Mountain Lakes captures 12th MCT title

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

FLORHAM PARK — It might not make up for losing the first Morris County Tournament title but on the 25th anniversary of that inaugural defeat the current Mountain Lakes lacrosse team made their older Laker brothers proud. 

Rob Orazietti and Christian Cuccinello each fired hat tricks to spark Mountain Lakes to a 12-4 romp of Kinnelon in Wednesday night’s title game on the turf at FDU-Florham. 

Jon Broome earned MVP honors with a two-goal, four-assist performance. Dylan Muti and Spencer Herman had two goals apiece and just about everything went right for the third-seeded Lakers. With the 12th title, Mountain Lakes pulls ahead of rival Delbarton which has 11 MCT titles.

Kinnelon was vying for its third MCT title and second in three years. Kobi Frankel scored twice and Brian Gnad and Dom Usinowicz added goals for the fifth-seeded Colts in the contest which was postponed from Tuesday due to inclement weather.

Mountain Lakes’ attackman Jon Broome (18) earned MVP honors in Wednesday night’s MCT final.

“It feels great,’’ midfielder Dylan Muti said. “Beating Delbarton (in the semifinals) last week was amazing and this kind of tops it all. The first time they played Kinnelon in the first county tournament (Mountain Lakes lost) so it is nice to get some payback on them.’’

“It feels awesome,’’ defenseman Tyler Batesko added. “I’ve been waiting to do this for a very long time — ever since I was little. It was great to get the win.’’

The current players were not even born when former Lakers Dave Frigeri, Eric Waltz, Dave Breslin, Jason Ellison, Hugh Chambers and many other talented lacrosse players were beaten 7-4 in the inaugural MCT by a talented Colts team in 1988. Remarkably it has taken all this time forMountain Lakes and Kinnelon to once again meet in the tournament’s championship game.

Mountain Lakes’ Dylan Muti (38) got the Lakers off to a good start with two first-quarter goals.

A throng of about 1,000 spectators looked on as a strong start by the Lakers made the thrilling tournament a bit anti-climactic. Muti scored twice and Orazietti, Herman and Cuccinello each scored goals to lift the Lakers to a 5-1 advantage by the end of the first quarter.

“It was huge,’’ Broome said. “As you can see they were demoralized a little bit. It definitely helped.’’

All five of the first-quarter goals were assisted. The Lakers were tremendously efficient on offense in the early going. They made crisp passes and challenging shots. Nearly every offering was delivered with intensity and aimed at a corner.

“We definitely worked on a lot of shooting in practice,’’ Muti said. “Especially in the last couple of weeks things have been clicking for us. We’ve been making shots, making passes and it has shown in these last couple of games.’’

Broome registered two of his four assists in the first quarter.

“We were just exploiting the holes in their defense,’’ Broome said. “Our guys made great cuts and I was able to find them. … It was more on unsettled situations where we really struck. Rob (Orazietti) was doing a great job dodging along with the rest of our middies so that opened up areas for me.’’

Mountain Lakes’ offensive barrage included a hat trick by attackman Rob Orazietti (14).

Broome registered two of his four assists in the first quarter.

“We were just exploiting the holes in their defense,’’ Broome said. “Our guys made great cuts and I was able to find them. … It was more on unsettled situations where we really struck. Rob (Orazietti) was doing a great job dodging along with the rest of our middies so that opened up areas for me.’’

Strong early faceoff work by Mike Sanzone and his wingmen gave the Lakers consistent possessions after nearly every goal which kept the Kinnelon defenders on their heals for most of the period.

When the Colts did get the ball, the Lakers opted to play man-to-man defense. The Mountain Lakes players were up to the challenge of keeping Kinnelon quiet.

“We knew that everyone had to play the guy in front of him,’’ Batesko said. “We happened to man up. Everybody played their best and we didn’t have to make any slides. It worked out well.’’

Batesko had one of the tougher assignments. Kinnelon’s Kobi Frankel is a crafty attackman who triggers much of the Colts offense. He’s an adept passer and slippery when it comes to crease rolls around the cage. He was shut down for most of the game.

“Kinnelon has some nice players,’’ Muti said. “Kobi is a great player. Tylerstayed on him and didn’t let him score.’’

Scores by Orazietti and Cuccinello helped the Lakers build a 7-2 advantage at the half. Even with that big a lead Mountain Lakes was aware of Kinnelon’s ability to rally like it did on Saturday in an upset against top-seeded Chatham in the semifinals.

Chris Robertson (19) and the Lakers man-to-man defense frustrated the  Kinnelon attack all night.

“We just kept looking at each other and telling each other that we have got to keep it up,’’ Batesko said. “This is the county final. There was no time to let up and these guys had some offensive threats.’’

The Lakers put the game away by scoring five consecutive second-half goals. When Broome connected on an Orazietti pass with 10:05 left in the game, the score was 12-2 and another county title was well in hand.

“It feels amazing,’’ Muti said. “Last year we lost (to Delbarton) by one goal in the final and it was heartbreaking. To be able to come back and win it in my senior year is amazing.’’

 

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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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