Conditioning, firepower keep unbeaten Mo-Beard rolling

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

MORRIS TWP — It’s not that Sal Tromonda and his Morristown-Beard players didn’t think that they could start the season with a 9-game winning streak. Let’s just say that the Crimson are ahead of schedule and recognize how much work it takes to get to that point.

The Crimson matched one of the longest winning streaks in school history by beating Sparta 15-5 on Thursday.

Junior attackman Teddy Hatfield scored seven goals and added an assist and Thomas Rago and Chris Glancy had two goals and two assists apiece. Midfielder Trevor Baptiste also scored twice and won 19 of 24 face-offs for the Crimson.

Although Morristown-Beard’s eye-popping offense has set the tone, all the Morristown-Beard players have had a hand in their success.

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There have been plenty of scoring celebrations for Morristown-Beard. The Crimson average 16 goals a game. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

“Everyone is involved,” Hatfield said. “We want to keep on winning. The past couple of years we’ve had some success but a lot of the underclassmen have kind of grown up so we thought we would have a lot more success this season.”

Much of this year’s result has been due to the response of the players to Tromonda’s teachings. Tromonda took over the Crimson program two years ago after spending 11 seasons as an assistant at Madison High. He has meshed some of long time coach Mark Sweeney’s ideas along with his own when he moved on to his first head coaching position.

“We always had a really tight program with discipline and kind of keeping things regimented,” Tromonda said. “When I took the program over, my thing was to come here and win games. I try to do what I am asked.”

Perhaps the most important thing Tromonda did was to strongly upgrade Morristown-Beard’s level of conditioning. Because the private school has always been limited in numbers, it is crucial for all the Crimson players to be in superior physical condition.

“He definitely keeps us in shape,” Hatfield said. “He is a personal trainer. He brings the momentum. He works on the defense, so its usually pretty solid. He brings us together as a team unit and that’s how we start clicking.”

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Attackman Teddy Hatfield, right, has developed into a tremendous finisher. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

Morristown-Beard has proven that it has talent and the efficiency the team has displayed on offense (an average of 16 goals a game) has made a difference. Hatfield has helped. He is an effective finisher whether he is attacking from the front of the cage or slipping in shots on dodges from behind. The University of Richmond-bound junior has a nose for the net.

“With Thomas Rago and Chris Glancey by my side, I’m just doing the easy part and putting it in. They find me. They do the dodging. Especially Rago, a lot of my goals just kind of feed off him. He does a lot of hard work.”

Everyone is thrilled about the performances that Trevor Baptiste is giving because his face-offs give Morristown-Beard valuable possessions to work with. The 5-foot 10, 215 pound athlete has been a monster on the draw. He often wins them on his own and once he has the ball it is difficult to take the ball away from him.

“Trevor is not only a great lacrosse player but he is a great kid,” Tromonda said. “From a coaching standpoint everyone should want to have someone like him on the field. Especially at the (face-off).

“As a coach you know that if they score, you are getting the ball back. It’s great to have that feeling of security. To know that if you are playing Mendham and it’s 8-8 and there’s 56 seconds left, I’ve got Trevor on the draw. He is also a true captain. He can also see a kid whose head is down and tell him: ‘listen, keep your head up’.”

41 bl mbspOnce Trevor Baptiste has the ball in his stick, it’s tough to pry it away from him. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

Tromonda works especially hard on the defense which had some setbacks due to injury. Against Sparta, the Crimson were missing a pair of their starting defensemen, they compensated by moving long stick midfielder Jimmy Kellogg to close defense and adding a group of short stick freshman middies to keep in front of the Sparta attack.

“I went old school,” Tromonda said. “I had three shortees out there all playing hips. Johnny McDonald, one of my offensive (midfielders) can also play defense so we just worked on playing hips. We wanted to stay on hands and pressure the ball and hopefully the slides will come. In my pre-season I make my kids play defense without a stick. Give me an athlete and I will make him play defense. It’s all about positioning and footwork. If you are between him and the net, he can’t score.”

The Crimson does have the advantage of goalkeeper Matt Sefcik, a junior, who has already spent 1 1/2 years between the varsity pipes. Morristown-Beard’s offensive efficiency provided more than enough of a cushion for the make-shift defense against Sparta. The Crimson scored five first-quarter goals including four in the the last two-minute of the period. They were able to build an 8-1 edge at the half. The most impressive goal may have been the final score of the second quarter that came off of Hatfield’s stick due to a successful ride.

“Everyone was involved in the ride,” Hatfield said. “I think Johnny Mac, (McDonald) got a ground ball and I kind of just floated back to the crease. He found me. There was one second left and I put it in. I just kind of shot at the net. I didn’t even know it was a short time. It kind of surprised me when I got up.”

2 bl mbspMorristown-Beard’s Teddy Hatfield fires a low, lefty shot against Sparta. He had seven goals on Thursday. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

Hatfield’s fifth goal of the game came with 0:01.7 seconds left in the half and was an absolute back-breaker. The Crimson led by as much as 13-2 early in the fourth quarter.

There are plenty of obstacles remaining for Morristown-Beard including an upcoming test against Montville that will be a good test for them. Regardless of how that game goes, Morristown-Beard is ahead of schedule and the private school program, which has struggled a bit in recent years, seems to be headed in the right direction once again.

“Our motto is success only comes before work in the dictionary,” Tromonda said. “I put that in the boys minds from day one.”

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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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