Strong senior leadership has a way of short-circuiting thoughts of dread and despair when things don't go as planned.
In a nonleague lacrosse showdown Thursday at Conestoga, Zach Drake and Aidan Kerrigan made sure of that.
The La Salle seniors helped the Explorers escape with a 10-9 come-from-behind victory, which earlier, had the look and feel of a heartbreaking collapse.
That is until Kerrigan whipped in the game-winner after all else failed.
"We drew it up on the sideline, and we had a couple plays going in," he said. "I think we tried three, but none of them worked. We just pulled it out, and I saw a matchup and just took it."
After grabbing a 5-1 second-quarter advantage, the Explorers (10-4) fell behind, 8-6, with nine minutes left in the fourth.
Steve Hildebrand and Sam Bouhdary scored back-to-back goals for the Pioneers (9-9) after Sam Friedman tied the game in the third quarter.
Brett Baskin and Cody Mazurek doubled up for La Salle to tie the game, and Drake ripped a rocket for the go-ahead goal with 2 minutes, 17 seconds remaining.
"Same thing again," Drake said. "We had a couple plays written up and they played some good defense. We're just taught to swing the ball around and they were a little late. I just saw the opportunity and stepped in."
Greg Taicher also peeped an opportunity, flipping a Pioneer goal with 11 seconds left in regulation.
However, with a pinch of sophomore poise and a heaping of senior savvy, the Explorers left victorious.
Anthony Guiliani won the opening faceoff and gave the Explorers the overtime's only possession.
"We've been in games like this before," Kerrigan said. "Last year, we played St. Joe's (Prep) in the (Catholic League championship) and Zach had the game-winner with eight seconds left. When everything fell through, he just took his man and scored. So we've had experiences like this before. It's just part of being a senior."
La Salle 3 2 1 3 1 - 10
Conestoga 0 3 3 3 0 - 9
LS: Aidan Kerrigan 2, Craig Coleman, Brett Baskin 2, Cody Mazurek, Colin Cahill 2, Zach Drake, Kevin Lacon.
C: Sam Friedman 2, Greg Taicher 2, Jace Kienzle, Steve Hildebrand 2, Brant Pittman, Sam Bouhdary.
LS-Conor Scafidi 10; C-John Roulston 8.