For the first time in three years, Pembroke Hill’s lacrosse season will not end with a loss to SM East.
And for the first time ever, someone other than the Lancers will be Lacrosse Association of Kansas City champions.
The Raiders beat SM East 16-15 in the LAKC semifinals Wednesday, earning a trip to the championship Friday where they will meet top-seeded Rockhurst. The Hawklets beat Blue Valley West in the evening’s first semifinal.
SM East and Pembroke played neck and neck through the first two periods, with the Lancers using a closing-seconds score from John Aliber to take a 6-5 lead into the half. Pembroke’s John Ellis responded with a quick goal in the opening seconds of the third period that made it seem as if the teams would be trading goals for the rest of the evening.
Then momentum swung sharply in the Lancers’ favor. Tommy Larson scored to give the Lancers a one goal lead, and was quickly backed up by Frank Esberg, who scored two in a row for SM East. The Lancers kept the offensive pressure on, and opened up a 13-8 lead.
But Pembroke kept its composure, with Ellis leading a steady comeback through the fourth quarter, tying SM East with 6:20 to play and taking a two goal lead with under two minutes.
SM East’s Mackey Merrill suffered a serious foot injury with just 32 seconds left to play, halting the game as an ambulance came to take him off the field. When play resumed, SM East was able to put another goal on the board with six seconds left, but Pembroke held on for the one goal victory.
SM East defeated Pembroke in the inaugural LAKC title game in 2012 and beat them again last year to repeat as LAKC champions.
East Lancers lose the game 16-15 to Pembroke Hill. Close game and a heartbreaker with the injury of all around fabulous guy Mackey Merrill
— SME Lancer Lacrosse (@SMElancerlax) May 8, 2014
Pembroke Hill (#3) beats a tough Shawnee Mission East (#2) and will now advance to the Finals of the 2014 LAKC Championship #RaidersLax
— Pembroke Lacrosse (@PembrokeHillLax) May 8, 2014