Morris County teams continue tournament play

 By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

Long bus rides are a hazard of the playoff season and are often detrimental to lacrosse teams. The sport has grown tremendously over the course of the decade but not so much as to create sectional titles in teams for both north and south like girls lacrosse.

Morristownis one of many teams that will have to make a trek in order to continue in state play. The players will get out of class early in order to take a two-hour trip south to play Shawnee in a second round Group III contest on Thursday. Many area teams will be in action as public school games go into their quarterfinal round games start up.

Morristown coach Jeff Bigas has taken many long trips as a player in high school and college at Salisbury State. He expects the Colonials to perform as best they can.

“One of the first things I said to the guys after congratulating them was that we have to have surpreme focus right now,’’ said Bigas after their opening win against Vernon on Tuesday. “On top of playing a good team, we are going to be sitting on the bus for two hours. We’ll leave school early. We will get down there in plenty of time. We will relax and have a nice stretch and take care of our bodies.

“The key to it is focus and taking care of your body. When you prepare your mind and body you are going to be ready. Plus, they are teenagers. They are made of rubber. When they get up they are ready to go. At the end of the day it’s two good lacrosse teams that are ready to battle.’’

Morristown toppled Vernon, 9-2 on Tuesday with strong performances by Stephen Delargy and Connor Dolan. The Colonials stellar defensive effort continues this year. Alec Schunk, Mat Drake, David Levine, Mike Norton and goalkeeper Gordy Pierce have made Morristowna formidable foe.

Pat Higgins (4) is among the Morristown players who can help the Colonials advance in state play on Thursday.

Offensively, Delargy sets the tone. He is an adept passer, skillful dodger and has a hard shot. Recent losses against Delbarton and Ridgewood have made them a sharper team. If the Colonials can get off to a good start and continue their intensity on defense, they can compete against one of the betterSouth Jerseyteams.

Group II

Montville at Summit– The Mustangs advanced on Tuesday with a terrific 12-9 road win at Hopewell Valley. Nick Mayse is often the offensive catalyst and Jake Haimson and Ryan O’Lear have been the finishers of late. Montville is in an uphill battle against the states best. Summit won its 64th consecutive game with a 13-0 shutout of Jefferson. The Hilltoppers have a formidable zone defense that few teams have threatened. Summit’s Jules Godino is on everybody’s list forNew Jersey’s top defenseman.

Mendham at Somerville – The Minutemen rallied in the second half to eliminate Red Bank. They will have a closer road game against the Pioneers. Mendham is talented and did end the season well. Drayer Van Orden and Liam McAdams is a formidable tandem. Tyler Purdue and freshman Will Robinson are talented midfielders and the defense with goalie Tyler Avallone as the anchor limit offensive-minded opponents.Somerville outlasted Seneca 13-10 on Tuesday. Dan Remoli had three goals and five assists for the Pioneers.

Holmdel at Chatham – The Cougars cruised past Pascack Valley11-3 on Tuesday. Sam Carson scored a hat trick in Chatham’s win. Corey Heideran, Matt Proto and Nick Guida also generate offense for Chatham. John Radigan and Greg DeLade are among its muscle on defense. The Cougars have been tested with a tough schedule and should work their way through this quarterfinal contest.

Group I

Madison at Mountain Lakes– The Dodgers and the Lakers have some past history but have not played against each other this year. Mountain Lakes advanced with a dominating 13-1 victory overVerona on Tuesday. Jon Broome and Bill Burgoyne have become the team’s finishers. Rob Orazetti has also upped his game while midfielders Tim LaBeau and Greg Cuccinello have become playmakers this year. Mountain Lakes has also been solid on defense and deserve the top seed in Group I. Madison struggled early in the season but got progressively better over the course of the year. Freshman sensation Christian Scarpello is scratching the surface of what he can do. He had six goals in the team’s 15-6 win over Robbinsville on Tuesday. Colin McLinden is a skillful playmaker and goalie Brett Anton is capable of getting hot and shutting teams down.

Kinnelon at Mahway – The Colts will be challenged against second-seeded Mahwah. Against Bernards in an 11-6 victory on the road, tenth-seeded Kinnelon received great performances from Mike Alaimo (five goals) and goalkeeper Ryan Ullrich (17 saves). Brian Gnad and Kobi Frankel has picked up on the offensive end. The anchor of the Kinnelon defense is Orrin Main, the lone starter from last year’s Morris County Tournament champions.

Non-Public A

Bergen Catholic at Delbarton – Delbarton makes its state tournament debut against an old rival. James Ward scored four goals inBergen’s 8-7 win over St. Peter’s Prep on Tuesday. The Morris County Tournament champs have reclaimed their spot among the top teams this year. Clay Haarmann and Jack Malloy hit the nets with regularity. Jack Breit is an offensive defenseman and Will Reynolds and Spencer Huston have also impressed.

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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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