Unbeaten Chatham edges Delbarton for a monumental triumph

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

CHATHAM– It may have been his only shot of the game, but Chatham’s Thomas Guida sure knew how to make it count.

Guida, a sophomore midfielder, scored the fourth-quarter, game-winning goal in Chatham’s 5-4 victory over Delbarton on Tuesday on the turf at Cougar Field.

Kyle Howard-Johnson scored twice and Sam Carson and Joe Ritter also scored goals for the Cougars (5-0). It is believed to be the first time that Chatham has ever beaten Delbarton in a varsity lacrosse contest although the teams have played in several close games in recent years including a one-goal battle last season.

Dillon Confalone scored twice and Jamie White and Matt Killian added goals for the Green Wave (1-3).

The contest was tied 4-4 when Guida took a feed from Kyle Howard-Johnson and fired a righty shot into the left side of the net with 7:13 left for the eventual game winner.

Matt Proto (27) and Joe Ritter (29) celebrate a first -half goal in Tuesday’s 5-4 triumph. 

“I was wide open,’’ Guida said. “Kyle Howard-Johnson, every time he gets the ball, he draws a bunch of people to him. He is such a great shooter that he just looked over the top to me. I got the goal but it was mostly him.’’

It was Guida’s only shot of the game and he made it count, benefiting from the team’s scouting reports on Green Wave goalkeeper John Schisler.

“They have such a great goalie,’’ Guida said. “We prepared a lot of shooting off stick because he is a lefty. We’re not really used to that so we put a lot of emphasis on it in practice.’’

After Guida launched his shot he took an immediate hit from a Delbarton defender but was helped up quickly. The sophomore midfielder is the younger brother of past top-notch Cougar scorers Rob and Nick Guida but he seems well on his way to forging a reputation of his own.

“He’s kind of a mix,’’Chathamcoach Tony Calandra said. “Sometimes he looks like Nicky and sometimes he looks like Robby. He has good speed and a great shot and gets in good position. He’s only a sophomore, so to step up and get the game-winner in a game like this is great.’’

Chatham’s Thomas Guida (20) tries to make a move on Delbarton’s Jamie White (20) in first half action.

Every goal counted in what was a very tight defensive contest. Chatham defensemen Thomas Stephan, Will Weichert and Owen Hewes were exceptional in their ability to stifle a young Delbarton attack. They swamped any Green Wave player brave enough to dodge to the crease and rarely did Delbarton get an open shot on goal.

 “We’ve got a lot of good players but that’s not all it takes,’’ Stephan said. “It’s all about coming together collectively. Playing a lot together helps us now because we all know each other. Everything is one moving part. Delbarton has a lot of good players so we can do some things. We think we are talented enough that we can stick with our gameplan.’’

The Chatham defense was kept active because Green Wave faceoff specialists Austin Williams won more than his share of draws. However, the Cougars forced some turnovers and plenty of low and no angle shots. What they couldn’t stop was usually scooped up by goalkeeper Corey Fritts. Fritts made eight saves including a stop in the final seconds that bounced off the front of his helmet.

“Corey comes through in big situations,’’ Stephan said. “He makes the saves that he has to. There just aren’t enough words to describe what he does for us.’’

 The contest was close throughout. There were three ties and one lead change. Back-to-back scores by Howard-Johnson in the final 2:11 of the second quarter gave the Cougars a 3-2 halftime advantage. Chatham earned the biggest lead of the game when attackman Sam Carson slipped in a low righty shot with 7:01 left in the third quarter to give the Cougars a two-goal edge.

Delbarton’s J. P. Campbell (10) keeps in step with Chatham’s David Gill (2). The Cougars led 3-2 at the half.  

Delbarton rallied behind Confalon’s goals. The Green Wave midfielder displayed plenty of savvy with his ability to place low shots with pinpoint accuracy. With 3:57 left in the third quarter, he slipped inside a defender and placed a lefty shot inside the right goalpost to make it a one-goal game. Then with 8:27 left in the game, he connected again beating Fritts in the low right corner with another lefty offering to make it a 4-4 tie.

However, the Cougars answered less than a minute later when Howard-Johnson took the ball behind the cage and found Guida with some space about 12 yards out from the crease and enough time to catch a pass and quickly thread a righty shot high and to the left side of the net.

After a groundball and timeout Chatham was able to run some time off the clock. Delbarton did gain several possessions afterwards, but its most dangerous shot came in the waning seconds when a desperation blast by White bounced off the front of Fritts’ mask and out of bounds with 1.9 seconds left. The Green Wave was unable to get another shot on cage.

Chatham enjoyed their hard earned victory but the players will not be able to dwell on it. When the season is over, the Cougars may be able to look back on this game as a benchmark victory for the program, but for the moment they have to forget about it and move on to their next dangerous opponent.

 “We have to prepare for Ridge on Thursday,’’ Calandra said. “There is no rest really.’’

Chatham goalkeeper Corey Fritts had a solid performance including a last-second save for the Cougars.

Boys Lacrosse Results

Montville 12, Jefferson 2 – The Mustangs are unbeaten at 4-0.Montville led 8-1 at the break. Junior attackman Jake Haimson had five goals and one assist, Ryan O’Lear had two goals and three assists and Brian McCormack had two goals and two assists for the Mustangs. Dylan Pickard notched a pair of goals forJefferson (3-1) in the Rizk Division contest.

Mendham 8, Madison 5 – Will Robinson scored three goals and Tim Lewis tallied twice for the 3-1 Minutemen.

Mountain Lakes 10, Montclair 4 – The Lakers exploded for five fourth-quarter goals.MountainLakes is 4-0 on the season.

Glen Ridge 7, Kinnelon 5 – The Ridgers are unbeaten. They led the Colts 6-2 at the half.

Morris Knolls 10, West Orange 3

Girls Lacrosse Results

Mount Olive 14, Randolph 8 – The Marauders improve to 3-0.MountOlive took control early with a 7-0 halftime advantage. Sabrina Mellusi scored five goals and Nicole Amada, Alina Santana and Briana Shakespeare had two goals apiece.

Boonton 17, Passaic Valley 7; Villa Walsh 20, Morristown-Beard 5; Pope John 15, Pequannock 12.

 

 

 

 

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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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