Mount Olive earns bounce-back triumph

By Mark Kitchin


ROCKAWAY TWP. – No matter how many wins a team has, the first stumble of the season is always a little difficult to overcome. After Mount Olive suffered its first loss of the year, the Marauders had no difficulty winning a bounce-back game.

Chris Sanchez scored four goals and Mark Laratto added a hat trick to lift Mount Olive to a 14-7 triumph over Morris Hills in boys lacrosse action on Wednesday.

Alec Griolo scored twice and four other Marauders had single tallies including freshman Adam Gonzalez who connected on his first varsity goal in the fourth quarter. The contest was a strong showing for Mount Olive which suffered its first loss of the season to Hillsborough on Monday. The Marauders are 10-1.

Connor Pelkey scored four goals and Tom Cangelosi scored twice for Morris Hills (7-6) in the contest on grassy Gifford Field.

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Mount Olive won its share of wild scrambles for the ball, especially in the first half. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

“I think there’s an expectation in the conference that we win and we have a lot of pride,’’ Mount Olive coach Dave Gallucci said. “We know (our) conference teams are coming after us. We are learning now that other teams in other conferences also want to beat us.’’

Mount Olive never gave Morris Hills a glimmer of hope for its upset chances. The Marauders took control early. Sanchez scored three of his goals in the first quarter to help the Marauders build a 6-2 advantage.

“Chris can do a variety of things,’’ Gallucci said. “He is more than just a goal scorer. He is a leader. He is a captain. He controls the ball. He does a lot for us.

“We are a pretty well-balanced offense. We are an offense where everybody knows their roles. They know their strengths and they know their weaknesses. That’s commendable — for 15-year-old kids sometimes it is hard to recognize that.’’

Mount Olive added three more goals in the second quarter on scores by Ariel Diaz, Alec Griolo and Sanchez to make it an 8-2 halftime advantage.

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Morris Hills’ Connor Pelkey (19) and Stevie Rome (9) celebrate a first-quarter goals. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

A strong performance by the Marauders’ ride helped their cause. Four times the Scarlet Knights could not get the ball out of their defensive end in time to maintain possession. Mount Olive often made its opponents pay.

“We pride ourselves on our ride,’’ Gallucci said. “Riding is really just working hard. It’s something that we learned from teams in the past — teams that are better than us … We thought, Wow! When they ride they are all out so why don’t we do that. Our seniors really enforce it in practices. It’s something that we really go hard on.’’

Although they often play in a physical and aggressive style, the turnovers that Mount Olive created on Wednesday occurred because its ride was suffocating. Morris Hills goalie Nick Draney and his close defensemen were blanketed tightly and couldn’t find a way to clear the ball out of the zone without losing possession. The Scarlet Knights had to give up the ball numerous times because they failed to advance it.

“You have to be patient sometimes and there are times when you have to be aggressive,’’ Gallucci said. “It’s just experience and we are learning as the year goes on.’’

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Anthony Verrone’s face-off ability helped Mount Olive create many scoring opportunities. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

The Marauders also benefited from the play of faceoff midfielder Anthony Verrone. The standout sophomore won 11 of 16 draws over three quarters. He captured many of them himself but also pushed the ball off to Mike Moran, Max Moon or Chase Cerbach for ground ball pickups on the wing.

“Verrone is a workhorse,’’ Gallucci said. “He’s got a little of his brother (Nick) in him. He goes out there and works hard. He has that blue collar mentality that we love here.’’

Mount Olive continued its dominance in the second half. It scored five consecutive goals in the third quarter to make it a 13-2 game. Afterwards, they substituted liberally and gave some of their younger players more varsity experience against the Scarlet Knights.

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Mount Olive defenseman Max Moon matches Morris Hills’ Anthony D’Amico step for step. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

Morris County results

Morristown-Beard 14, Pennington 2

Teddy Hatfield had five goals and two assists to lift the Crimson in Prep Tournament action, Chris Glancey had a hat trick and Tom Rago and Trevor Baptiste had two goals and four assists for Morristown-Beard (8-4). The Crimson are on a 5-game winning streak.

Pequannock 11, West Milford 9

The Golden Panthers improve to 13-0. Liam Lilienthal and Bryan Peters had four goals apiece and Ryan Van Bochoven scored twice for Pequannock. The Highlanders are 6-7.

DePaul 12, Montville 9

Jake Haimson had three goals and two assists for the Mustangs. Brendan Kelly and Niko Del Moro had two goals apiece and Tyler Chin had one goal and two assists for Montville (6-6).

North Warren 16, Morris Catholic 3

The Crusaders drop to 1-11.

Girls Lacrosse

Ridgewood 19, Mountain Lakes 11

The Lakers suffered their first loss of the season. Trailing 12-5 at the half the Lakers rallied to scored five of the next six goals to make it a 13-10 but that was as close as they got. Deb Kiernan led the Maroons with six goals.

Morris Hills 19, Lenape Valley 18

The Scarlet Knights improve to 6-5. The wild contest was tied 10-10 at halftime.


About mcvbb

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

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