CREVE COEUR • MICDS senior Henry Carpenter was a lot kinder to the De Smet boys’ lacrosse squad off the field than he had been on it.
“They’re a good team,” Carpenter said of the Spartans. “They game planned for us very well. They came out and gave their best effort.”
De Smet gave the five-time defending state champs all the fight they wanted Thursday night, but the visiting Rams had too much firepower, beating the Spartans 15-12 behind four-goal performances by seniors Graham Bundy Jr., Thomas Clarkson and Carpenter, who had three of his scores during the pivotal third quarter.
“Carpenter is just a dangerous shooter,” said MICDS coach Andy Kay of his Penn State-bound midfielder. “He plays way out on the edge, with a lot of tenacity. He’s a pretty angry guy out there.”
Carpenter and the Rams had something to be angry about. After two quarters, they held just a 7-5 lead over the tenacious Spartans.
“We have to give a lot of respect,” Kay said. “Coach (Joe) Douglas is a very good defensive coach. I feel like he outcoached me, my offense versus his defense tonight. I think his defense was more prepared. And frankly, their offense shredded our defense in ways other teams haven’t done to us this year.”
De Smet (12-4) rallied from an early 2-0 deficit with three consecutive goals - two by senior midfielder Luke Wetzel and one by attackman Dan Kinzel, who led the Spartans with five goals and two assists. Wetzel finished with three goals and a pair of dimes.
The Rams (13-1) traded goals with the Spartans to the end of the first quarter, then ratcheted up their defensive intensity, holding De Smet scoreless nearly the entire second quarter. But 11 seconds before intermission, Kinzel made a nice spin move from the crease to the front of the net firing a shot from point-blank range to close the gap to 7-5.
“I think Kinzel has made his point that he’s one of the best attackmen in the state,” Douglas said.
MICDS drove home its own points — figuratively and literally — in the third quarter, scoring six of the period’s first eight goals to create just enough distance to hold on and win.
Carpenter scored three of those goals, taking full advantage of a Spartans’ defense that paid too much attention to Boston University-bound senior Thomas Niedringhaus.
“We kind of keyed in on (Niedringhaus) as the one matchup we were going to struggle with,” Douglas said. “We did some extra things to shut him down, but unfortunately we let some other guys have more than they should.”
Carpenter and Bundy scored back-to-back, less than 15 seconds apart, to open up a 13-7 advantage late in the third quarter.
Bundy set the state record for career points on April 25 during a 25-4 win against St. Louis University High. The Georgetown-bound senior midfielder said he didn’t realize he’d set the new record until one of the team’s coaches called him about it days later.
“I was half asleep when the call came,” Bundy said. “I was like, ‘That’s sweet,” and then I thought “we have a season to finish,” and that was the bottom line. It was a 10-second conversation.”
MICDS will finish its regular season next Tuesday night at home against Lafayette. First, the playoff-bound Rams will get a test at Eureka (14-4) 7 p.m. Sunday evening, making up a previously scheduled showdown that was rained out.
Kay said Thursday’s close game against De Smet couldn’t have come at a better time.
“I’m actually excited,” Kay said. “We won and we have a goldmine of film to watch so that we can improve. You don’t always find that in a blowout win.”
MICDS and De Smet could meet again in the late rounds of the MSLA playoffs, as they did last year in the semifinals. If it happens, the Spartans also will be glad to have film to look at.