Waterford wins ECC boys' lacrosse title on goal by Holdridge in OT

East Lyme — It was on this field a little more than a month earlier that it happened. Again. Waterford High School played East Lyme oh, so close ... only to suffer another oh, so painful defeat.

It was on this field a little more than a month earlier that the streak of wins stayed alive, much to the delight of the Vikings, who had still never lost to the Lancers at the time.

And then perhaps illustrating the enduring lesson that you keep showing up and keep swinging, the Lancers have exacted their revenge twice in the last two weeks.

The latest came Thursday night in one of the program's biggest wins, a 13-12 overtime victory over the Vikings in the Eastern Connecticut Conference tournament championship game at Dick North Field.

Waterford, the tournament's top seed, beat East Lyme for the first time last week in Waterford. But this was even sweeter, coming on their blood rival's home field in the finals. It snapped East Lyme's 8-year ECC championship streak.

"Even though they tied it (at the end of regulation), there was no doubt on our sideline," Waterford coach Scott Hicks said. "The seniors wanted this so bad."

And while Hicks was perhaps the happiest man on the field after the game, maybe the happiest guy in the complex was Ray LaForte, the men's lacrosse coach at Coast Guard, who will be coaching Waterford's Caleb Holdridge next season.

Holdridge, The Day's reigning Player of the Year, proved he came by the award honestly, scoring his team's first six goals Thursday night. He finished with eight overall, including the game-winner with 30 seconds left in overtime, after East Lyme (9-9) scored two goals in the last 16.5 seconds of regulation to tie it.

Holdridge's howitzer that barely beat the first-half horn that gave the Lancers a 9-4 lead at halftime.

East Lyme tied the game at four on University of Hartford-bound James McCoy's goal in the second period. But the Lancers scored the last five goals of the half — three from Holdridge and two from Kyle Jacobson.

Waterford (16-2) scored once on a two-minute man advantage for an illegal body check. East Lyme did well to kill the remainder of the penalty before Holdridge's goal at the horn.

Waterford's halftime lead also came thanks to goalie Cooper Alloway, who stopped several shots from the doorstep – and two beauties in overtime against McCoy and Ryan Whaley.

"In the heat of the moment," Alloway said, "you've got to do what you've got to do for your team."

It took the Vikings barely six minutes to tie the game in the third period, after goals from McCoy (two), Whaley, Rob Swenson and Matt Valakos. McCoy gave the Vikings a 10-9 lead — their sixth straight goal — with 5:03 left in the third.

Peter Lincoln and Jacobson scored for the Lancers late in third to kill East Lyme's momentum and give their team an 11-10 lead headed to the fourth.

Lincoln's goal early in the fourth period gave Waterford a 12-10 lead. Whaley scored with 16.5 seconds left for East Lyme, before Swenson tied it.

m.dimauro@theday.com

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