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Still alive in Region 5: Pirates eighty-six Warriors, 8-6
RR Boys' Lacrosse
ROCKY RIVER, Ohio -- The Pirates got a six-point night from senior attackman Hayden Weaver and a big performance from their defense, as Rocky River defeated Walsh Jesuit, 8-6, in a Region 5 semifinal in the 2021 D-II Ohio Boys' Lacrosse Tournament.

Weaver figured in three-quarters of Rocky River's offensive production, garnering four goals and two assists. Pirate defense and goalkeeping did much of the rest, as the Double-R kept its playoff run going in Monday's contest at Rocky River Stadium. And now the No. 1-seeded Pirates are slated to host a Thursday game against No. 2 Toledo St. Francis (6 p.m.).

The Detroit Road Buccaneers scored two goals in each quarter. Weaver tallied both of Rocky River's goals in the second frame after the Pirates had fallen behind, 3-2, in the first. With defenders spilling possessions before shots could develop, and with senior goalkeeper Reece Rochester clocking key saves throughout, the Maroon & White yielded just eight shots on goal and three netfinders after that opening quarter.

Weaver scored his four goals on nine shots and was a key in River getting to Walsh goalkeeper Nick Jarosewich, who came out of the gate strong with five saves in the opening quarter. Weaver was also in on a solid River ride which held the Warriors to an 8-of-14 mark on clears. Weaver had three caused turnovers on a night that saw the Pirates spill 16 possessions overall. For the game, River outshot Walsh, 34-29; the Pirates (15-4) put 20 shots on goal to the Warriors' 13.

When they were on the attack, Walsh players were draped by the likes of Mack Massad, Matthew McDonald, Matthew George, Robby Lang, and Kai Delventhal. Room to operate was hard to come by, and lengthy possessions were turned aside by either turnovers or Rochester, who logged seven saves in the contest.

With senior captain Charlie Hudson leading the way with six caused turnovers and five ground balls, the Sons of Blackbeard finished as a plus-14 in turnover margin (9 to 23). During the game, the standout defenseman and 2021 Northern Ohio Lacrosse League Player of the Year became a 50-50 man: he now has 54 ground balls and 54 caused turnovers on the season.

But there was nothing 50-50 about River's effort in support of their fine netminder on Monday. And there's nothing halfway about the team's foray into the 2021 state playoffs. The Pirates are all in.


Rocky River's eight goals were comprised of four by Weaver, two by Will Bennett, one by Wes Bennett, and one by Rowan McDougal. Assists were registered by Weaver (two), Nathan Robertson (two), and Ryan Hildebrand. Walsh as led by Ryan Holcomb and Cooper Kirda (two goals each); Hunter Nalepka had two assists. ... With their production on Monday, both Weaver and Will Bennett reached the 50-point plateau for the season. Weaver has 52 points (35 goals, 17 assists); Bennett has 50 (40G, 10A).

BRACKET ATTACK: In three playoff games, Weaver and Bennett have combined to score 23 points. ... The Pirates have allowed just 10 goals over their three bracket wins. Reece Rochester -- who logged several grade-A stops Monday -- has stopped 16-of-26 (61.5%) shots he's seen in the playoffs. ... Charlie Hudson has nine ground balls and nine caused turnovers.

KNIGHT GAME: Toledo St. Francis earned a 10-8 come-from-behind win over Toledo St. John win on the other side of the Region 5 bracket. The Knights will travel to Rocky River Thursday with their sights on a two-game season sweep. St. Francis defeated River, 8-3, on March 27. ... Thursday's game will mark Rocky River's second region final (2018) since lacrosse became an OHSAA-sanctioned sport in 2017.

by Skip Snow

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