Miller, Glen Rock move past Wayne Hills
Glen Rock occasionally offers sure signs of proof that the team possesses individuals with high-level shooting and dodging ability.
The Panthers just happen to do a real good job of usually disguising it.
Take a close look in isolated circumstances of Tim Miller, Braeden DeWan, Pat Egan, Alex Walker and Jake Pellegrino. Glen Rock can unload from the perimeter with a touch of thunder and also sweep through the box with troublesome combinations of power and speed.
Still, nothing seems to satisfy this club more than a sharp off-ball cut that eventually meets up with a well-placed pass somewhere within 6 yards of the cage.
"At the end of the game, if we have 50-percent assisted goals, we're not really happy with that," Glen Rock head coach Tim Bracken said. "That's not going to get you far in our minds. You should be moving the ball. When the ball's moving and people are moving, it makes it hard to defend."
Wayne Hills was the most recent team to bear witness to that as Miller struck for four goals and two assists and DeWan and Pellegrino each contributed one goal and three assists to guide undefeated Glen Rock to a 10-2 win Monday afternoon in a non-divisional game in Wayne.
Egan and Walker added to another well-balanced outing with two goals apiece and goalie Jake Quiat halted nine shots to move Glen Rock's record to 10-0. The Panthers assisted on 80-percent of their goals in this game and are at 68 for the season.
"We always work on being patient and doing the off-ball cuts to force the defense to make mistakes," DeWan said. The 6-5 senior middie, headed for Swarthmore, now has 18 goals and 10 assists for the season.
Miller, a senior attackman, is the squad's poster boy for scoring balance with 27 goals and 27 assists for 54 points. He's headed for the University of Pennsylvania, but will be playing club, not varsity, lacrosse because of the academic rigors he will face as a double major in business and engineering.
"Eventually, if you keep moving it, the zone's going to get discombobulated and you'll have your shot," DeWan said. "We might have a good shot, but we all swing it around until we see someone with a better shot. We all trust in each other to get the best shot."
The Panthers' early shot selection was impeccable, sinking four goals on their first four shots of the game and grabbing a 6-1 lead by halftime on only 10 shots. Three of the non-goals were saves by Wayne Hills goalie Max Fields.
"That's a testament to Coach (Jim) Egan," Miller said. "He's been stressing good ball movement all season. This is the same returning offense as last year, so we have a lot of experience together. We've been working since last year on moving the ball and following the principles of our offense."
Glen Rock fashioned a combined 31-17 record the previous three years with Bracken and Egan essentially teaming up to call the offense. Bracken now laughs how Egan managed to establish a greater sense of autonomy this year.
"We decided there should be a little separation of powers at the beginning of the season…he asked me to leave him alone," Bracken said.
"Jim and I have been together four years and we’ve always preached the same thing. We like more an old-style lacrosse. We're not really about the power game. We're about the finesse game. Moving with the ball, moving without the ball."
Glen Rock needs no special lesson on moving. It is playing its entire season on the road while its home field undergoes renovations.
Glen Rock conducted an effective, though very brief, clinic on moving with the ball in the second quarter behind the quick, assertive faceoff work of Pellegrino. Following a goal by Egan off a pass from DeWan in the settled offense with 2:33 to play, Pellegrino won the faceoff to trigger a fast break finished by Walker just seven seconds later. Pellegrino won the next draw and spurred another break that was completed by Miller a mere five seconds later for a 4-0 lead.
"Jake is doing a great job. He's very quick," Miller said. He and Pellgrino shared faceoff duties and claimed 12 of 16 for the Panthers. "When I go against him in practice, it's tough to beat him. He's a sparkplug."
DeWan played that role Monday with a scorching shot from 13 yards out off a short feed by Pellegrino for a 1-0 lead 3:54 into the game. He assisted on two goals in that half and fed Miller just 32 seconds into the third quarter for a 7-1 lead.
So, DeWan had that rare spotlight moment before slipping back into team mode and using his skills to find teammates. But they did all have prime looks, and have come to expect feeds at those moments.
"We don't worry about padding our stats," DeWan said. "It's all about what we can do together. It's a team mentality. We're talented, but we don't worry about the individual stats."
Jake O'Brien converted a pass from Robby Schiller with 20 seconds left in the first half to pull Wayne Hills (7-4) to within 5-1. Ryan Kardux completed the scoring for the day off a feed from Matt Schunke with 2:59 left in the game. The Patriots often had difficulty organizing quality attempts against a defense led by Pat Keller and Toph Clarke.
"We just try to play fundamental, sound defense," Bracken said. "We try to play a team and not rely on one guy. Play good angles and communicate with each other. Defense is all about heart and hustle and communication."
Mike Kinney covers boys lacrosse for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeKinneyHS