SOMERVILLE – It took them a little while to hit their stride, but when they did, Watchung Hills absolutely dominated the game.
The Watchung Hills boys lacrosse team defeated Immaculata 14-5 on Wednesday afternoon.
Sean Mullaney, Ryan Cunningham and Alec Orazietti led the Warriors with three goals apiece. Chris Clintock added two goals of his own while Frank Rice and Brian Richmond each scored one.
For the Spartans, Paul Rasimowicz scored three goals, while Griffin Vanderbeek and Johnny Madaras each scored one goal.
Led by Rasimowicz’s first two goals, Immaculata dominated the first quarter as they cruised to a 3-1 lead going into the second quarter.
The Spartans scored one more goal early in the second quarter, but the Warriors rattled off three quick goals from Orazietti, Cunningham and Clintock and tied the score.
“They were a little antsy and got away from the game plan,” Watchung Hills coach Jamie Lovejoy said. “Once the kids settle down, they were more selective with shooting and we did a nicer job.”
Immaculata scored again in the second, but Watchung Hills responded right away on a goal by Cunningham and took a 5-5 tie into the half.
“It’s more about managing the game one play at a time,” Lovejoy said. “It was good to go into the half tied at five and start the second half fresh. It gave the kids more sense of urgency.”
From there, the Warriors absolutely dominated the game, scoring nine unanswered goals and conceding zero goals in the second half.
Their run was highlighted by a goal courtesy of Rica. The midfielder swatted a ball right in front of the net that got passed the goalie as time expired in the third quarter.
The Warriors were firing on all cylinders, both offensively and defensively.
“I think that something we did more efficiently in the second half was we shared the ball and had more touches before getting shots,” Lovejoy said. “On defense, we focused on the blue collar parts of the game, winning the ground ball war and playing extremely hard.”
The Spartans also moved the ball well in the first quarter, but shied away from that game plan in the second quarter.
“We went away from team play and went to individual play,” Immaculata coach Tom Mott said. “There’s a lot to iron out and selfish play needs to go, starting there.”
With this win, the Warriors are 4-1 and are on pace to smash their record of 11-8 from last season.
“This year we want to show we’re not the same old Watchung Hills,” Cunningham said. “We’re a different team this year and we’re out to beat some people. We’re a contender.”
The Warriors have had an impressive season thus far, but they’ll be the first to tell anyone that they’re not getting ahead of themselves.
“Every game is a new hurdle and today was a great quality win for us in our conference,” Lovejoy said. “The next game is against Hunterdon Central, so we have to put this behind us and move on to the next one.”
Staff writer Daniel LoGiudice: email@example.com