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Thursday, April 18, 2013
One of the most inviting Roanoke College-Washington and Lee lacrosse matchups in recent memory comes complete with a local angle.
Both teams have freshmen from the Roanoke Valley in contributing roles, Hidden Valley graduate Will Pilat for the Maroons and Patrick Henry's Will Douthat for the Generals.
Pilat, the son of longtime Maroons coach Bill Pilat, starts on attack for 13th-ranked Roanoke (11-3, 7-0 Old Dominion Athletic Conference) and is second on the team in goals with 25.
Douthat takes a regular shift at midfield for ninth-ranked Washington and Lee (11-2, 5-1).
"He's definitely had an impact on the success we've had this season," said seventh-year W&L coach Gene McCabe , who brings his Generals to Salem on Saturday for a 2 p.m. face-off at Donald Kerr Stadium.
It will be the highest the teams have been ranked at the time of their annual meeting since second-ranked Roanoke beat No. 5 Washington and Lee 14-13 in overtime in 2009. Weeks later, the Generals defeated then-No. 1 Roanoke 15-14 in overtime.
Both of those games were in Salem.
Washington and Lee also boasts a victory over a No. 1 team this year, having knocked off reigning Division III national champion Salisbury on Feb. 20 on the Sea Gulls' home field, 7-6 in overtime .
Salisbury subsequently routed Roanoke College in Salem, 17-5, but the Maroons have won nine games in a
row since their March 17 meeting.
"I think our guys have gotten a little bit older since then," said Pilat, who actually starts two freshmen on attack - his 6-foot-5, 185-pound son and 5-9, 170-pound Tyler McWilliams , a Downington, Pa. , product who has 20 goals and 21 assists.
They team with senior Richard Lachlan , a Canadian who has a team-high 46 points (37 goals, nine assists).
Senior attackman Mac Means (28 goals, 15 assists) is the leading scorer on a W&L team that plans eventually to give Douthat more of an offensive role.
"He's playing a lot of defensive midfield for us," McCabe said, "but he has a lot of offensive skills as well. We knew he had a level of athleticism to play at our level."
Patrick Henry senior Jonathan Gomez , the Timesland boys swimmer of the year, signed a letter of intent Wednesday with St. Peter's University in Jersey City, N.J. Gomez, who left his native Colombia in the face of growing violence, went to St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City before moving to Roanoke with his family in the summer of 2012.
Also taking part in a signing ceremony Wednesday at Patrick Henry was Caroline Brailsford , an All-Timesland pole vaulter and volleyball player who earlier had committed to North Carolina. A third PH senior, Tricia Jessee , said she is going to W&L to play soccer.
-- Third baseman Keith Yancey , batting .483 as a senior on the James River High School baseball team, has made an oral commitment to Bluefield College. Yancey, who is in his third year on the varsity, also has experience at first base. James River has won eight straight Pioneer District titles.
Carter Wright , a freshman from Hidden Valley in Roanoke, scored a season-high 27 points for Mars Hill against Lenoir-Rhyne in the next-to-last game of the season. Wright started 14 of the 17 games in which he played and averaged 11.9 points, hitting 30 of 90 3-pointers.
-- Denaisha Christian , a Ball State freshman from Patrick Henry in Roanoke, was named Mid-American Conference gymnast of the meet for her performance in a four-way March 21 meet with Iowa, San Jose State and Southern Utah.
Christian, a product of the Roanoke Academy of Gymnastics, had the best score in the vault by a Ball State women's gymnast this year. She took third in the vault at the MAC championships.
Lee Moon , guest speaker Monday at the Roanoke Valley Sports Club, is in his fourth year as athletic director at the University of North Florida and watched his Ospreys lose three games to fellow Atlantic Sun Conference member and NCAA Sweet 16 participant Florida Gulf Coast.
Gavin Stephenson, a 6-3 VMI freshman from Columbia, Md., has popped up on the cbssportsline.com list of Division I men's basketball players who are planning to transfer. Stephenson played in 22 of 31 games and was 10th on the team in minutes played while averaging 2.2 points.
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