Good Counsel scored the first goal of the game and seized the early momentum against DeMatha, but it was only a desert like mirage on a hot day at DeMatha's dusty field at Riverdale Park.
The Stags went on a 6-0 scoring run to take control of the game and cruised to a 12-6 victory to play Gonzaga in the WCAC championship game Friday night at the University of Maryland.
"We came out fired up and the seniors knew this was the last time we would get to play on our dirt field. We wanted to send it out the right way,"Stag attack Pat Harbeson said.
While neither coach put too much stake in into "dust bowl factor" the Stags' players felt it was an advantage.
"Its our homefield advantage," Harbeson said. "Its an advantage to play here, we practice and play here. They (referring to Good Counsel) have not played in the dust bowl or Riverdale their whole careers and in warmups before the game we could tell they were not used to it and were trying to figure it out. We love it."
The Stags completely flipped the script on the regular season matchup between the squads. The first meeting saw DeMatha win 8-7.
"We felt we were two evenly matched teams," DeMatha coach Scott Morrison said. "I didn't expect a win by six goals today, I expected a win, but not by six. We out groundballed them and at half we had about 12 more than they did, which is a simple recipe for success."
Virginia-bound attackman Pat Harbeson led the Stags offense with four goals and led DeMatha early on as he scored a hat trick before halftime. Jimmy Rogers and Ryan Belka each added a goal. The 6-0 scoring run was capped off by Phillip Poe, who rebounded the ball off a saved shot and got it past the Falcons' goal keeper in a cloud of dust to cap the run.
Good Counsel briefly stopped the Stags's scoring barrage when Brendan Durkin scored his first of two goals on an isolation play to make it a 6-2 game with just 12 seconds before halftime.
The Stags immediately regained the momentum just seconds into the second half when Hilly Summers scored his first of three goals on a hard, long shot into the back of the net to make it 7-2 DeMatha with 11:45 to go in the third quarter. Just 33 seconds later, the Falcons' goal keeper was called for an offsides and Stags' attack Marty Wallace scored his first of two goals from outside the restraining line to give DeMatha an insurmountable 8-2 lead.
The Falcons, led by Sean Wright, tried to rally for a comeback, but Wright's four-goal effort was not enough as the Stags would add four more goals down the stretch to prevent any Good Counsel comeback.
"I only had one shot in the first half and coach told me the only way were going to win is if I had two or three goals," Wright said. "So I stepped up and tried to make plays for my team, but it was too little too late."
The Stags will move on to play Gonzaga in the WCAC Championship game, which will take place Friday at 7 p.m. at the University of Maryland's Ludwig Field.