Madison boys are on a roll

By Mark Kitchin


MADISON–Madison boys lacrosse coach Mark Sweeney knows what a little confidence can do. His Dodger players are beginning to find that out.

Mike Clemente scored six times and Billy Battaglia added five goal to lift Madison to a 15-8 victory over West Essex on Senior Day in a contest on the turf at Ted Monica Stadium.

Phil Duffy connected for his first varsity goal and Mark Langan, Christian Scarpello and Collin Scarpello also tallied for the Dodgers (3-8).  The Dodgers led 7-4 at the half and then went on a 4-0 run in the third quarter to make it difficult for the Knights to come back.

Mike Drum had a hat trick forWest Essex(2-9).

Madison’s Billy Battaglia (14) fends off West Essex defenseman Nick Paranzano (25) during Saturday’s game.

It is Madison’s third consecutive victory after an 0-8 start. Victories against Westfield, DePaul and now West Essexhave gotten the Dodgers playing with an extra swing in their sticks.

“We gained some confidence,’’ Sweeney said. “That’s what we were lacking in that losing streak. Everything is a habit. Losing is a habit. You keep losing and you think something is always going to go wrong. Now, were going to win. It’s all confidence.’’

Sweeney saw the turnaround begin with the return of defensemen Erik Andersson from the concussion he suffered during the ice hockey season.

“He makes a lot happen with clears,’’ Sweeney said, “He’s a pole on the wing. He gets ground balls and I just think everyone started stepping up.’’

Madison’s Mark Langan (3) tries to capture a ground ball during a third-quarter scramble.

Madison has also been getting good work on faceoffs with the tandem of Patsy Davis and Luke Thompson.

“Patsy’s a captain,’’ Sweeney said. “He’s a wrestler. Luke was a jayvee player we called up. They’ve been alternating and it’s been working.’’

Saturday’s game also showed how much better the Dodgers have been executing on offense. Madison has been counting Battaglia and Clemente to convert their chances. Against West Essex the duo converted many of their chances.

“Clemente and Battaglia have been finishing better,’’ Sweeney said. “That’s the thing. We weren’t finishing. We were taking a lot of shots. Now were finishing.’’

Madison’s Mike Clemente (22) scored six goals during Madison’s victory against West Essex.

Finally, Sweeney believes that the lessons learned from a tough early season schedule might benefit Madison in the long run, especially if the Dodgers can keep their streak rolling and clinch a state tournament bid.

 “You always want to play great teams because you just play better,’’ Sweeney said. “If you are beating teams by 13-0 or whatever you can make mistakes and still win but you are not going to learn. We can’t make mistakes against Chatham and Delbarton and Summit and Seton Hall — all those teams. Now they are learning. They are learning you have to possess the ball on offense. The defense has to communicate. I think our goalies have stepped up. A lot of good things have been happening.’’



About mcvbb

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

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