BUTLER TWP — Seneca Valley had an impressive run of its own, but when it mattered most, momentum belonged to Butler.
After the Raiders had scored five straight goals to tie Monday night’s boys lacrosse game at 8-all, the Golden Tornado scored three times in a span of two minutes and 42 seconds to earn an 11-8 win at Art Bernardi Stadium.
Jake Harrison, Clay Bachman and Nick Whann tallied the late goals that helped Butler move its overall record to 7-8 in the program’s first season of WPIAL Division I play.
“It’s a game of momentum,” said Tornado coach Brandon Hoskinson. “You get a bounce here and a bounce there and you have to run with it. Our seniors had never beaten Seneca Valley and they wanted this one bad.”
Seneca Valley’s second-half run included goals from Ben Jarrett, Joe Sanislo, Tanner Pfeffer, Derek Finney and Lucas Smith, with Smith’s score tying the game with six minutes left in the final period.
“We told our guys at halftime that if they came out flat, Seneca would take advantage of it and that’s what happened,” said Hoskinson.
But just one minute after the game was tied up, Harrison took a pass from Bachman and sent a shot past Raider goalie Jordan Culichia, giving Butler the lead for good.
“It just came down to heart and not giving up,” Harrison said of his team’s scoring spree that turned the tide. “This was the last home game for our seniors and to help them get a win, it means everything. We proved that we can play with Division I teams this year. I think we proved a lot of people wrong.”
It was the sixth consecutive defeat for the Raiders (4-10).
“Lapses in play continue to get us,” said SV coach Lance Diamond. “We gave up a few goals there at the end and we couldn’t win any of the faceoffs to give ourselves another opportunity.”
Earlier in the night, Seneca turned the tables on Butler during a point in the game that should have favored the Tornado.
Following a pair of penalties on Seneca Valley at the end of the first quarter, Butler began the second period with a two-man advantage. But 20 seconds into the quarter, it was Seneca Valley’s Rick Warner who found the net, giving the Raiders a 3-1 lead.
“We had a play drawn up, but threw the ball away and then got lazy on defense,” Hoskinson said of the sequence. “We called a timeout and were able to settle things down.”
Maybe it was the timeout that calmed Butler’s players down, or maybe it was the fact that moments after the action resumed, the Tornado had the Raiders on their heels. Butler reeled off seven unanswered goals before halftime and took an 8-3 lead into the break.
Pfeffer and Smith both scored twice for SV.
Culichia stopped seven shots in net for the Raiders and Brandon Martin five for Butler.
Both teams will close the 2013 season today.