Though Greenwich had the lead against non-conference boys lacrosse foe Pleasantville heading into halftime, it wasn’t entirely satisfied. However, once the second half began, the Cardinals certainly had plenty to smile about.
Scoring seven unanswered goals in the third quarter, the Cardinals soared to a sizeable lead and cruised to a convincing victory to end their week.
Senior attack/captain Bryce Metalios scored a game-high six goals and assisted on two others to propel Greenwich past Pleasantville, 14-6, at Cardinal Stadium. Greenwich trailed 3-2 after the first quarter, held a 6-3 halftime lead, then pulled away in the second half, excelling on both ends of the field.
“We came out slow, the first half was tough, we had a lot of possessions we didn’t capitalize on,” Metalios said. “The second half, we came out hot. We had a good halftime, we talked about our mistakes and we just came out firing on all cylinders.”
Metalios has scored a team-leading 22 goals through five games for the Cardinals (3-2). Senior midfielder/FOGO/captain Quinn Warwick recorded two goals and one assist, senior midfielder/captain Flynn Milledge tallied twice, freshman attack Mikey Brescia had one goal and three assists and junior attack Brian Collins totaled one goal and three assists to also spark the winning effort.
“Definitely at the beginning it was really slow,” said Milledge, also one of the Cards’ captains. “We were all sore after a hard practice yesterday, trying to get back in the groove. We talked it over and made sure we started firing the second half and we were getting more creative, more looks in the second half.”
Warwick was a force at the faceoff-X, winning an impressive 13 of the 18 faceoffs he took.
“Winning faceoffs is always huge and him giving us those extra possessions – I know when we get the ball we can score,” Cardinals coach Bobby Lutz said.
Warwick began the game’s scoring, tallying off a pass from Brescia 2:45 into the first quarter. A goal from Ryan Challice of Pleasantville tied the score at 1-1, then Greenwich took a 2-1 edge when Collins caught a pass from Metalios and converted a shot from close in with 2:53 to go in the opening quarter.
Just 12 seconds later, the Panthers evened the score at 2-2, as Hank McCourtney tallied in transition off a pass from Shane Mueller. The visitors brought a 3-2 advantage into the second quarter, after Dan Picart scored at the 1:47 mark of the first quarter. Then it was all Cardinals for the next two quarters, as the home team scored the matchup’s next 12 goals.
Greenwich played a zone defense for a good portion of the game, making it difficult for Pleasantville to get open shots on goal and cut toward the net. Junior Matthew Trimmer, senior John Scarlata, senior Corey Tautel, senior Brendan Frost and sophomore Adam Kim anchored the Cards’ defense.
“The defense is great, we are slowly becoming a zone team and now it seems like we have better zone players,” Lutz said. “When we switched to zone it was just hard for them to score.”
Milledge scored off a dodge 1:40 into the second quarter, then tallied again at the 5:47 mark off a well-executed spin move, putting the Cards ahead for good at 4-3. Metalios picked up a loose ball and put a short shot past Panthers goalie Ryan Raefski, making it 5-3. The Cardinals’ leading scorer struck again with just seven seconds to go at the half, giving the hosts a three-goal halftime edge.
In the third quarter, Greenwich continued to thrive, with Metalios scoring on the quarter’s opening possession, following another faceoff win by Warwick. Senior midfielder/captain James Pilc scored off a strong run to the goal with 9:37 to go in the quarter, putting GHS on top, 8-3.
“Our team in the second half is who we truly are as a team,” Warwick said. “The beginning, we didn’t come out as quick as we expected. I was getting some wins at the X, some faceoff wins. After that we were able to flip a switch and got it.”
Brescia and freshman Colin Zeller had a goal apiece in the third quarter for Greenwich, which went into the final quarter with a commanding 14-3 lead. Senior captain Charlie Zola made three saves and senior Kevin Keaveney came off the bench to stop two shots for the victors.
“I thought we came out a little flat,” Pilc said. “It was tight in the first quarter, but then in the second half we kind of got going and it felt good after that loss to Staples (a 12-8 defeat on Thursday) to get a big win like this. The second half we cleaned things up, we were cutting off the ball and we put a lot of goals on the scoreboard.”
“I’m very confident the way our team has played,” Pilc continued. “I think we have a good chance against the top teams in the league and we just have to keep moving forward.”
Offensively, seven players filled up the score sheet for Greenwich.
“I’m pretty happy with how we were moving the ball in the second half,” Metalios said. “We had a lot of scorers today, a lot of our goals were assisted. Our offense is starting to move the ball really well.”
Greenwich gets back into FCIAC action next week. They will visit Westhill on Tuesday, host Brien McMahon on Thursday and play visiting Ridgefield on Saturday in a rematch of last seasons’ FCIAC Tournament quarterfinals, which the Tigers won. The Cardinals’ game against Ridgefield on Saturday is scheduled to begin at 12 p.m.
“It’s a big week,” Milledge said. “We have Ridgefield on the 23rd, we’re really looking forward to that game. We’re just going to keep playing how we’re playing.”
“Ridgefield – we are going to spend this whole week preparing for them,” Warwick said. “It’s probably going to be our biggest game of the year. It sets the tone for who we are and it’s going to be a really great battle.”