photos by Seth Austin
Western HS went on a 5-0 run in the 3rd quarter to take control and go on to the 14-9 win over American Heritage-Delray last night in Delray Beach. A crisp game, and one where possessions mattered mightily in the first half and defensive adjustments by Western led to their second half performance, as their defense took away Delray’s offensive preferences.
Justin Tedim was dominant at the faceoff, as Western held a 19-4 advantage there. Delray’s defense was solid in the first half as they rode well to a number of turnovers and Western’s middies tried to do too much themselves at times, and those turnovers kept the game close until Western’s possession play got comfortable with a slower pace.
Delray also hurt themselves with their second half shooting, only hitting the net on 9 of 19 in the second half when a few more goals would have broken momentum at key points in the half. The team was guilty of firing for power and ignoring accuracy and that fundamental was a main issue in that half. There were some posts and crossbars hit too so luck wasn’t there either. Western was able to kill off 6 Man Down opportunities for the Stallions too.
Add it all up and you have the difference on the scoreboard.
AH-Delray has the bad misfortune of being assigned a District with 4 ranked preseason teams and they will have to grow the program to make a District playoff every year going forward beyond this one. There is talent here. It showed last night. Three different Stallions scored twice and goalie Sayre McMahon played a solid game with 13 saves. There is talent on defense too. The problem is enough depth as the District is loaded with talent and you need plenty to survive this gauntlet.
Western will play their 6th game in 8 nights tonight at Boca Raton, and that is a step up from last night. Coach Shanahan’s team is probably looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow . . .
A beautiful night for a game at a facility that is great to watch from, with a surprisingly good crowd for Covid times . . . not a bad way to spend a night!
Tanner Gallo opened the scoring for Delray at 8:50 as he dodged the middle from the left wing and hit the mid left side. Preston Appleblatt answered for Western at 5:32 as he took Nelson Walker’s up top feed on low left for the low shot and 1-1. Jack Lloyd went on a lengthy run, splitting defenders and going right alley for the low shot at 3:29 for the Stallion’s 2-1 lead but Western’s Tyler Hilliar took a lengthy pass from long pole Izaiah Ortiz about 15 yards out and pumped one past a surprised McMahon with :01 on the clock to tie it at 2 after the first.
Western took a two-goal lead early in the 2nd, scoring 27 seconds apart. On EMO, Robert Berry found Appleblatt on the crease from top right for for the one-timer and Berry face dodged on the low left and finished between the legs for 4-2. Heritage then went on a 3-goal run to take the 5-4 lead. Giacomo Comuzzi swooped in from the far outside to the middle for the low shot just 11 seconds after Berry’s goal and at 8:17 it was Emerson Barry swinging from the top left to the right alley for the top right shot. Joey Silverstein fed Gallo to finish the run at 5:52, finding Gallo cutting the middle from right GLE. Western responded twice just moments later for the 6-5 halftime lead as Berry and Luke Neveloff finished off unassisted tallies.
Heritage tied it early in the 3rd, at 11:44, as Comuzzi went right alley and the slide was late, and he hit the low left corner but Western went on a 5-0 run to take the 11-6 lead after the third. The first one was a fortunate break as Berry attempted to hit the crease player but both the player and McMahon missed the ball and Berry was credited with the goal at 8:45. At 3:10, on EMO, it was Appleblatt with his third as he fired from low left. Then the killer run happened late; first it was Tedim going right alley at 1:25 and Appleblatt finishing off the Berry feed at 0:14, with Tedim firing from up top at 0:06 to finish the late blitz.
AH pulled one back on EMO early in the fourth, at 11:02, as Gallo found Lloyd on low left for the right hand, but then the key moment of the game occurred as Western was forced to play defense for nearly four minutes and Delray’s shooters couldn’t convert (5 for 14 in the 4th), hitting a few posts but also firing high when overhand would have been better suited, and Western put the game away late as Berry, Cayden Herbert and Tristan Hedrick all scored in a 1:42 span to ice it. Delray potted two late goals from John McGovern and Leyton Zorumski to make it the 14-9 final.
One team on a roll and one team still searching for that signature win. Good luck the rest of the way! Thanks to both coaches for talking to me before and after the game.
Here’s Western HC Doug Shanahan after the game:
Western HC Doug Shanahan after the 14-8 win over American Heritage-Delray https://t.co/f2UN5pX0b9— FloridaLacrosseNews (@FloridaLX) March 5, 2021
Faceoffs: Western 19-4
Shots: Western 36-32
Shots on Goal: Western 27-18
Turnovers: Western 19-14
Penalties: AH-Delray 7-5
Robert Berry 4G/3A
Preston Appleblatt 4G
Justin Tedim 2G
Tyler Hilliar, Luke Neveloff, Cayden Herbert and Tristan Hedrick with 1G each
Nelson Walker and Izaiah Ortiz with 1A each
Zach Lewis with 9 saves
Tanner Gallo 2G/1A
Jack Lloyd and Giacomo Comuzzi with 2G each
Emerson Barry, John McGovern and Leyton Zorumski with 1G each
Joey Silverstein 1A
Sayre McMahon with 13 saves