Delbarton learns from its mistakes and captures MCT glory

By Mark Kitchin


FLORHAM PARK — Sometimes the best way to find out why a team won or lost a game is to look at the contest leading up to it.

Delbarton boys lacrosse performed well in all facets of the game in its 11-4 triumph over Mountain Lakes in the Morris County Tournament Final held on the turf at FDU-Florham on Tuesday. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Green Wave effort is that they did it by acknowledging their mistakes from an uneven win against Morristown-Beard in the MCT semifinals and succeeded in fixing them.

They admitted as much afterwards. After escaping with an 8-7 victory on Saturday in which Morristown-Beard was in the contest to the very end, the Green Wave and their coach knew that there was a lot of cleaning up to do. As a result, Delbarton put together an astonishing second-half performance that cemented the victory over the Morris County rivals.

“Morristown-Beard was a huge wake up call for us,” Delbarton coach Chuck Ruebling said. “We didn’t manage that game well at all and Morristown-Beard is certainly a very good team. They exposed a lot of weaknesses that if we had not struggled with them, we would not have been able to address in practice (Monday).”

82 bl mct finalDelbarton boys lacrosse celebrates its Morris County Tournament title on Tuesday. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

It was important for the Green Wave offense to get better and more lengthy possessions as well as make good decisions with its shot selection.

“We concentrated on being more patient,” Delbarton’s Will McCarthy said. “Slowing the ball down a little bit more. The game was pretty fast paced with transition going back and forth. Our dominating defensemen (Chad) Otterman, (M.J.) Melillo, (Sean) McLaughlin. (Aaron) Slodowitz were playing great but we had to give them a little bit of a break on offense so we slowed it down and did what we could.”

It helped that Delbarton was able to build a lead after a frenetic first period. McCarthy and his teammate Emmett Cordrey made sure of that. They teamed up for goals at the very end of the second quarter and midway through the third quarter to turn a narrow 4-3 lead into a manageable 6-3 advantage.

“Will has been spectacular for us all over the field,” Ruebling said. “He does it all for us. He clears the ball. He finishes well. He’s a very strong player for us and Emmett played a solid game.”

35 bl mct finalDelbarton’s Will McCarthy (17) played a key role in getting his team the lead. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

The Delbarton goal with 24 seconds left in the second quarter helped give them some halftime momentum. Cordrey hit McCarthy with a pass just as he was coming off a pick and found a seam in the Mountain Lakes zone defense. McCarthy made a cut to the Lakers crease for a quick score and a 5-3 halftime lead.

“We were trying to find holes and Emmett is such a great feeder that we were able to find seams in between,” McCarthy said. “He just has great eyes and was he able to see me the few times I was open.”

At 7:59 of the third quarter, after a lengthy Delbarton possession, the duo teamed up again but this time they found each other on instinct.

“It was that one certain play where a man got caught up and he (Emmett) was able to see me with no one covering me,” McCarthy said.

50 bl mct final

The ground ball battle between Mountain Lakes and Delbarton is always fierce. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

Now with a sizable lead, Delbarton could take care of the ball and be patient and pick their spots. It helped that face-off middies Conor Mackie and Connor Kirst were able to give the Green Wave possessions off the draw. With each win, the Delbarton offense took its time and eventually put the ball in the net. T. J. Comizio scored off a J. J. McBride pass to make it a 7-3 game at the 7-minute mark.

The Lakers did get the ball back with little margin for error, but their scoring chance ended up in Delbarton goalie (and tournament MVP) Stephen Kovalsky’s stick. Seconds later McBride found the right corner of the net with a lefty shot to make it 8-3 with 4:33 left. McCarthy would finish the third-quarter scoring when he put in a Mackie feed to give the Green Wave a 9-3 lead.

12 bl mct finalLong stick middie Peter Welsh knifes between two Mountain Lakes defenders. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

Considering the quality of the Delbarton defense, which was well rested, even the most fervent Mountain Lakes fan had to be dismayed. The teams matched goals the rest of the way and Delbarton had a reason to celebrate at the final whistle. It was a job well done.

“The balance on offense, everyone on defense, it was a great team performance tonight,” Ruebling said. “I’m just so proud of these guys. This is the most complete game Delbarton lacrosse has played in quite awhile. It was fantastic and the kids were great.”


About mcvbb

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

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