Game-changing plays lift Mount Olive

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

ROCKAWAY — Scoring a goal while down a man or converting a turnover off a ride are both potential game-changing plays in lacrosse. So when Mount Olive was able to do both in a 4-minute span, good things followed the Marauders.

Attackmen Aaron Gonzalez and Pete Shaver scored four goals each and Mount Olive came away with a 16-7 triumph over Morris Hills in a Saturday afternoon contest.

Tyler McEvoy added two goals and two assists and Tyler Scheiss had a strong ground- ball game for the Marauders which improved 2-1 on the season. Mount Olive pulled away with an 8-2 fourth-quarter burst.

Jeff Dirdack had the hat trick for Morris Hills which dropped to 1-2.

Mount Olive long stick Nick Verrone pushes the ball up the field for the victorious Marauders.

Shaver scored man-down goals on two separate occasions for the Mount Olive which dealt with some foolish penalties that could have caused trouble. It was Gonzalez who snagged a Morris Hills clearing pass and patiently volleyed the ball into the net to help start a Marauders fourth-quarter run.

“They are both pretty different in their style of play,’’ Mount Olive coach Dave Gallucci said. “They are both very effective. You get the ball to them in space and they can make things happen. They are both very smart and very unselfish.’’

The Marauders, like many teams in the early season, are trying to establish their offensive groove. Last year, Jake Padolnick was the Marauders go-to guy when it came to creating offense. Padolnick is scoring goals for Air Force now, so Mount Olive has to find new heroes to put the ball in the net.

“We will never have another Jake,’’ Gallucci said. “The kids know that. He had 103 points for us and set every school record we have. We can’t replace him so we have to get scoring from all over the place. That’s what we’ve done. We have guys that can score from all over the field.’’

Trying to fill the void has energized the offensive unit and Mount Olive is spreading chances around offensively.

“We’re just trying to work more as a team,’’ Shaver said. “We’re making sure that everything isn’t focused on just one guy.’’

Nine different players in all scored for the Marauders on Saturday.

“We all know that we can trust each other when we have to and were not worried about making mistakes,’’ Gonzalez added.

Mount Olive defenseman Russ Sinicin is active on the clear during Saturday’s game.

Gallucci was a little disappointed in some senseless penalties and silly mistakes that his team made during the early season contest but was satisfied in the ultimate result.

Mount Olive built a 7-3 halftime lead with the help of a four-goal second-quarter run in which Gonzalez had a pair of scores. However, the Scarlet Knights were within three goals late in the third and early in the fourth quarter before the Marauders were able to put them away.

Shaver scored the first of his two man-down goals with 1:56 left in the third quarter. Tyler Scheiss ground ball clear helped set up Gonzalez sweeping lefty shot from the right side to make it 8-4.

“I got my head into the game,’’ Shaver said. “I saw the advantages and I took them. I saw the goal open up and I just took the shot and put it in.’’

A careless Marauders penalty yielded a Dirdack goal with 30 seconds left in the quarter to make it an 8-5 game going into the final period.

Mount Olive’s Aaron Gonzalez celebrates a first-half goal in the Marauders road triumph.

However, Mount Olive changed the momentum back one more time with an alert play. Gonzalez ranged to his left to pick off a clearing pass from the Scarlet Knights goalie and calmly lofted a shot towards the net.

“We stopped them from getting the pass off, intercepted it and got the goal,’’ Gonzalez said. “I was just covering the area and making sure no guys came through. Once I got it I tried to run a little bit closer and get the shot off. ’’

The score made it 9-5. Less than a minute later Gonzalez scored on an unassisted goal to make it a 5-goal game. They had a six-goal run in all. When Shaver added a man-up goal with three minutes left, it gave Mount Olive a commanding 15-5 lead and eventually a solid road win.

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About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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