Like its game against Mamaroneck last week, Greenwich’s boys lacrosse team seized a first quarter lead in Thursday’s game against FCIAC rival Staples.
Yet like their game against Mamaroneck, which resulted in a one-goal loss, the Cardinals, couldn’t hold the early advantage they had on the Wreckers.
Greenwich jumped out to a four-goal lead in the first quarter, but Staples stormed back to tie the score, then it was a back-and-forth battle throughout, with the Staples making key plays down the stretch to post a 12-8 comeback win at Cardinal Stadium.
The Wreckers upped their record to 4-0 with the win, while the Cardinals have a 2-2 mark after four games.
“This team comes to play and we come out hot, showing the ability we have to score,” Greenwich coach Bobby Lutz said. “We had a couple of opportunities where if we keep that momentum going we would have neutralized them with our own goals when they were coming back.”
Junior attack Tyler Clark recorded four goals and two assists, while senior attack Charlie Howard and midfielder Ryan Thompson had two goals apiece to power Staples to the come-from-behind victory. The score was tied at 4-4 following the opening quarter, then Staples entered halftime with a 7-6 edge.
The Cardinals were once again paced offensively by senior attack Bryce Metalios, who registered a game-high five goals, three of which came in the first half.
“Bryce is great, you know teams are planning for him,” Lutz said. “They scout him, they know what he does. Our guys know when to look for him, so I give them a lot of credit too. They are creative enough to find him.”
Senior Wesley Zolin scored the game’s first goal, giving GHS a 1-0 lead with 10:18 to go in the opening stanza. Metalios converted a shot off a pass from junior attackman Brian Collins, making it 2-0 at the 8:51 mark of the first quarter. Greenwich’s leading scorer struck again, this time tallying off an assist from senior midfielder Quinn Warwick, putting the Cards on top, 3-0 1:13 later.
James Pilc, a senior midfielder, capped Greenwich’s early scoring, netting a perimeter shot with 6:40 remaining in the first quarter, putting Staples in a 4-0 hole.
“We’ve done that a few games this year,” Metalios said. “We come out hot, we just need to work on keeping the foot on the pedal. We played Mamaroneck and we went up 4-0 (the Cardinals wound up losing 11-10) we just have to work on maintaining the lead.”
Down 4-0, the Wreckers quickly began their comeback in the first quarter. Junior Leo Sequenzia scored the team’s opening goal at the 3:57 mark of the quarter off a Clark assist, then senior attack Mason Schaefer tallied with 2:40 left in the quarter, cutting Greenwich’s lead in half. After senior Henry Dodge won the ensuing faceoff, the Wreckers scored again 18 seconds later, with Howard finishing in front, making it 4-4 heading into the second quarter.
Metalios’ goal off a Collins assist, gave the Cards a 5-3 edge with 7:13 remaining in the second quarter, then came three straight Staples goals, with Howard tallying twice and senior attack Max Udell adding a goal for a 7-5 lead. Senior midfielder Flynn Milledge beat the clock, scoring with just two seconds remaining in the second quarter, bringing Greenwich to within 7-6 going into halftime.
“There’s been a series of spurts for us, where we score a lot and they score a lot,” Lutz said. “It was definitely tough to keep possession. We worked on ground balls a lot in practice. We gave up too many ground balls and Dodge is great – he’s one of the best FOGOS in the country and the best in the state, so getting those extra possessions was key for them.”
Dodge won 14 faceoffs for Staples, which held a 9-8 lead after the third quarter. With Staples leading 10-8 at the 7:46 mark of the fourth quarter, lightning and rain hit the area, causing play to be suspended for approximately 45 minutes. When the action resumed, Staples widened its lead on a pair of goals by Clark for a 12-8 advantage. The Wreckers had possession most of the final 7:46 of play.
“When you get down a little bit, it’s hard to get those possessions when you give up a goal,” Lutz said. “It’s hard to keep on a run.”
“It’s a tough one,” Metalios said of the loss. “I think the team played hard though, we played hard right to the whistle. There’s just little things like ground balls, the possession battle – we’ve got to keep working on that. But I think we’re close.”
Senior goalie Charlie Zola turned in a strong performance for the Cardinals, making 10 saves.
“I think we played well, but the little things we have to work on like ground balls, possession battle, transition stuff – little stuff like that we have to work on,” Zola said. “I think we look good, two tough losses is not good, but we are starting out pretty hot and playing well in the beginning.”
Greenwich hosts Pleasantville in a non-conference game tomorrow at 11 a.m., then plays FCIAC foes Westhill, Brien McMahon and Ridgefield next week. They’ll host McMahon on Thursday and Ridgefield on Saturday.
“This is one of the best team’s I’ve had in my seven years here, but it seems like everyone else has one of their best teams,” Lutz said. “It’s good, we’ll all play each other and we’ll all get each other better and hopefully, we’ll peak at the right time.”