Delbarton dominates Mountain Lakes

By Mark Kitchin


MOUNTAINLAKES- As goal after goal mounted even the Mountain Lakes stat girls couldn’t help but be disappointed.

“We’re drowning in the waves,’’ one uttered as she put another pencil mark on the visitors side of her scorebook.

Hat tricks by Sean Donnelly and John Shaffer and a stellar faceoff performance by Austin Williams lifted Delbarton to a 17-7 rout of previously unbeaten Mountain Lakes in the regular-season clash of Morris County’s traditional boys lacrosse powerhouses on Saturday.

Williams and his wingmen won 14 of 15 first-half faceoffts and helped give the Green Wave plenty of opportunities to generate offense. At several points during the second half, the Green Wave triggered the 12-goal rule which allows for a running clock, the first time that has ever happened between the two rival squads on the varsity level.

It is also the largest margin of victory in a varsity contest between the two programs in at least the last 20 years and perhaps for all time. The win lifts Delbarton to 5-3 on the season.

Eric Dircks fired a hat trick and Jon Broome had a goal and two assists for Mountain Lakes (6-1).


Mountain Lakes’  Chris Robertson (19) matches Delbarton’s Jack Clarke (3) step for step during Saturday’s game.

“We didn’t expect it to be like that at all,’’ Donnelly said. “We expected a hard battle. We came prepared to work hard the entire game and for it to be close, maybe a one-goal game. We were really surprised and really happy the way it turned out.’’

“We came in here ready to play,’’ Shaffer added. “We knew they would be coming for us, too. It’s obviously a huge rivalry. Once we got the momentum we just kept running with it. We had a lot of energy.’’

 Williams was a catalyst for the team’s success. A jayvee performer last year, Williams gives full credit to his wingmen Kieran Kenny, Pete Walsh, Jack Clarke and Chad Otterman for picking up the ground balls that he was able to push towards them.

“They are all amazing players,’’ Williams said. “They are super fast and super good on ground balls. We work really hard on faceoffs. I think that is our biggest strength. As a unit I think we are one of the best in the state.’’

Like most good faceoff men, Williams has a move that he can adjust depending upon the circumstances. The Lakers gave him a torture test of players to oppose him, clamp and rake specialists, leverage-minded long sticks and players determined to beat him with quickness or muscle. Williams seemed to have an answer for them all.

“He’s been dominating all year,’’ Shaffer said. “Austin has been doing a huge job. We’re getting wing play, too and that’s a huge, huge advantage for us. … We rely on him a lot especially in some of the big games. He will have to bring his skill to the game and work hard and win us a few.’’

Austin Williams’ (top) faceoff work was essential to Delbarton’s success. He won 14 of 15 first-half draws.

Winning the draws helps puts the ball in the hands of the Green Wave offense and away from the Lakers scorers. It also fuels the transition game which has been important for Delbarton in the early going. The Green Wave attack is inexperienced as a unit, but they are improving. The ability of the midfielders to push the ball to the cage and connect with the attack on first and secondary breaks gives Delbarton the opportunity to take open shots before an opposing defense can set up.

“Teams really don’t know what to expect right from the start, so from that we’ve been getting fast break goals and it has really helped us in the end,’’ Donnelly said. “In the beginning of the season we were still working out a lot of kinks. It took us a little while to get used to each other and know where we are on the field.  Now after a few games and after talking a lot and meeting a lot and staying after practice and working together, we’ve been able to get a feel for each other and put the ball in the back of the net.’’

The win also vindicates the Green Wave’s decision to schedule tough out-of-state competition like Long Island standout St. Anthony’s and Maryland’s Georgetown Prep.

“It helped a lot,’’ Donnelly said. “Especially that game against Georgetown Prep — that really got our confidence going.’’

Delbarton’s Dylan Confalone makes a move during the first half of  Saturday’s game. The midfielder was among the Green Wave goal scorers.

The game was tied 1-1,  just two minutes in when Delbarton ran off three consecutive goals to end the first quarter. Otterman, Cole Riccardi and Donnelly each connected. Donnelly scored on a feed from defenseman Will Reynolds with seven seconds left to make it 4-1 going into the second period.

 Delbarton would score seven of the next eight goals. Shaffer connected off Cole Riccardi’s pass with 2:35 left to give the Green Wave an 11-2 edge going into halftime. Delbarton coaches told their players that Mountain Lakes wouldn’t give up but the Green Wave athletes were not about to squander such a large lead.   

“At the end of the half I realized that this was our game,’’ Donnelly said. “We’re going to win it. You can’t stop. You have to put the pedal to the metal. That’s what we did. We kept putting the ball into the net. We couldn’t ask for anything more.’’

Despite the romp, Saturday’s game was also the beginning of a partnership between Delbarton andMountainLakes. They have both vowed to raise money for the Wounded Warrior program. Throughout the contest spectators were encouraged to donate funds to the charity that was started to help injured service members aid and assist each other and provide programs and services that meet their needs.  

Joyous Delbarton players celebrate another goal as a disappointed Mountain Lakes player looks away.


About mcvbb

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

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