Measuring Stick. A term used in sports to give one an opportunity to compare. In past years the term was specifically used by Florida lacrosse teams as a given. How do we compare to programs from the traditional lacrosse regions? It’s a sign of how far Florida has come that the term is no longer used by our top programs. It’s been replaced, at least Friday night, by the term ‘disappointing result’. St. Andrew’s probably felt that this was one they should have won.
Bishop-Timon is located in one of those hotbed areas, upstate New York; the home of such legendary programs like West Genesee, Corning, Irondequoit, etc. BT is a legit big-time team this year, with their top players already committed to Maryland, Albany, Hobart, Marist and Canisius. Last season they played a home and home series with powerful Hill Academy and lost both games by 3 goals. And they looked every bit the power they are.
Put together the fact that this was a late season game for the Scots, occurring on Senior’s Night, and BT’s first regular season game and SA was well positioned for a nice out-of-state win. Throw in a Corey Etcheverry masterpiece (17 saves on 30 shots on goal) and 8 EMO chances to 2 for BT and it should have been a different result. Congrats to BT for finding a way to win.
The game started poorly for SA. Shooting was a real issue in the first quarter as the Scots only put 4 out of their 13 shots on goal. Meanwhile BT hit the net with 10 of the 11 first quarter attempts. Maryland-bound Adam DiMillo opened the scoring for BT on a left alley dodge unassisted at the 7:37 mark. Etcheverry kept the lead at one on a spectacular goal-mouth save on DiMillo less than two minutes later while lying on the ground. It went for naught as Connor Fields scored the first of his four goals off a JD Recor (Marist) feed to raise the margin to 2 at 4:39. Grant Mahler pulled one back for SA at the 1:36 mark off a crease feed from Stephen Reall, who played a strong game, to make the score 2-1 after one.
BT started out on fire in the second, with Fields scoring his second and third on basically the same play in the first two minutes of the second. Both times the defenseman over-committed on the slide and Fields was able to dodge left into open space and get open looks that he buried. Layne Collins then added another goal about 90 seconds later off a wing feed from Alex Corbett and the lead stood at 5-1. Thanks to a few BT penalties SA was able to swing momentum back in its favor as Conor Whipple scored THREE assisted goals in a 1:34 time frame. The first came off a Jake Levine feed on an EMO. Sixteen seconds later Whipple scored off a Mahler feed and 1:18 later he completed a natural hat trick off a Reall feed to cut the lead to 1. Reall finished the run with his first of the game from Alex Bartzokis on a quick re-start after a BT turnover that caught BT’s defense out of position. Reall finished by dodging the BT goalie Jackson Brown (Hobart) to tie the game with 4:14 left. A 2:33 run of four goals to tie the game and that is where is stood at halftime, 5-5.
SA’s run coincided with a better offensive flow as the offense utilized far more off-ball movement in the second. This was also reflected in the shots as SA put 9 of 10 shots on goal in the second. BT cooled a little bit in that quarter, going 6 for 10. Both goalies were on top of their games, making pinpoint outlet passes to go with their solid save percentages. Many saves were off excellent shooting opportunities as both goalies were particularly sharp on mid-range open looks.
The third quarter was a back and forth affair, with each team scoring three goals to send the game to the fourth tied at 8. Recor scored his second of four off a Brandon Donahue feed off a failed SA clear at 8:37. To add insult it was also a short-handed tally. Reall then scored his second on the same EMO off a hidden ball trick re-start unassisted at 7:57. SA took their first lead of the game two minutes later on Andy Wheeler’s solo effort off a broken play. A pass was deflected and fell at Wheeler’s feet in the middle of the defense and he was able to get a full wind-up, which he buried. A minute later, at 4:40, Recor tied the game again unassisted off a face dodge. A minute and a half later BT regained the lead off Collins’ second as he curled from behind the cage. With 55 seconds left, Whipple scored again on a crease feed from Levine, setting up the exciting fourth period.
47 seconds into the fourth Levine scored unassisted by beating his defender from behind and bouncing one between Brown’s feet just past goal line extended, putting SA back up 9-8. BT responded quickly and forcefully, with two goals in 29 seconds; the first at 10:47 and the second at 10:18. Recor added his third on a DiMillo crease feed and that was followed by DiMillo’s dodge and re-dodge through 3 SA defenders. BT then stretched the lead to 11-9 at 7:15 on Billy Coppola’s left alley dodge. After a timeout SA fought back to tie the game at 11 on two goals in a 22 second period. Wheeler scored his second on a dodge from up top unassisted and Levine scoring off a feed from behind the cage by Reall.
BT showed its mettle by coming back 32 seconds later on Recor’s fourth off a Fields pass to the middle and re-took the lead 12-11. The last four minutes showed both teams fighting for possession and a late loose ball scramble, with basically all TWELVE field players fighting for the ball in SA’s end led to an uncontested break on goal by Fields, who buried the clincher with just 11 seconds remaining to make the final 13-11.
Statistically the game was pretty close except for the EMO opportunities:
Face-offs: SA 14 – BT 15
Shots: SA 39 – BT 40
SOG: SA 22 – BT 30
Turnovers: SA 14 – BT 16
SA took 2 penalties and BT took 8.
Both goalies showed why they are headed to Division One programs this year. All in all, a crisp, well-played game. Timon Coach Burke was very complimentary after the game about Florida lacrosse in a conversation with me. As far as SA is concerned this might have been a great warm-up for the playoffs but I’m sure the players and staff are looking at this one as one that got away. Or to put it another way, a few inches short of the whole ruler. SA will face a number of obstacles in this year’s play-off season; in order to repeat they will need to go the whole yard.
Whipple led SA with 4 goals, Reall added 2G/3A, Levine 2G/2A, Wheeler 2G, Mahler 1/1 and Bartzokis added his assist. BT was led by Recor’s 4G/2A, Fields 4G/1A, DiMillo and Collins with 2G/1A each, Coppola 1G and Donahue and Corbett added an assist each.
SA finishes up its regular season next week with a road trip to Pine Crest on Friday. BT heads home to sunny Buffalo to take on sectional rival Nichols, also on Friday.