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Updated: Feb 21, 2020

Line It Up

On a gorgeous Sunday afternoon senior attackman, Ben Welling, scored 5 goals to lead The Woodlands Highlanders in an 8-4 victory over the Southlake Dragons at George Dawson Middle School in Southlake, Texas.

For The Woodlands, this inter-district match-up was an opportunity to rebound from a 7-3 loss to Dallas Jesuit just a day earlier. That would prove easier said than done as Southlake looked to knock off the visiting Highlanders for the first time in at least 5 seasons. For both, the game was a chance to compete against a quality opponent from a different city.

The Woodlands looked much improved over Saturday's loss to Jesuit in this game. Defensively, they were a more organized unit down low and junior Virginia commit, Matthew Nunes, played extremely well throughout the contest turning away would-be goals with consistency. Led by Welling's 5 goals, the Highlanders offense was able to get solid contributions throughout the ranks. Junior attackman, Blake Kalata(1g), and freshman midfielder, Garrett Coleman(1g), each netted their first career goals at the Division 1 level for The Woodlands. USAFA commit, Donovan Rock, rounded out the scoring with a goal and assist to his credit. Junior, Lake Travis transfer, Grant Isika was excellent at the face-off dot and senior midfielder, Duncan Bremner(1a), played outstanding on both ends of the field and in between the boxes.

Matthew Nunes and Co. Came to Play!

Coming into the game, we knew that we were in for a goalie battle and neither Nick Wright(Southlake) or Nunes disappointed early in the game. For the better part of the first quarter, both goalies made multiple saves keeping the game scoreless until 3:11 left in first quarter when Welling caught the ball through X, attacked the backside, and turned the corner lefty to give The Woodlands a 1-0 lead. Jacob Donfris(1g) would respond for the Dragons by inverting a short stick and scoring on a beauty of a question mark coming back to his right hand to tie it up 1's to end the first quarter.

The back and forth would carry over into the 2nd quarter of play and Welling would strike again on an assist from Rock. The Dragons, once again, responded when Grant Deno(2g, 1a) connected with Michael Olaleye(1g, 1a) in traffic. Olaleye made a tough handle, stepped away, and hammered a rope under the crossbar to tie the game at 2. With just two seconds remaining in the 2nd quarter, The Woodlands took a shot and won the back up. Bremner picked the ball up off the end line and assisted Welling for a quick stick goal as time expired giving The Woodlands 3-2 edge headed into halftime.

Man of the Match-Ben Welling-5 Goals

Halftime adjustments by both teams would lead to more scoreless lacrosse for the better half of the 3rd quarter. With 4:05 remaining in the 3rd, Kalata, snagged an outlet pass from Wright and was able to get his first Division 1 goal on the open net. Just 1 minute later, Welling scored his 4th goal of the afternoon to extend the lead 5-2. Deno scored shortly thereafter to bring the Dragons back within 2 and the score was 5-3, Woodlands, headed into the 4th quarter. The Woodlands would go on to outscore Southlake 3-1 in final frame for the 8-4 victory on the road.

Although Southlake lost the contest, the Dragons have plenty to build on moving forward. Their defensive unit of Nick Wright, Conor Spagnolli, Hunter Holden, Danny Sommerhalder and company held a very capable team to 8 goals. Furthermore, on offense they have more than enough pieces to score in bunches as the unit continues to gel.

The Woodlands showed great resiliency and ability to respond after the tough loss to Dallas Jesuit Saturday. With the win, the Highlanders improved their record to 2-1 and travel back to Dallas next weekend to take on ESD in a revenge game against the team that ended their 2019 campaign. Sunday's game marked the first loss for Southlake (4-1) in the young 2020 season. They will look to regroup this week before taking on Kinkaid and Westlake next Saturday and Sunday in Dragon Stadium.

The #StickStarReport20 is just getting warmed up, folks. We appreciate you reading and following along. Please like, share, and retweet our content as we continue to bring you Year 10 of the most comprehensive and consistent coverage of High School Lacrosse throughout The Great State for the duration of the 2020 season.

That's All, Sports Fans

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