West Morris captures Pooley Trophy

By Mark Kitchin


WASHINGTON TWP. (Morris) — The opening round matchup between West Morris and Mendham next Tuesday in the Morris County Tournament might be a more important game in the long run, but it won’t have a trophy attached to it.

Joe DeBiasse and Jeremy Angle each fired hat tricks to lift West Morris to a 12-5 victory over Mendham on Thursday night to give the Wolfpack possession of the Pooley Trophy after a two-year hiatus.

Matt Carfaro added two goals and two assists and Alex Kennedy had a goal and an assist for West Morris (6-7). Peter McNerney scored twice and Tim Lewis had a goal and an assist for the Minutemen (4-7).

The Pooley Trophy, which is a bust of a lacrosse player on the move, is named after David Pooley. He was an administrator at both schools. He was instrumental in starting the lacrosse programs and also organizing the Morris County Tournament which began in 1988.

Mendham can already begin plotting its revenge although it will also be playing Tuesday’s game on the grass at West Morris. The Wolfpack players were thrilled with winning the trophy. After the postgame handshake, the seniors grabbed it off the scorers table and bolted across the field to show it to their fans

West Morris’ Joe DeBiasse registered a hat trick by the second quarter of Thursday’s night game.

“It means everything,’’ DeBiasse said. “It really does. We’ve fallen to Mendham the past few years so coming out here we showed that we deserve the trophy this year. This is a great senior class. We put everything together. We practiced hard all week. We definitely deserve this win. I’m proud of all the seniors. The underclassmen contributed. It really means a lot for the school and the town.’’

DeBiasse got the Wolfpack to a good start. The senior midfielder scored all three of his goals in the first half to help West Morris build a 6-2 halftime advantage.

“I knew I had to step up as a leader,’’ DeBiasse said. “I put myself into the role of setting the tone and getting this team off to a good start. I knew that once we got the momentum we weren’t going to stop. We were going to take this one.’’

The toughest part may have been getting the ball past Mendham’s talented senior goalkeeper Tyler Avallone. The Syracuse-bound goalie has good size and solid instincts and reflexes so teams have to have a plan of attack against him.

“He has been getting hotter and hotter the last couple of weeks,’’ West Morris coach Rob Goodwin said. “We told the players to test him — waist down first and then kind of mix them up. You start seeing him making those (low) saves later because we didn’t go high as much as we should have.’’

West Morris’ Jeremy Angle (45) fired a hat trick to lift the Wolfpack to victory on Thursday.

Goodwin also thought it was fortunate that he was screened on some of West Morris’ early scoring opportunities.    

“We tried to get it off stick and shot it hard enough to get it past him,’’ DeBIasse said. “He’s an excellent goalie. … We just kind of played games a little bit but really you just have to test the waters and figure out where his weak spot is and where you can put some good shots in.’’

Goodwin was happy with his team’s intensity and its defensive effort especially against two of Mendham’s more talented midfielders Will Robinson and Lewis. What really pleased him was the Wolfpack’s error-free play.

“We didn’t make as many mistakes as we usually make,’’ Goodwin said. “We had a little third-quarter meltdown where we gave up a couple of goals but aside from that it was good.’’

Scores by DeBiasse, Angle and Alex Kennedy built a 3-1 first-quarter advantage. The teams exchanged goals early in the second quarter then West Morris notched two more. DeBiasse scored his third of the game at the five-minute mark and Carfaro scored the first of his two goals with 1:48 left to make it 6-2 at the half.

Mendham rallied to open the third quarter on back-to-back goals by McNerney and Stephen Graziano to make it a 6-4 game with 10:47 left in the third quarter. West Morris called a time out and settled down. They regained momentum when Angle scored his second goal of the contest at 9:05 to make it a 3-goal lead at 7-4.

Mendham coach and former West Morris standout Jeff Seals will have to wait until Tuesday to get revenge on his alma mater.

“He’s stepped up a lot this year,’’ DeBiasse said. “He’s worked hard in practice. He’s been on the wall — stick skills with both hands. He’s very dedicated.’’

West Morris scored three of the next four goals although it had to be admitted that the most thrilling was scored by Mendham’s Lewis to end the third quarter.

The Minutemen were playing a man down when they gained possession of the ball and called time out with 10 seconds left in the period. Lewis was awarded the ball just outside the restraining line with two Wolfpack defenders ready to double him up. He was able to outdodge both of them (by eventually slipping between them) and put in a righty shot just before the buzzer sounded to make it a 10-5 game and give Mendham fans something to cheer about.

 The score did nothing to change the inevitable result as West Morris finished with two fourth-quarter goals to secure the win. Now the Wolfpack have to do it all over again on Tuesday.

What all the fuss is about — the Pooley Trophy which changed hands and will reside at West Morris Central this summer.

When they held the tournament seeding meeting both West Morris and Mendham finished in a tie and the seed had to be re-voted upon. The Wolfpack earned the eighth seed by a slim margin and received home field advantage again. West Morris knows that Mendham will make changes and that defeating their sister school rivals against will not be easy.

“It’s going to be tough,’’ Goodwin said. “I could see my guys having a mental letdown, but just the fact that it is Mendham regardless of whether it is the Pooley Trophy or the county tournament and that were home again should give a little incentive to the guys. We’re looking forward to that and Jeff (Seals) is a great coach. He will make his adjustments (for Mendham).’’

Games of note:

Montville 12, Wayne Hills 7 – The Mustangs are 12-2. Jake Haimson had four goals, Ryan O’Lear fired a hat trick and Brian McCormack added a goal and four assists. Wayne Hills drops to 7-5.

Pequannock 10, West Milford 8 – On senior night, Dan Swezey had four goals and one assist and Tyler Macejka had three goals and one assist. The Golden Panthers went on a 4-1 run in the third quarter to make it an 8-5 game going into the final period. West Milford drops to 6-6.





About mcvbb

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

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