He just put his team on his shoulders and carried them to the CHSAA Class AA city lacrosse title. But before he was able to pose for pictures with his teammates, Iona Prep senior attack Luke Wooters spotted a pair of reporters on the sideline and issued an ever-so-true statement.
“I like championships,” he said.
He should because Wooters is pretty good at winning them.
After helping guide the Gaels basketball team to the CHSAA Class A intersectional and state title in the winter, the sparkplug rallied the lacrosse team over archrival Fordham Prep, 10-9, Friday afternoon in New Rochelle.
“If there’s a knock on Luke, it’s that he wants it too much,” Iona Prep coach Rich Trizano said. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny where he just goes and goes and goes and doesn’t quit. He is a winner.”
That’s not what Trizano was saying, though, after Fordham Prep scored three goals in a span of 1:48 to take a 9-6 lead with 9:18 left in the fourth quarter
Trizano called a timeout and challenged Wooters, co-captain Shane Fee and his son, Billy Trizano.
“Is this how you want to end the year?” he asked.
Wooters responded on the field the best way he knows how with two goals and two assists in 3:51. He finished with a game-high four goals and three assists. Philip Lofergo, Billy Trizano and Fee added two goals apiece.
“I had that chip on my shoulder, I’ve kind of had it all year,” Wooters said. “I want this to be my offense, I want to be the one initiating. Whenever the game is on the line, I want to be the one to finish it.”
He did that in style, scoring the game-winning goal with 2:59 remaining in regulation.
“It was just a mad dash to the cage,” Wooters said. “It was a terrible shot, I put it stick-side, but luckily I somehow found the cage.”
It was a spectacular ending after what Rich Trizano called “terrible lacrosse for three-and-a half quarters.” Iona Prep, he said, won faceoffs, but didn’t show enough effort for groundballs.
As a result, the Gaels were punished in the second half. Trailing 6-4 at halftime, Fordham Prep (6-7) dominated the third quarter, scoring five consecutive goals, the final two by Lou Depaolis, to take what seemed to be a commanding 9-6 lead less than three minutes into the fourth quarter.
Depaolis led the Rams with three goals, Connor Smith and Joe Delasho had two apiece and Jack McCombe and Ben Andreycak each had one.
Still, Fordham Prep coach Len De Lucia said, his team overachieved Friday, especially with Rob Grinnell (concussion) and Colum Sleeper (leg surgery) out. Grinnell scored the overtime winner in the first regular-season meeting between the rivals.
“We shouldn’t have even been in this game,” De Lucia said. “We have two of our main offensive guys hurt. They were coming in hot as hell and we cooled them down. We did a great job. I think we played a hell of a game.”
Fordham Prep threatened to equalize and perhaps force overtime and were a man up with 54.1 seconds left. But Iona Prep defender Ross Schnitzer picked off the ball and raced forward, sealing the Gaels fifth city title in six years.
“I got it and just started running up field, I didn’t know what to think,” Schnitzer said. “I just started running in the middle of the field. It feels great, though. It was awesome.”
The celebration, though, was short-lived.
“We have about 15 minutes and that’s about it,” Schnitzer said.
That’s because Iona Prep (10-4) host Kellenberg Tuesday afternoon in the CHSAA Class AA state semifinals. The Firebirds beat Holy Trinity, 11-9, Thursday night at Hofstra University.
“We’ve got practice tomorrow morning at eight o’clock,” Rich Trizano said. “We’ve got to find out what went wrong in this game. To me, a lot went wrong today and this game should have never been that close.”
That Iona Prep has another practice, another chance to prepare for an opponent is a testament to Luke Wooters’ will to win.
Not that Schnitzer is surprised.
“I knew it was going to be him that was going to do it, it was just when it was going to happen,” Schnitzer said. “He’s always the one who that steps in at the end of the game. He’s just this little guy who weaves in and out of people. He always gets it done.”
Contact Dylan Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org
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