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Raiders lax teams dominate county championships

  • Written by  Jose Umana, photo by Michael Smith
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IsabellaGandolph lacrosseGREENBELT – As Eleanor Roosevelt Boys Lacrosse Head Coach Scott Sorenson received the Prince George’s County Championship, he held it high for a few moments in front of his team before handing it off to senior captain Elias Kallon. As the handoff was completed, other members of the Raiders team showered Sorenson with a celebratory water bath.

The victory was the culmination of a year’s work, with goals already completed, for Roosevelt to win their first lacrosse county title as a varsity program as they defeated Gwynn Park 16-2 on May 5.

The undefeated Raiders (12-0) used their pass-heavy offense to combat the physicality brought on by the Yellow Jackets. Juniors David Tyree and Alex Anthony lead the attack right away, scoring the game’s first three goals. The attacking tandem, who have played with each other since they were 10 years old, helped each other find space and took shots at will for Roosevelt.

“There is a lot of good chemistry going around, and it is not just me and (Anthony),” Tyree said. "Every year, we have learned to play with each other more, and it is getting better. Getting more talent also (helps) but chemistry has been a driving force for us.”

Meanwhile, Roosevelt’s midfield and defense minimized Gywnn Park’s attack, limiting them to only six shots the entire game. The chemistry built from offseason workouts paid off for Roosevelt as they made quick transitions into counterattacking players after forcing multiple turnovers, Sorenson said. Roosevelt shut out their opponents and entered halftime with a 10-0 lead.

“We have worked hard since November where they started to get together on their own with captain practices, building every day until they got out here in March,” Sorenson said. “We’ve grown stronger as a family and we practice together, offense and defense and midfield, so chemistry has been very important to us.”

The offensive onslaught continued into the third quarter with Tyree scoring two of his final four goals. Anthony also scored his fourth goal of the game, extending the Raiders advantage by 14. Roosevelt would finish shooting 35 shots, 21 of which were on target.

Winning the county championship was the second of four preseason goals Roosevelt set for itself coming into this season. Going undefeated in regular season play assured that Roosevelt is a high seed and will host all home games throughout playoffs.

With two missions completed, winning regionals and competing for a state title is next for the Raiders to achieve the perfect season. A tall order, Sorenson said admitted, but possible if Roosevelt continues to have complete games like they did against Gwynn Park.

“I think this was our best performance this year,” Anthony said. “We have been slowly building up each game and getting better as a team…We just got to keep playing like we did today. If we keep doing this, we should go far.”

Lady Raiders clip Oxon Hill

Junior attacker Olivia Joachim’s seven-goal performance lifted Roosevelt over the Lady Clippers 17-4 to win their first county varsity lacrosse title in school history earlier in the day.

Both teams were scheduled to meet for the title last year, but county officials cited scheduling conflicts and named both sides co-champions. This left a sour taste for many of the returning Roosevelt players as they looked forward to playing for a trophy for the first time last season.

“It’s just an amazing feeling to play in this championship game,” Roosevelt sophomore attacker Isabella Gandolph said. “Even if (we did not win), it’s just special.”

It would not take long for the Lady Raiders to strike as Gandolph scored in the opening 32 seconds. Less than two minutes later, Oxon Hill center Faith Gray quickly tied the game after outrunning the Roosevelt midfield to score her first of two goals.

It would be the closest the Lady Clippers would get as Roosevelt went on a scoring spree, scoring the next 13 out of 15 goals in the half, with Joachim leading the way with a “fantastic” performance, Head Coach Charles Mill said.

Her physical presence in front of goal made it easy for midfielders to create passes for scoring opportunities. Joachim ended the half scoring five goals, three of which were assisted.

“She has been a driving force, both as a goal scorer and as an example for her fellow teammates,” Mill said. “Watching that growth, especially working with her younger teammates who do not have that much experience, and to see her mentor them, it has been the best thing for her and this team.”

Gandolph finished with a hat trick and junior Camille Lorente added two more Lady Raiders goals before halftime. Despite being unable to make a shot for the opening five minutes of the second half, Roosevelt continued to work on their short-passing game converting that to extended possessions and goal scoring opportunities. The Lady Raiders finished the game with seven different goal scorers.

Even after waiting a full year to compete for the title and winning in dominating fashion, the celebration was minimal, knowing that their true test is the state playoffs, which are scheduled to begin this week.

“I think we need to continue working as a team more and incorporating everyone into different plays and moves,” Joachim said. “Helping set each other up and working as a team instead of as individuals (will help in the playoffs).”

With victories by both teams, Roosevelt becomes the first school since Bowie’s inaugural title wins in 2016 to sweep the county lacrosse championships.

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