Boys Lacrosse: No. 3 Christian Brothers Academy (NJ) Stays Patient in Victory over No. 8 Howell
FARMINGDALE – Patient on offense, physical on defense, unrelenting in the midfield and nearly perfect at the face-off X, Christian Brothers Academy put together a complete performance on Friday afternoon to come away with an important divisional victory.
The Colts, ranked No. 3 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10, used a four-goal surge late in the second quarter to open a comfortable lead on their way to a 10-3 Shore Conference Class A North victory over No. 8 Howell.
Senior attackman and Villanova commit Dan Martin scored three times, sophomore attackman Nick Blalock tallied two goals and two assists and senior attackman Ryan Howard dished out three assists to pace an offense that bided its time against Howell’s zone defense and seized its opportunities.
Defensively, CBA’s sizeable defensemen played with a physical edge that limited Howell’s talented offense to just two second-quarter goals before a late goal against a contingent of mostly backups. Senior pole Aidan Quinn was particularly noticeable with his checking ability and stick work, as was junior defensive midfielder Max Avrillon. That made life easy for standout senior goalie and Providence commit Noah D’Andrea, who needed to make just three third-quarter saves to earn the win.
“It was an all-around solid game,” said CBA head coach Dave Santos. “The poles played well, the D-middies played a great game and we got a lot of turnovers with our ride. And our offense was patient, which we had to be against their zone.”
“We’ve been working really hard in practice to lock in mentally,” Martin said. “I think that played out today pretty well. Everyone was doing their job, the defense was making some nice plays and getting some big hits and the offense was putting the ball into the back of the net.”
Howell came out in a zone defense and the result was some long and deliberate possessions for the Colts (7-2, 3-0). Howell junior goalie Colin Fay was tough to beat all afternoon, but the Colts’ patience and off-ball movement were rewarded with goals by Martin and Sean Tennyson to give them a 2-0 lead after the first 12 minutes. The lead grew to 3-0 early in the second quarter when DeRosa took a pass from Howard and bounced a shot past Fay.
“The only way you beat a zone is to show patience and intelligence, and we did that,” Santos said. “Eventually, we wore them down.”
Howell was able to quickly close the gap, however, with two goals in a span of 1:15. Junior midfielder Doug MacKenzie scored an unassisted goal at 8:29 and junior midfielder Dax Kukan followed at 7:14 off a pass from Vincent Burns to make it 3-2. But that was as close the Rebels would get.
Just 29 seconds later, Blalock scored an unassisted goal to make it 4-2 and CBA’s offense began to find its groove. Senior midfielder and Monmouth University commit Terrance Lacewell took a pass from Howard and scored to make it 5-2 with 2:31 to go in the first half. DeRosa then set up sophomore attackman Ian Macrae for a 6-2 lead and Blalock netted his second with 1:37 on the clock to give CBA a 7-2 halftime lead. The Colts scored three times in the final two and a half minutes of the half, which was a trend for them throughout the game. They scored a total of six goals in the final 2:30 in each of the first three quarters.
“If we have the ball on offense they can’t score, so that’s a motto we live by,” Martin said. “Just moving off-ball consistently and trying to make them have a mental lapse and then capitalizing on that mistake.”
CBA had a handful of players miss most of the first quarter because they were taking an AP college placement exam. One of those was standout face-off specialist Jared Lucich, and when the senior Babson commit returned he played a huge part in CBA opening its five-goal halftime lead. He won 8 of 9 draws in the first half and finished the game 11-for-13.
“It makes everyone on the field more comfortable,” Martin said. “He’s a great player and he’s going to make a lot of great plays for us to help us down the stretch when it’s really important.”
Howell barely had the ball for large stretches of the game for a variety of reasons. Lucich’s ability at face-off X certainly played a big part and turnovers were another issue for the Rebels. CBA’s defense and its ride forced its share but far too often Howell threw the ball away and squandered the limited possessions it had.
Howell also lost standout senior James Fay early in the game after he took a check, went down with an injury and did not return.
The second half featured more of the same from CBA. Martin scored twice in the third quarter and senior defenseman Cooper Graham even got in on the action to make it 10-2 heading to the fourth. The lead would have been greater if not for Fay’s play in goal, which included nine saves in the second half.
Howell sophomore attackman Nate Lorenzo scored the only goal of the fourth quarter, which came with 1:39 on the clock.
About midway through the fourth quarter, CBA changed goalies on the fly and senior JR Miller entered and made four impressive saves down the stretch to help preserve the lead.
Step one for CBA is to win the Class A North title and Friday’s victory cleared a significant hurdle toward achieving that goal. As usual, the Colts are also a contender for the Shore Conference Tournament title. The talent is certainly there for them to make another deep postseason run.
“We have a lot of great pieces on this team; a phenomenal goalie, great on face-offs, a great defense, great offense,” Martin said., “We just have to work together to reach that final goal.”
No. 3 Christian Brothers Academy 10, No. 8 Howell 3
|CBA (7-2, 3-0)||2||5||3||0||10|
|Howell (5-4, 2-1)||0||2||0||1||3|
GOALS – CBA: Dan Martin 3, Nick Blalock 2, Sean Tennyson, Michael DeRosa, Terrance Lacewell, Ian Macrae, Cooper Graham; H: Doug MacKenzie, Dax Kukan, Nate Lorenzo.
ASSISTS – CBA: Ryan Howard 3, Nick Blalock 2, Dan Martin, Michael DeRosa, Max Avrillon, Aidan Guinnessey.
SAVES – CBA: Noah D’Andrea 3, JR Miller 4; H: Colin Fay 13.
SHOTS: CBA, 38-20.
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