By John Goralski
It wasn’t a good week for Southington’s starters in the second half. It wasn’t a great week to practice a last minute stand or a comeback charge. The Blue Knight lacrosse team raced out to double digit scores in all three games last week.
In three lopsided victories, Southington’s starters were left roaming around on the sidelines in the second halves while bench players emptied onto the turf field. In two games, the starters were sitting with time left in the opening half.
“We tried to not develop bad habits. We were trying to not get guys hurt out there, but at the same time we still wanted to work on our fundamentals,” said Southington coach Ron Chase. “There were some good teaching moments like at the end [of game one]. With 30 seconds left, we had all freshmen and sophomores out there. We had to keep it in the box. If this was a big game, that would have cost us.”
So Chase discarded his scowl and his intensity and put on his teaching cap. The Knights stormed past Farmington, 18-1. They swept past Rocky Hill, 16-4, and out-distanced Masuk, 15-5. Meanwhile, Chase and his staff turned their focus on developing depth for down the road.
“This gives our younger guys a chance to play,” said the coach after the second contest. “We don’t want to make a mistake or pick up bad habits, and that’s the main thing. But if you look at us at the end, we had all sophomores at attack from the second quarter on. In the last 10 minutes of the game, they really did those small things that we’ve been working on.”
Of course, the starters had their chance to play. Kevin Cop scrambled for 11 goals and 10 assists over three games with limited play. Jared Florian was able to collected nine goals with four assists during his time in the game. Jared DeFeo scored seven goals with four assists, and Alex Jamele had four goals and three assists.
“I pulled everyone after the first quarter against Rocky Hill,” said Chase. “I didn’t want to leave our guys in to pad our stats. I’m not the kind of guy to do that, but it was nice to see them on the sidelines cheering those younger guys on.”
Upperclassmen Pat Freer (2 goals) and Jordan Corey (1 goal) contributed to the scoring, but late game work was centered around the underclassmen. The newcomers held their own, out-scoring opponents 12-6 in the second half during the three game stretch with sophomore Chris Gamber leading the way with six goals and two assists.
Sophomores Aiden Chubet and Mike Majchrzak scored two goals and one assist apiece. Sophomores Jake Testa (2 goals) and Liam Delahunty scored, while freshman Nick Zukoustas chipped in two goals over the three game period.
“Offensively, we’re playing with a lot of confidence,” said Chase. “But two of those wins were against somewhat lesser teams. We were just trying to get through them without getting any of our guys hurt, but we really came out against Masuk on Saturday. Our guys were fired up. Besides Cheshire, it was the most excited that I’ve seen them play.”
Defensively, the Knights held Farmington and Rocky Hill to just two goals in the first half. Masuk was able to score twice in the opening half with three more in the final period. Brian Mahon collected 14 saves over three games as a starter, but Dan Saucier came in to snatch 30 saves in relief.
“When the ball’s on the other end all the time, it’s tough to get everything going on defense,” said Chase, “but Danny made some really nice saves.”
Now, the Knights will look to carry that momentum into the next couple of weeks as the schedule picks up once again. The Knights will play a cross-over game against NW Catholic (2-1) followed by conference match-ups against Simsbury (4-0) and Conard (1-3) this week with non-conference rivalries against Pomperaug and Xavier the following week.
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By John Goralski