Boys Lacrosse: Brick Memorial Holds off Jackson Memorial to Improve to 7-0
JACKSON -- Brick Memorial entered Saturday morning's game with rival Jackson Memorial undefeated and averaging 14.7 goals per game, but the Mustangs knew with Dylan Furnback in the opposing goal they were facing a player capable of stealing the game.
"I told the kids coming in we're facing one of the best goalies in the Shore Conference, if not the best," said Brick Memorial head coach Brent Middlemiss. "We had to shoot smart."
Furnback stood on his head for much of the first half, but the Mustangs used crisp ball movement and capitalized on a major possession advantage in the second and third quarters for an 8-5 Shore Conference Class A South victory. Senior attackman Billy Porter scored a game-high three goals while juniors Zack Morton and Mike Mowder each scored twice to fuel Brick Memorial's first ever lacrosse win over Jackson.
"We knew we had to play as a team and run and cut," Porter said. "We knew we couldn't just drive on this team. We had to pass the ball around and shoot it low. It's a grass field here so we needed to bounce the ball and make it as crazy as we could for him."
Junior defenseman Hunter Vojtko also scored while junior Gavin Murphy and sophomore Joey Ferrara had two assists each for the Mustangs (7-0, 3-0). Senior goalie Chris Sayers made 12 saves.
Santo Porazzo scored twice for Jackson Memorial (2-5, 0-3) while Justin Mayer had one goal and one assist. Furnback finished with 11 saves.
Furnback had five saves in the opening quarter and the score was tied 1-1 heading to the second. Brick Memorial was generating offense, but needed to get Furnback moving side-to-side rather than trying to dodge defenders one-on-one. The goal that sparked the Mustangs came with 3:53 left in the first half as Murphy passed inside to a cutting Porter, who quickly fired it past Furnback to give Brick Memorial a 2-1 halftime lead.
"At halftime we said we needed more movement and more off-ball picks, and that's what we did," Porter said. "We tried to create more chaos on the defense inside."
The adjustments worked as Brick Memorial scored five times in the third quarter to open a 7-2 lead. Porter had unassisted tallies at 9:30 and 7:03 to make it 4-1, then Morton took a feed from Murphy and beat Furnback at 3:10. Vojtko made it 6-1 after he took a pass from Vincent Spinelli at midfield, sprinted all the way to the net and bounced one past Furnback for a 7-1 lead with 2:50 left in the third quarter.
Porazzo snapped Brick Memorial's five-goal run when he converted off a great pass from Mayer with 53 seconds left in the third, but Brick Memorial got it right back when Ferrara fed Mowder for a goal with 25 seconds to go.
"We didn't shoot smart in the first quarter and (Furnback) made some great saves," Middlemiss. said. "Even when we scored they were great shots. You're not going to score easily on that kid. We hadn't faced a goalie of that caliber yet this year so it was a good test for us."
Mowder scored on an extra-man opportunity off another pass from Ferrara 2:52 into the fourth quarter to make it 8-2, but the Mustangs were forced to hold on for dear life after a slew of penalties had the Jaguars playing with an extra man for nearly the entire fourth quarter.
Brick Memorial was flagged six times in the fourth quarter and the Jaguars scored on two of them to pull to within three. Mayer scored unassisted at 5:04 and Corey McKay took a pass from Aidan Schell for a goal at 4:33. Schell made a great play to intercept a clearing pass from a Brick Memorial defender, catching the Mustangs out of position for the easy dish to McKay for the goal. Dakota Negron then scored an EMO goal with 3:33 left to make it 8-5.
Brick Memorial was able to gain possession, however, after killing off the sixth and final penalty with 1:40 left to thwart Jackson's late rally and remain undefeated.
"We got a little sloppy at the end, and that's what separates the good teams from the great teams," Porter said. "We have to learn from that and play better next time down the stretch."
"Our problem has been we haven't played a complete game yet," Middlemiss said. "We're beating teams but we have had lapses. We just have to play a complete game and play a little more under control and recognize, up 8-2 you don't have to be a hero on defense."
Brick Memorial has a huge Class A South game on Wednesday against Toms River North. The Mariners are 5-0 and, if they defeat Howell on Monday, will make it a battle of unbeatens versus the Mustangs.
"That's definitely the biggest test of the year so far," Porter said. "They best us pretty good last year, 15-3. We're just looking to continue what we're doing and play our game."
Brick Memorial 8, Jackson Memorial 5
Brick Memorial (7-0, 3-0) 1 1 5 0 -- 8
Jackson Memorial (2-5, 0-3) 1 0 1 3 -- 5
GOALS -- BM: Billy Porter 3, Zack Morton 2, Mike Mowder 2, Hunter Vojtko; JM: Santo Porazzo 2, Justin Mayer, Corey McKay, Dakota Negron.
ASSISTS -- BM: Gavin Murphy 2, Joey Ferrara 2; JM: Aidan Schell, Justin Mayer.
SAVES -- BM: Chris Sayers 12; JM: Dylan Furnback 11.
SHOTS: Jackson Memorial, 24-22.
Lacrosse editor Bob Badders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.