Wasatch boys lacrosse highlights big day with dramatic 5A second round win at Timpview
Wasatch senior Aidan Rees had a busy day on Thursday with rehearsal early in the morning, graduation in the evening and the subsequent celebrations.
What was he confident he was going to remember most?
The dramatic, come-from-behind 11-10 win for his No. 11-seeded Wasp boys lacrosse team at No. 6-seed Timpview in the second round of the 5A playoffs, of course.
“It’s been huge mental and emotional overload today,” Rees said. “I’ve got my cap and gown to steam, I’ve got to make sure my name is on my hat so I don’t lose it, I’ve got to make sure letters are sent out. This graduation stuff is cool but five or 10 years from now, this win is what I’ll remember.”
Wasatch head coach Kevin Wallace said he knew it would be a busy day for his players, especially the seniors, so he told them they better enjoy the game.
He couldn’t have been more pleased with the product he saw on the field.
“I think that it was one of our most complete games,” Wallace said. “I think the lights were a little bright for us early and we spotted them four goals early, but the guys responded exactly how we wanted them to. We played really unselfish. We had guys all across our roster scoring and making plays. It’s exactly what we’ve been trying to do the whole year and it all came together for this. It feels good to win.”
There certainly was plenty of adversity as the momentum shifts kept tilting the field one direction or another.
The Wasps rallied from the early deficit and took a two-goal lead in the second half, only to have the Thunderbirds retaliate with four straight to build a 10-8 edge early in the fourth quarter.
“The message at that point was that there was still plenty of time,” Wallace said. “We knew that our offense had shown the ability to score so that wasn’t in question. It was more about just getting the ball. Timpview is a great team with a great offense. We felt like the team that had more possession was going to win, and we felt like we had that edge at the end.”
Rees said watching his team score one goal and then another built the confidence.
“It’s a gut-wrenching feeling when it’s that close,” Rees said. “You’re just worried that your team might not be able to do it. But when you see that first one go in, you’re like, OK, second one — and the third one. We’ve got this. We’re just going to keep going and keep pushing.”
With just under two minutes left and the score tied, Wasatch junior Caleb Taylor broke across the front of the goal and rifled a shot the made its way through to give the Wasps the lead.
“Caleb has been our leading attacker and scored our most goals,” Wallace said. “He was quiet today. Their defender did a good job shutting him down, but he made the one that counted the most.”
There was still enough time for the Thunderbirds to rally again, which meant a lot of pressure was on Rees and his defenders.
“You’ve got to turn it on and completely focus,” Rees said. “You forget the time, forget the score, forget graduation, everything. That little white ball was the only thing that mattered to me. You keep on doing what you are doing and make sure you don’t let anything stupid happen at the very end.”
Timpview got some looks as the seconds ticked off the clock but the Wasps held firm and finally the horn sounded, signifying Wasatch had the victory.
“It’s just the best thing ever,” Rees said. “You hear that horn and the whole world stops. You turn and see your whole team come running in. It’s just amazing. It’s the best thing I’ll ever experience. I just hope I get to keep doing it.”
Wallace said the defense has anchored the team all year so it was fitting to see them close out the upset.
“We knew they can make plays, so I can’t say I was surprised to see that,” Wallace said. “They had enough composure to get us the win.”
The Wasps now move on to the 5A quarterfinals to face the winner of the match between No. 14-seed Lehi and No. 3-seed Bountiful. That will be played Saturday at 1 p.m. with a spot in the semifinals on the line.