on Monday, and Joe Stadelmaier said his team will spend some time working to identify and correct the multiple defensive breakdowns from Saturday.
“I’m hoping that when we watch the film (we can see our mistakes),” he said. “It’s tough to evaluate the game while you’re actually playing, but when we watch the film, they’ll be able to see, ‘Oh, I should’ve been here, or I should’ve been there,’ and they will learn from the mistakes.”