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Stoneman Douglas lacrosse team honors fallen classmates

Courtesy: Sun-Sentinel

Standing underneath the lights of Cumber Stadium, the Stoneman Douglas players lined the home sidelines for the first time since the Parkland shooting that claimed the lives of 17 people.

Clad in all white jerseys and helmet decals featuring the faces of all the victims, the team released 17 angel balloons before the contest in honor of the fallen members of the community.

While there was remembrance and recognition of last month’s tragedy throughout the night, it also symbolized a moment of moving forward for the lacrosse team.

Playing in front of an energetic crowd of over 400 people — many wearing white “Strong 17” shirts — the Eagles got back to business in its home debut. Junior attackman Tommy Frank scored 45 seconds into the contest as Stoneman Douglas rolled past Cardinal Gibbons 11-4.

Senior Sam Bailin led the Eagles with three goals and two assists on the night. Adam Brodsky, Ryan Kavanaugh and Frank each tallied two goals. Goalie Ryan Ditsch made eight saves in net.

“It feels really good,” Douglas coach Ryan Burton said. “The kids got the emotion off their chest. For at least two and a half hours, they didn’t have to think of anything else and they could actually control something. The past month, they really haven’t had the opportunity to control anything.”

The school’s home field had the words “MSD Strong” in block letters and the Eagle painted on the South side. The artwork and design was contributed by members of the Miami Dolphins organization. Head groundskeeper Tom Wilson and crew member Tim Collins, along with Luke Freeman of Wizard Creations put the logo on the field earlier in the day.

With the win, the Eagles improved to 4-0 on the season. While the high school lacrosse season officially began three weeks ago, the start of Stoneman Douglas’ season was delayed until this week.

In Friday night’s contest, the Eagles jumped out to a quick lead versus the visiting Chiefs (4-1). After taking a 2-0 first-quarter lead, Stoneman Douglas tacked on one more to end the frame. In transition, Bailin tossed a behind-the-back pass to Frank, who finished for the goal.

Douglas led 6-3 going into halftime and pushed the advantage to 8-3 at the end of the third quarter.

For Cardinal Gibbons, James Foster led the team with three goals.

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