Morristown handles the heat in state win over Vernon

By Mark Kitchin


MORRISTOWN– Nothing was going to stop Morristown boys lacrosse from winning their opening round state tournament game on Tuesday. Despite the uncommonly warm May day and the stingyVernon zone defense, the Colonials found ways to score and keep their opponents from scoring in a 9-2 victory over the Vikings on Morristown’s turf field.

Stephen Delargy had three goals and three assists and Brad Hersh had two goals and two assists for the Colonials (16-3).Morristown advances and will jump on a bus to face Shawnee in the quarterfinal round tournament on Thursday. Shawnee defeated Wall 15-3 on Tuesday.

Jack Jerwick and Justin Casler scored goals for the Vikings. The finalists of the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex tournament finished the season at (12-8).

Morristown’s Connor Dolan grabbed 13 ground balls and dished a pair of assists on Tuesday.

Morristown was coming off a bit of a slump with losses to Delbarton, Mendham and Ridgewood in recent weeks but the tough competition seemed to sharpen the team’s play. They led throughout, building on a 4-1 halftime advantage.

“I feel like our team got off really well and we made a lot of good plays on both offense and defense,’’ defenseman Mat Drake said. “Our defense really stuck together. ’’

“It’s good to be headed on the right track as far as where we were last year,’’ midfielder Connor Dolan said. “Last year we lost in the semifinals so were hoping to bring it a little further than that this year.’’

In past year’s Morristown had scrimmaged against Harry Shortway coached teams. The former Jefferson coach has been directing Vernonfor the past couple of years. His teams have always displayed tricky zone defenses. Morristown coach Jeff Bigas gave credit to his defense for being able to mimic the Vikings for part of the week.

Morristown’s Stephen Delargy makes a move to the cage during Tuesday’s state tournament contest.

“We knew the zone was coming so we prepared for it,’’ Bigas said. “All of the six on six situations we worked on in practice and we went on the defense and into the zone look and the man look. Our defense, we don’t play it all that much, it was out of their norm to do it but they did a great job of giving us a look. They were out to come out her playing our defense after spending half a week doing someone else’s defense. We did well holding them to two goals.’’

The trick was to move the ball and not get frustrated.

“Getting into the playoffs you are going to see a lot better structure,’’ Dolan said. “The important thing is move the ball around and cuts because you can’t really dodge from up top. Just working the ball around is what it’s all about in this zone. Everyone needs to be able to pass and catch and see off ball.’’

Defensively, Morristown knew of a couple of players that they wanted to make sure didn’t get loose.

“No. 26 (Colin Purdue) was very good and No. 14 (Joe Kaczor),’’ Drake said. “We were really trying to shut them down. They did a really good job of catching us on the slide but we stepped it up. Gordy (Pierce, the Colonials goalie) really stepped up on the close shots.’’

Another constant to the Colonials success was the strong play of Dolan. He registered 13 ground balls and also notched a pair of assists. He always seemed to be around the ball.

“Connor Dolan is a warrior,’’ Bigas said. “There are very few people who work as hard as he does. I think he took a page out of the Pat Laconi book. Pat was one of our guys last year who experienced a lot of success. Dolan got after it this season. From last summer, all the way here, the kid doesn’t miss a sprint in the preseason. He worked hard today.’’

One of Morristown’s back-breaking goals was a transition score which was set up by one of Dolan’s ground balls. He would feed Hersh with 4:36 to make it a 4-1 game at halftime.

Morristown’s Kyle Goss starts a break during first half action on Tuesday in state tournament play.

The Colonials outscored the Vikings 5-1 in the second half. Another brilliant score that showed off Morristown’s stick work came with 6:59 left in regulation.

Dolan fired what looked to be a wild and high shot just inside the restraining line. TheVernon goalie, which was a replacement after Kyle Katzenberger left with an injury that turned to try and run to the end line saw that DeLargy was behind the net with the ball. He calmly fed Ross Blanchard, who hit an open net to make it 6-2.

Morristown coach Jeff Bigas instructs his players during a first-half timeout.

Morristown’s final goals came on man-up situations that were created by frustration or desperation fromVernonplayers who committed penalties in order to get the ball back. Next Morristown’s will have to travel to Shawnee for its next game which will include an hour-and-a-half bus ride to meet a very game opponent.

“When they get up they are ready to go,’’ Bigas said of his team. “At the end of the day it’s two good lacrosse teams that are ready to battle.’’

State Tournament results

Group IV

Montgomery 15, Randolph 2 – Kurt Naslonski and Kevin Terebecke scored goals for the 11th seeded Rams, who are Morris County’s only Group IV team.

Group III

Kingsway 12, Mount Olive 9 – Kingsway stunned the fourth-seeded Marauders behind Sam Trill’s three goals and three assists. Aaron Gonzalez had three goals and two assists and Connor Buoye had three goals and an assist for Mount Olive.

Moorestown 17, West Morris 5 – The Wolfpack trailed 11-2 at the half.

Group II

Summit 13, Jefferson 0 – The Hilltoppers have won 64 consecutive games and hostMontvillenext.

Montville12, Hopewell Valley 9 – It was a terrific road win for the Mustangs. Jake Haimson had four goals and two assists and Ryan O’Lear had two goals and four assists. Montville inched away with a 7-5 second-half effort.

Chatham11, Pascack Valley 3 – Sam Carson scored three goals and Corey Heideran and Matt Proto scored two goals apiece. The Cougars host Holmdel next.

Group I

Mountain Lakes 13,Verona 1 – Jon Broome and Bill Burgoyne had two goals and one assist and Rob Orazetti scored twice for the top-seeded Lakers who will hostMadisonnext.

Madison15, Robbinsville 6 – Freshman Christian Scarpello scored six goals and Colin McLinden had four goals and six assists for the Dodgers.

Rumson 12, Pequannock 3 – The Golden Panthers ended a good run with Matt Esposito, Alex Fabrizio and Ryan Macejka scoring goals.

Kinnelon 11, Bernards 6 – Mike Alaimo scored five goals and goalkeeper Ryan Uhlrich stopped 17 shots. Kinnelon, the 10th seed travels to second-seeded Mahwah next.


About mcvbb

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

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