MILLERSVILLE — For all the runs by one team or the other, for all the swings in momentum, there never seemed any doubt as to one thing in Tuesday’s lacrosse matchup between Wilson and Cumberland Valley.
The final goal was going to decide the winner.
In the back-and-forth affair that saw neither team ever lead by more than two goals, just who was going to net that winner was much more unpredictable.
The decider ultimately went to Wilson, as Cameron Magalotti scored with 1:37 remaining in overtime to give the No. 1 Bulldogs a 10-9 victory over the No. 4 Eagles in a hotly contested District 3 Class 3A boys lacrosse semifinal at Penn Manor High School’s Comet Field.
The victory advances Wilson — the winners of last year’s single-classification title — to Thursday’s district title game against No. 2 Manheim Twp., which beat No. 3 Central York 13-7.
Cumberland Valley also finds itself in the same spot as last season, with a trip to the third-place game against Central York with a PIAA playoff berth on the line.
“We were going back and forth,” CV coach Matt Healey said. “It was a great game, each team had momentum. I was very proud of my boys for tying it up in the fourth. They never stop fighting. Overall, the difference was just that their goalie made some great saves.”
There were different characters to the game — long stretches of CV possession in the attacking zone, periods of transition offense by Wilson, a wild third quarter that saw seven goals scored in the frame’s final six minutes — but the constant was that Bulldogs keeper, junior Frankie Cox.
Cox (19 saves) was especially large in the first half, when CV controlled possession and winged 20 shots in his direction. His defense was successful in pushing the Eagles to the margins and ensuring many of those shots were low-percentage, and Cox stopped virtually everything he saw.
“CV is a great fundamental team and they pass the ball well,” Cox said. “Our defense has played well all year. We have one of the best defensive coordinators in coach (Joe) Bialek. He has us prepared for every game. Our defense is our strong point of our team and has won us a lot of games. They were huge again.”
The Eagles finally broke through in the third quarter, starting with a long-distance laser from Stevie Peters that knotted the game at 4-4 with a minute gone in the frame. That kicked off a seesaw quarter in which the teams combined for seven goals in 6:07; Wilson’s Tommy Rinehart had the final of those, pushing the Bulldogs ahead 8-7.
Rinehart gave Wilson a two-goal cushion, its first of the game, with 8:58 to go in regulation. With the clock melting down, CV delivered a lightning strike: Mitch Schalles scored in a man-up situation to draw the Eagles within one, and 37 seconds later Peters tied the game at 9-9.
After each team had opportunities in the final three minutes of regulation and the first three of overtime, Magalotti ended it with 1:37 to go, sending Wilson on a return trip to Hersheypark Stadium.
“We were down early in the game and we came back,” Wilson coach Bill Waldron said. “That’s the mindset that we have. We know we can play, and we’ll come back if we keep working. We don’t get down. That’s how we’ve been able to get back to where we’re at right now.”