Well, what do you know? Solon’s Chris Humphrey can fly.
Humphrey scored five crucial goals in a stretch that blew open a tight lacrosse contest in the second half against North Canton Hoover.
But his final goal was his masterpiece as he leapt into the heavens to pull in a pass from fellow teammate Matt DiCarro and splashed home a spectacular score that left no doubt as to the contest’s outcome or its top player.
“I didn’t know it was going to be that high,” Humphrey said of the pass. “It felt real good. I just got it on my stick and slammed it down.”
Humphrey slammed down six goals overall with two assists as the Comets produced the game’s last nine goals to upend visiting Hoover, 17-8, in the second round of the Ohio High School Lacrosse Association Division I Tournament on Thursday night. Thunderstorms and heavy rain delayed the game two hours.
The Comets (11-4) avenged an earlier 13-12 loss to the Vikings (12-4) on April 15, beating them for the first time in the school’s history. Sam Littman and Tres Barksdale each scored three goals and had an assist. Hoover senior captain Brock Grandjean had two goals.
The Comets will visit Hudson on Saturday in the regional final, although a time has yet to be set. The Explorers defeated Kent Roosevelt, 7-2, on Thursday night and will face Solon with an 18-1 record. The one loss, however, came at Solon, 13-12, in double overtime on April 21.
Since moving to Division I play in 2009, this is the Comets’ deepest penetration into the playoffs, having lost in the play-in game two years ago and in the first round last season. Now that he’s crossed a new barrier, Solon coach Hans Rydquist can’t wait to face his alma mater once again.
“It’ll be a tough one. We were their only loss of the season, so I’m sure they’re hungry to get that one back. We just need to ride this momentum and come out strong again,” Rydquist said.
For a time, Thursday’s playoff contest appeared headed in the same direction as the two schools’ earlier match in April. But Humphrey made sure the Vikings didn’t get any ideas.
As the second half began, Hoover’s Keith Hart and Brandon Crues scored goals to knot the game, 8-8, but Humphrey scored a pair of unassisted goals that the Vikings never answered.
After Terry Tsivitste weaved through the Vikings’ defenses to feed Littman for a score, Humphrey flipped a nifty pass from behind the net and over to Littman, which the sophomore buried at point-blank range for a 12-8 lead with six seconds left in the third quarter.
Tres Barksdale scored two goals in the fourth quarter that bookended Humphrey’s three scores to close out the game.
The Comets’ defense held firm against the Vikings in the second half and that helped senior goalie Keith LePorte have eight saves.
“It just came down to hustle, and we wanted it more than they did. It was the first time we ever beat them. It felt great,” LePorte said.