photos by Victor Giol
Okay, I had to have a LITTLE fun with the title . . .
The Benjamin Buccaneers and the St. Edward’s Pirates . . . well, Privateer was used more than Buccaneer historically but they are pretty much interchangable.
Sir Henry Morgan was the most famous Buccaneer of all . . . hence the ‘Sir’ use. Trevor gets to borrow it this week.
The difference between the privateer and the pirate? Pretty much which side you were paying for protection. If you think The Sopranos were tough, read up on these guys.
And as they always seem to say about the Crime Shows . . . all resemblance of our fictional characters to real people, past or present, are solely coincidental . . . or something like that.
But Trevor Natalie did pillage the St. Edward’s defense on Tuesday and that is something that the Pirates will need to find a way to handle when their likely re-match occurs in April in Vero Beach.
Going into Tuesday night’s Top 5 1A battle, the question on my mind was how fast St. Edward’s could integrate their two-sport athletes into the lineup, as they had many playing Final Four state title games up through the weekend. The answer is ‘not fast enough’ to make a difference. But to be fair to Benjamin, it’s not like that would have made the difference last night. There’s still well over a month to go before Districts happen and one of the true stories of the season will be to see if St. Edward’s can make up the difference. These are two very legit teams these year, in a season full of potential surprises, and we will pay close attention to how each team plays through the season. Both teams have plenty of tough games coming and will be ready.
Those who saw the after-game interview with Benjamin HC Peter Cordrey know that we talked about faceoffs, ground balls (Benjamin killed it on 50/50 and on faceoff loose balls) and a decision to give Trevor Natalie some freedom to change dodging patterns and he replied with a number of dodges from right wing to the middle, getting his hands free for an array of shots. One thing that he worked very well all night was the high bounce shot and it’s been a long time since I saw someone use that weapon so well. A lot of kids should study those shots and incorporate them into their arsenal.
As the game went on there was less slippage in the offense as opposed to the King’s game and that kept St. Edward’s from being able to mount any run. St. Edward’s had to work hard for pretty much every goal and rarely had any sort of odd man fast break. Benjamin didn’t get too many of those either as both teams were pretty disciplined about defending breaks, but The St. Ed’s defense struggled with settled situations as Benjamin’s speed was a major factor all game. One factor that helped St. Edward’s was the play of goalie Liam Murphy, who put up 18 saves, many of them on low step down shots and I think the high bounce shots were a discussed strategy as he had dialed in on the low ones.
St. Edward’s offense was led by Danny Richmond with 4G/1A and after the game I remarked to HC Doug Bailey that it seemed I had been covering Danny forever. You’ve had a terrific career young man. Drew Sternberg showed a bulldog approach to his offense and a toughness that made taking the ball away a chore. As the game went on, the better balance of the Benjamin offense showed. Last week it was Brady Quinn leading the way but he had a quiet game Tuesday . . . didn’t matter as 15 goals is 15 goals.
Now we watch to see how the gap closes and look forward to the rematch, which will be up in Vero Beach.
Logan Sorenson opened the scoring for Benjamin at 7:02 as he converted a rebound in front for 1-0. Less than a minute later it was Ricky Savage finding Richmond on the left wing for the step down, drawing a penalty too to tie it at one, but the penalty was killed off. Natalie then scored two quick goals at 2:18 and 1:49 to make it 3-1 as he dodged from the right to the middle for low shots but Richmond answered on the right alley dodge at 1:03 for 3-2. Peter Cenci responded with a killer goal with 6 seconds left, again finding a rebound after Murphy made a fabulous save on Natalie to make it 4-2 after the first.
St. Ed’s drew within one at 8:00 in the second as Riker Pratt found Will Russell cutting to the cage from behind and hit him in stride. Benjamin then broke it open with a 5-goal run in the last 7 minutes, including two backbreakers in the last 30 seconds to make it 9-3 at the half. Natalie on the left alley, Connor Hewitt popping a faceoff forward, Natalie in front with players draped on him, Quinn with a great feed to the crease for Vincie Marotta to finish and finally Natalie with the high bounce shot. And Murphy made 5 tough saves in the quarter too.
At 9:33 of the 3rd, Brennan Wolfe found Sternberg cutting from behind left and he finished on the EMO for 9-4. Natalie and Luke Pisani answered within 27 seconds of each other, Natalie with another bounce shot and Pisani dodging to the middle and using a screen from straight away for 11-4. At 5:17 that was cut to 11-5 as Pratt took the right GLE feed from Wolfe for the right alley step down. Pisani found Natalie on the right wing at 3:26 on EMO to answer that one and added one of his own with a dodge to the middle with 38 seconds left. Savage found Russell low on the left side with 8 seconds left and it was 13-6 after three.
St. Ed’s outscored Benjamin 4-2 in the 4th to make it more respectable, with Natalie and Dominick DeVito adding unassisted goals for Benjamin while Sternberg and Richmond answered unassisted and Savage and Richmond teamed up for the last two, with each feeding the other for the 15-10 final.
Plenty of action.
Plenty to look forward to.
Here’s HC Peter Cordrey after the win:
Benjamin HC Peter Cordrey after the 15-10 win over St. Edward’s https://t.co/nozlHi5TLw— FloridaLacrosseNews (@FloridaLX) March 3, 2021
Faceoffs: Benjamin 18-9
Shots: Benjamin 47-29
Shots on Goal: Benjamin 33-17
Turnovers: St. Edward’s 21-16
Penalties: Benjamin 8-7
Trevor Natalie 8G
Luke Pisani 2G/1A
Logan Sorenson, Peter Cenci, Connor Hewitt, Vince Marotta and Dominick DeVito with 1G each
Brady Quinn 1A
Brock Roe with 7 saves
Danny Richmond 4G/1A
Will Russell and Drew Sternberg with 2G each
Ricky Savage 1G/3A
Riker Pratt 1G/1A
Brennan Wolfe 2A
Liam Murphy with 18 saves
Thanks to Coach Cordrey and Coach Bailey for talking to me before and after the game.