It was now or never for the Riverside boys lacrosse team.
Winless going into their season finale on Friday, the Pirates finally put the pieces together and celebrated a victory for the first time after winning 11-8 on the road against conference rival Northern Durham.
In what has been a season full of frustration, Riverside made sure it would be ending the year on a high note.
“Huge,” said first-year Riverside coach Grant Cullinan of the win. “Especially for our seniors, they really needed that one. It was something that was long coming and long overdue. So we’re really happy about it.”
Well-balanced on offense, six different players scored for the Pirates. Senior attacker Jeremy White led the way with three scores and his best play of the day came in the third quarter when he received a pass right in front of the crease and went between his legs for a jaw-dropping goal.
“It’s definitely a better representation of what I wanted the season to be,” White said about the goal. “But it couldn’t have been better. Thankfully I had my teammates to recognize me today.”
For a large stretch of the game, Riverside’s defense was rock solid with scoring chances coming few and far between for the Knights. On the other end of the field, its offense came to life in the second half, as a two-goal halftime advantage ballooned to six in the fourth quarter.
In addition to White, junior midfielder Sean O’Keefe, senior attacker Jaylyn Barbee and senior midfielder Matt Schutz each recorded multi-goal games.
The loss was a disappointment for Northern Durham because the Knights felt they were more than capable of capturing their first conference win of the season and it was also a blow to their playoff hopes.
Still, Northern Durham coach Gordon Galloway was appreciative of the fight his players displayed.
On multiple occasions they cut Riverside’s lead down to three in the fourth quarter.
“No quit at all,” Galloway said of his team. “I think the box score is evidence of that.”
Senior attacker Brandon Lee scored a team-high for the Knights in the loss.