West Morris has game worth remembering

By Mark Kitchin


WASHINGTONTWP. (Morris) – It’s not always best to have a short memory on the lacrosse field. However, that quality worked to West Morris’ advantage during a 16-8 victory over Roxbury on Saturday.

Attackman Shawn Barnes had four goals and three assists and midfielder Kevin Reidinger registered a hat trick for the Wolfpack. The win lifts West Morris to 3-2 on the season.

Roxbury had some strong performances by Brendan Riefberg (two goals and two assists) and Aaron Bossard (two goals). There just weren’t enough of them to earn a road win.

The Wolfpack wanted to wipe out any thoughts of Friday’s 8-5 loss to previously winless Madisonas quickly as possible going into the contest against the rival Gaels. The bounce-back win says a lot for a young team which will face some severe tests next week.

Roxbury’s Brendan Riefberg is sandwiched by two West Morris players during Saturday’s game.

“I know as a goalie, personally you need to have a short memory,’’ West Morris keeper Nick McKaba said. “As a team you need to have a short memory because if you linger on something, it’s only going to bring you down.’’

Instead West Morris got off to a great start against Roxbury, building a 4-1 lead at the end of the first quarter. Although they surrendered some goals at intervals, the Wolfpack was never truly threatened.

“It felt good,’’ Reidinger said. “We just have to play like that the whole game and start winning some more games and more of the important games and we’ll have a good season.’’

After the graduation of a strong senior class, much of this year’s Wolfpack are truly pups when it comes to varsity play. Only five seniors see extensive duty on the field. The team is filled with mostly juniors that have limited varsity experience. It means that getting off to a good start is paramount and getting returning players like Joe DeBiasse and Shawn Barnes in good position to score is an important task.

“I think we need to start playing better offensively,’’ Reidinger said. “We need to get good cuts and get the rotations down and eventually it will come.’’

Kevin Reidinger (22) got West Morris off to a good start. He fired a hat trick on Saturday.

Scoring on the offensive end also helps keep the pressure off the Wolfpack defense and McKaba as well as defensemen Ryan Millard and Chris Cafaro, can learn from their mistakes without feeling too much pressure.

“Today the defense was definitely sloppy along with the weather,’’ said McKaba, who had nine saves. “As the season progresses were getting better and better. We’re getting a little tighter in the crease and overall we are improving.’’

The Wolfpack is employing a little more zone this year. If a team is not familiar with that style of defense, it can be tricky to learn. McKaba feels that his teammates are taking to it pretty well.

“We’ve stepped up,’’ McKaba said. “It’s kind of new to us. As a goalie I like it when our crease is tight because than I see outside shots — which is exactly what I want to see in a game. I can save those.’’

The first two goals in the opening minutes of the game came off the stick of Reidinger. His ability to win faceoffs and establish possession despite a raw, windy day on West Morris’ muddy field gave the Wolfpack a boost on Saturday.

“I feel it’s my job to do that,’’ Reidinger said. “I also need to work on getting other players involved in scoring goals and keeping my head up when I dodge. We just have to play better.’’

West Morris’ Joe DeBiasse looks for an opening but he’s pressured by Roxbury’s Sean Wilson.

Scores by A. J. Caruso and DeBiasse helped West Morris score four of the first five goals in the game. The Wolfpack led 6-2 at the half and gradually increased their advantage throughout the second half, often scoring twice whenever Roxbury managed to put one in the net.

“The offense looked good and the defense cleaned it up as we went along,’’ McKaba said. “We ended on a high note. It’s a good way to go into Monday.’’

The victory was necessary because next week looks extremely rough with the state’s top-ranked teamSummit(on Monday), Chatham and Delbarton coming up. There will be some tough learning lessons during that stretch of games that the players would be prudent to remember but there may be just as many moments of frustration that might be best forgotten.


About mcvbb

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

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