Delbarton trounces Mountain Lakes in battle of unbeatens

By Mark Kitchin


MORRIS TWP. — Delbarton strung passes together at a dizzying rate. Seven, eight, nine times or more the lacrosse ball found the pocket of a Green Wave player with little respite for the orange-clad Mountain Lakes defenseman covering him. When the Green Wave finally hit the net, all it took was another ground ball to start the process all over again.

Thomas Fowler fired a hat trick and Delbarton played exceptionally well in a 9-1 triumph over Mountain Lakes in a battle of Morris County unbeaten teams on Saturday.

Kevin Lewis had two goals and two assists, Grant VanFossen had a goal and two assists and Matt Killian added a goal and two assists for the Green Wave (7-0).

T. J. Camero and Dillon Confalone also connected for Delbarton. The Green Wave also received stellar face-off work from Austin Williams. Their defensive effort included seven saves from senior netminder John Schisler.

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Drew Higgins jumps in on a goal celebration by Delbarton teammates Kevin Lewis and Grant VanFossen on Saturday. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

Christian Cuccinello fired a first-quarter tally for Mountain Lakes (5-1). Cuccinello’s score tied the game at 1-1 with 7:42 left in the period. Delbarton would proceed to score the next eight goals. The Green Wave attack was fueled by Williams’ face-off wins and when they got the ball they were meticulous and relentless on the offensive end. Their ability to control possessions tired out the Mountain Lakes defense and helped to get the Delbarton shooters in a rhythm. The Green Wave built a 4-1 halftime advantage and held the Lakers scoreless in the second half on the Delbarton home turf.

There were few penalties and not all that many mistakes. There have been past years where the Green Wave has had an offense that executed with such accuracy and precision, but it’s been awhile. On Saturday it was a marvel to watch.

“We all know each other very well,’’ Lewis said. “We know each others tendencies and where we like to play. We are meshing well right now. We have eight solid middies, five solid attackman so we have a lot of depth and I think that helps.’’

Lewis sparked the Delbarton bench and fans early when he jumped high to nail a hard righty shot to put the first mark on the scoreboard. It was no surprise to his teammate Will Reynolds who battles Lewis every day in practice. If it wasn’t Lewis, it would have been a goal by VanFossen or Fowler or another Delbarton stick.

“Everyone is stepping up,’’ Reynolds said. “This time of the year it is bend don’t break and its step up or sit on the bench. Even the guys that aren’t starting are stepping up … there’s no let up.’’

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Christian Cuccinello knifes through the Delbarton defense for Mountain Lakes’ lone score. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

With no one on an offense to key on, there is no one for a defense to double up making the Delbarton attack problematic. It also helped that the Green Wave had a steady supply of offensive opportunities. Face-off specialist Williams was on his game and he monopolized the draws for most of the day.

“We always know we are going to get the ball back with him (Austin),’’ Lewis said. “It’s nice. When you score a goal you expect to play defense a little bit but then you get the ball right back and score another one. It gives you a lot of confidence to get the offense in the groove and swing the ball nicely. I think we did that.’’

The ability to gain multiple possessions also rests the defense and gives it more confidence when its time to battle an opposing team’s offense.

“We know that even if we give up a goal we are going to get the ball back, so we have it in the back of our minds that we can play loose or we can play more aggressively,’’ Reynolds said. “We try not to take Austin for granted. We give him a hard time because we don’t want him to get a big head. We love having Austin do what he does.’’

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Will Reynolds, right, was one of the reasons Delbarton held Mountain Lakes to one goal. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

The times that Mountain Lakes did have the ball, Delbarton’s defense was usually up to the task of getting a turnover or limiting the Lakers’ shot selection. Reynolds, Brendan Huston and James Nugent are veterans with two or three years of active varsity service. That familiarity has created good chemistry between them. They have also seen the growth of their goalie John Schisler from a shaky sophomore to a senior that makes the right decisions between the pipes.

“He’s been playing great,’’ Reynolds said. “We always have a ton of faith in Johnny. Anything outside of 10 yards he is going to gobble up. That gives us a lot more freedom on ball.’’

Delbarton had a 4-1 lead at the half and finished with five consecutive second-half goal, the last two coming off of Fowler’s stick. However, since the Green Wave is a veteran team, many of the players know not to put too much weight on April victories. Last year Delbarton drubbed Mountain Lakes 17-7 on the Lakers home turf in an April game. Mountain Lakes went back to the drawing board, made the proper adjustments and three weeks later ended up knocking off Delbarton 10-8 on neutral turf on its way to the Morris County Tournament title. There is a lot of lacrosse yet to be played.

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Austin Williams’ ability on the draw gave the Green Wave plenty of possessions. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

“We are coming along,’’ Reynolds said. “We are starting to get the little things done but you can’t get too big of a head. Last year we played these guys and it was the same way. We struck them early and often. We came back the second time we played them and we were cocky and … you know what happened.

“We have to put it in perspective and realize that were playing good lacrosse because were working really hard. We have to come in tomorrow and get in the gym and work hard.’’

Morris County results

Kinnelon 10, Allentown 5

Brian Gnad had three goals and three assists and Ryan O’Keefe had three goals and two assists to pace the Colts. Robert Lewis also had a hat trick in Kinnelon’s road victory. The Colts are 3-4.

Madison 13, Randolph 4

Alan Schmitz had four goals and two assists and Collin Scarpello had three goals and one assist for the resurgent Dodgers. Andrew Kaye also had a hat trick for Madison (6-3). The Dodgers led 10-1 after three quarters. Kurt Naslonski scored twice for the Rams (2-6).

Summit 9, Chatham 2

Cristof Strunc and Thomas Guida connected for the Cougars (3-3). Summit led 4-0 at the half. The Hilltoppers are 8-1.

Caldwell 9, Montville 6

Tyler Chin scored twice and Jake Haimson and Brian Smith each had a goal and an assist for the Mustangs (4-4).

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Kevin Lewis’ first-quarter goal thrilled the Delbarton fans. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

Friday’s results

Morristown-Beard 8, Cranford 7

Sophomore goalkeeperMatt Sefcik made 21 saves and the Crimson repelled a second-half Cranford rally to earn the win. Teddy Hatfield had four goals and Trevor Baptiste and Andrew Callahan had two goals apiece for Morristown-Beard (4-4).

Morris Knolls 17, Warren Hills 7

Jared Huston scored four goals and Jesse Kopecky had three to spark the Golden Eagles triumph. Morris Knolls led 10-4 at the half. The Golden Eagles are 4-4.

Morris Hills 9, Roxbury 7

Steve Rome had three goals and Conor Pelkey added two for the Scarlet Knights (5-3). Morris Hills led 4-2 at the half in this close contest. The Gaels dropped to 4-3.

Pequannock 18, Newton 6

Tyler Macejka had six goals and six assists to spur the Golden Panthers. Ryan Von Bochoven and Liam Lilienthal also netted four goals each for Pequannock.

Mount Olive 16, West Orange 0

Chris Sanchez had three goals and four assists and Eric Weiss netted a hat trick for the Marauders (7-0).

Caldwell 5, Morristown 2

Brian Begley and Joe Murphy connected for the Colonials (3-4).


About mcvbb

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

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