The Oakton High boys lacrosse team suppressed a comeback from the Centreville Wildcats to advance to the Concorde District Tournament semifinals with a 10-8 win on Friday.
Last year, the Cougars fell to the Robinson Rams in the semifinals. They will face the top-seeded Chantilly Chargers. The Chargers are 5-0 against Concorde District opponents. The No. 4 .
Michael Durst opened scoring for the Cougars on Friday within two minutes of the first quarter. Stephen Lambrides, back on the field after being sidelined for nine games with an illness, followed with a goal of his own before the Wildcats could answer.
"It felt great to be back. I've been watching on the sidelines for so long, so it just felt so good to be back out there," said Lambrides, who tied with Durst to lead the Cougars in scoring with three goals.
Durst and Sean Schweiker each added a goal in the last three minutes of the first quarter to put the Cougars up 4-1.
Though the Wildcats pulled within one goal in the first six minutes of the second quarter, the Cougars added three — one each from Lambrides, Jack Harris and Evan Lalande — for a 7-3 advantage heading into halftime.
"[Centreville has] done an awesome job all season long of coming out hot in the second half. I knew they were going to come back, and we talked about it at halftime to try to stay fired up," Coach Grif Barhight said. "They're a very good team. Jed [Williams] is just awesome. He has my vote for district coach of the year. He took the small number of guys they had and did an amazing job."
The Wildcats took back the momentum with three straight goals starting within the first minute of the fourth quarter to pull within a point. The Cougars answered with a goal from Schweiker, assisted by Cory Harris, but the Wildcats added another goal to put the scoreboard at 8-7 with 5:42 on the clock.
Durst netted his third goal of the night to an eruption of cheers from the Cougar fans and players on the sideline. But the Wildcats did not allow the shift in the stadium's atmosphere to shake them, finding the back of the net to again trail by one.
Lambrides, with an assist from Lalande, tossed in the final goal of the night with about two minutes remaining to put the game out of reach with a 10-8 final score.
"We have been put in that position [of one-point differences] all year long, and I think tonight might have been the first time we actually positively responded each time it happened," Lambrides said. "I think that's a turning point for our season. I think it'll help carry us in the postseason. The crowd, our sidelines, they were all getting loud and that's a huge part of this game."
The Cougars will travel to Chantilly for the semifinal matchup at 7 p.m. Tuesday.