April 8-14, 2004
Every Second Counts
By Luke Eggleston/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Luke Eggleston
CBA Laxmen Weather Chittenango and Surge for 8-7 Win
The Christian Brothers Academy varsity boys lacrosse team started its season off auspiciously last week, escaping from Button Field in Chittenango with an 8-7 win over the Bears. The damp field and the players’ rusty skills made for uneven, if entertaining, play as the Brothers withstood two late surges by host Chittenango. “I’m certainly happy anytime we get the win. With our weather and winter that we’ve had, you have to understand that it’s going to be pretty sloppy out there and so I’m very happy with the ‘w’,” CBA coach Jon McCoy said.
CBA eased into an early 3-0 lead and finished the first half with a 4-2 advantage. In the second half, Chittenango rallied to reverse the course of its fortunes. After CBA’s all-league middie Justin Venditti took advantage of a pass from Brady O’Malley to push the Brothers’ edge to three goals, the Bears scored two in quick succession to pull within one. Robert Lambert scored the first and Brandon Corp the second as the Bears’ bench erupted. CBA, however, parried with another scoring spurt. Venditti scored again and Tim Bobbett generated a brace as the Brothers increased their lead to 8-4. On either side of the break between quarters, Chittenango goalie Dan Longnecker executed two spectacular saves that once again brought the Bears’ players on the bench to their feet. “That goalie had a tremendous game and he kept their team in it,” McCoy noted. Chittenango continued to press CBA in the fourth quarter as John Toole scored two and Alex Tripoli interjected a third with help from Corp to pull once more within a goal. “Chittenango didn’t give up. They kept on clawing back and this was a good character test for my team to not give up and not to fold under pressure,” McCoy said. “We played a number of players today and I’m happy to see that a lot of players got some experience and we got the ‘w’.”
Although both teams finished the game with an equal number of penalties, eight, CBA seemed to concede man-advantage opportunities at an inopportune time as the Bears surged in the second half. “I think at times we gave up quite a few man advantages in the second half,” McCoy explained. “I think it was just because of our over-aggressiveness. We have a few players who like to get out there and they hustle hard. We just need to contain our energy to a certain point and make some better decisions.” But it was the Bears who made two crucial mistakes inside the last minute. Possessing in CBA’s end and needing to score just once to knot the affair, Chittenango lost the ball on an interference call.
Back in the Bears’ end of the field, an errant shot by CBA gave Chittenango a chance to resume possession, but a push call returned the ball to the Brothers. The Bears did not get the ball back until the dying seconds of play and were forced to hoist up a desperation shot. Bobbett and O’Malley led the Brothers with three goals and three assists respectively. Mike Hennigan, Suits, and Jonah Withers each scored a goal apiece. Suits dealt out two assists and RJ Mosley and Talbot were both credited with an assist. Matt Ural had 11 saves for the Brothers. Venditti scored two goals, but McCoy felt that his best lacrosse is still ahead of him this season. “Justin Venditti had a good day overall, but I think we will see much better things out of him,” the coach said.
McCoy stressed that his player of the game was likely defenseman Andy Tormey, who largely marginalized the Bears’ dangerous attackman Corp. “Defensively, Andy Tormey by far had the best game today for the whole team, because he shut down the No. 1 player and early. Brandon Corp got a few goals, but they certainly weren’t in unsettled situations. Andy Tormey was by far our player of the game today,” McCoy said. Last season, Corp paced Division II with 60 goals overall and 96 points overall. He was second in goals scored within league play with 30 (Westhill’s Mike McLaughlin scored 31 league goals, but only 52 overall). Against the Brothers, he scored a goal and had three assists, but was largely marginalized by Tormey, McCoy felt. Toole led the Bears with four goals. Corp, Lampert, and Tripoli each scored a goal apiece. Corp was credited with three assists. Longnecker finished with 19 saves. The lingering winter and sub-par field conditions have made practice time very difficult for teams throughout Central New York. That said, while he was proud of his team’s resilience in the face of a scrappy Chittenango team, McCoy knows that his team’s best form is still on the horizon.
“We’ve only begun,” he said. “With the winter that we had, it was difficult practicing on a full field and we could only do what we could do in a limited space. We need to continue to grow each and every day and each and every game. Our goal is sectionals and to do well in sectionals. We need to improve on our performance today by a lot in order to get to sectionals.”