For much of the game, St. Anthony’s goalie Tom Lingner marveled at the play of his counterpart at the other end of the field, Chaminade’s keeper Jack Zullo.
“Zullo had a great game. I knew I had to match his intensity and beat it. I brought it to the table today, but I couldn’t have done it without my defense in front of me,” Lingner said.
The junior made a last-second save on Regan Quinn to preserve the Friars’ 4-3 victory over their CHSAA rival Tuesday in St. Anthony’s final home of the season. Lingner only had to make eight saves, while Zullo was under siege and made 14 stops, some of them exceptional.
“I really respect him as a goalkeeper. I’ve looked up to him for a number of years,” Lingner said of Zullo, a senior who has committed to Notre Dame. “I knew he’d be hot coming into this game. He always comes in hot.”
Both teams played with fire and ferocity typical of a rivalry considered to be one of the best in the country in boys lacrosse. St. Anthony’s (11-2) also won a defensive duel earlier this season, 5-4, and the teams again will meet for the CHSAA championship at Mitchel Field on May 18 at 4 p.m.
“This game gets our confidence high,” said attack T.J. Heagerty, who scored two goals. “We haven’t talked about a sweep, but now it’s in the back of our heads that we can do it.”
Chaminade (12-5) took a 2-1 lead on Joe Carney’s shot into the top corner early in the second quarter. But before the Flyers could get any kind of lift from that goal, St. Anthony’s Kyle Gallagher won the ensuing faceoff and six seconds later scored. “Biggest goal of the game. It was huge,” St. Anthony’s coach Keith Wieczorek said. “They didn’t even have time to enjoy the lead.”
Heagerty, who leads the Friars with 35 goals, scored in transition on a feed from Jon Huber to make it 3-2 with 2:08 left in the third. He provided a two-goal cushion and the eventual game-winner on a feed from long-stick middie Larry Galizia.
Knowing how tough it is to beat Zullo, Heagerty said it was “really important” to capitalize on those rare clean looks. “Zullo’s a good goalie. He made a bunch of saves. We should’ve scored more,” Heagerty said. “Those open shots were key. Especially in a one-goal game.”
It became that when Quinn scored his second of the contest with 51.7 seconds left. Gallagher won the crucial faceoff and the Friars tried to run out the clock. But Chaminade forced a turnover with 11 seconds left.
The Flyers then used an unorthodox strategy following a timeout. They heaved the ball far downfield, over Lingner’s head and out of bounds. But they had alerted the officials before the play that they would be attempting a long shot, and thus were awarded possession behind their own goal with five seconds left.
Wieczorek vigorously disagreed, believing it was a pass out of bounds, not a shot, and that the Friars should have been given the ball. But he called the tactic, “really smart on their part.”
On the re-star from behind the cage, the pass went to Quinn on the right wing. Lingner was ready. “Regan was a teammate of mine for a number of years (in summer leagues). I knew where he was going to shoot,” Lingner said. “He was going low so I got my stick down and made the save.”