Kinnelon tops Madison in a soaker

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

MADISON– The heavy rains didn’t bother Kinnelon goalkeeper Ryan Ulrich on Saturday. In fact he watched his Madison opponents intently for some telltale signs while guarding the net.

“The offensive players, their sticks (pockets) are baggy,’’ Ulrich said. “You can kind of see where they are going to shoot.’’

That certainly helped in Kinnelon’s 7-5 triumph over Madison in a cold, rainy Saturday morning regular-season contest on the Dodgers’ turf.

Kobi Frankel, Mike Maniero and Mike Alaimo scored two goals apiece for the Colts, who are trying to work their way back to the .500 mark at 3-6.

Midfielder Colin McLinden scored twice forMadison (2-6). Madison trailed 7-2 at the half and worked its way back into the game but the Dodgers squandered opportunities in the final minutes that might have gotten them closer.

This year’s matchup lost a little bit of luster from last season when the two teams played in a Morris County Tournament final and a Group I quarterfinal. Graduation losses have weakened them both considerably but the Colts and the Dodgers still hold their grudges.

“It was good to come back after last season losing to them in the states,’’ Ulrich said. “Just beating them on their home turf felt good.’’

Kinnelon’s Kobi Frankel tries to make a move past Madison defender Eddie Carr and goalie Brett Anton.

Kinnelon, last year’s MCT champs, got a measure of state tournament revenge it but it had to work for it. Offensive player have some advantages as well as drawbacks when playing in the pouring rain.

 “You can dictate where you’re going which kind of skews off the other defenders but it really just comes down to hustle and who wants it at the end,’’ Frankel, an attackman said. “In shooting it becomes a huge factor because you’re hands are really, really wet. If you tape up your stick and get ready for the game you should be okay but, you have to finish shots.’’

Finishing has been a skill the Colts have struggled with lately. Last year seniors Mike Crampton and Nick DePaolera hit the back of the net with regularity. Now a new Colts attack has to get into the habit of fueling the offense.

“It takes a lot of practice,’’ Frankel said. “It’s a lot of after-practice shooting. How much time you put into it is how much you get out of it.’’

Kinnelon defenseman Sean Robbins tries to clear the ball while being pressured by a Madison attackman.

The Colts burst out early with a 4-0 lead built by a pair of goals by Maniero and scores by Frankel and Alaimo.

McLinden got Madison on the board with 10.39 left in the second quarter. However, Kinnelon would score the next three goals, the last coming with 9 seconds remaining when Peter Morreale converted a Frankel feed.

However, Madison got a big boost before the half when Billy Battaglia put in a McLInden pass with one second left to make it 7-2 at the half.

“We play the same every game,’’ Frankel said. “We come out and know our matchups and that’s about it. Our team is definitely a first half team. We just need to bring it and put it away.’’

The Dodgers settled in during the second half, played great defense and did just enough to make it interesting. McLinden connected with 3:18 left in the game to make it 7-5. They had several opportunities in the remaining minutes but a couple of missed shots and an ill-timed offsides call eventually made them give the ball up and the Colts were able to run out the clock and vanquish an opponent in time for lunch.

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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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