Kinney: Boys lax TOC semifinal previews
NJSIAA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
At Kean University, Union
SUMMIT (20-1) VS. DELBARTON (15-6), 5 p.m.
SEEDS: Summit 2, Delbarton 3
MSG VARSITY POWER RANKING: Summit 2, Delbarton 3
TRENDS: Summit has won five straight games since a 10-7 loss to Ridgewood to close out the regular season. Delbarton has won four in a row since a 5-3 loss to Long Island power Chaminade in the final game of the regular season.
LAST TIME OUT
SUMMIT edged Glen Ridge, 9-8, last Wednesday in the Group 1 championship game to snap up its fourth consecutive state title. The Hilltoppers built an 8-3 lead after three quarters behind the scoring of David Kalin and Austin Carbone and held off a surging Glen Ridge with some sparkling late goalie play by Alex Salazar.
DELBARTON combined a strong possession game and outstanding defense to defeat Montclair Kimberley, 9-2, last Saturday in the T of C quarterfinals. Matt Killian, Connor Bilby and Sean Donnelly paced the balanced attack with two goals apiece and Will Reynolds and Michael Bicknese were among the defensive standouts.
LAST MEETING: Summit fell behind, 2-0, in the first quarter, but controlled play the next two periods for a 9-4 win May 2 in Morris Township. Rutgers-bound senior attackman Nick Kilkowski was spectacular that day with five goals while Austin Carbone chipped in with two to pace Summit. Connor Bilby scored twice for Delbarton, but his club had great difficulty negotiating Summit's zone defenses once subtle adjustments were made after the first quarter.
Summit has won the last five encounters with Delbarton, including in the T of C semis last season and the T of C championship game in 2009.
T OF C HISTORY
Summit won the T of C in 2009 and 2010 and lost in the championship game in 2011 and 2005. That '05 loss came against Delbarton, but the Hilltoppers exacted revenge in the '09 final with an 8-4 decision.
Delbarton won the first three T of C titles in 2004, '05 and '06, then lost three straight in '07, '08 and '09.
NUMBERS: Summit averages 11.57 gpg. and allows 4.3. Delbarton averages 11.04 gpg and allows 5.6.
Summit did a fine job in the last meeting of withstanding Delbarton's initial push, adjusting its zone defense a bit and then taking charge of the game in the second and third periods en route to a 9-4 win. The Hilltoppers can probably expect a slightly different approach by Delbarton, so defenders Will Weber, Bill Hadley, Stef Stadlinger and Tyler Carbone will have to be on their toes again and prepared to adapt.
They have, for the most part, done a splendid job of keeping tough shots away from goalie Alex Salazar, though the senior has proven he can make the challenging stops, too.
What was particularly interesting about that last game was Summit's ability to maintain long, productive possessions despite its huge disadvantage on faceoffs. It was outdrawn, 15-2, yet was able to force enough turnovers through its wing play and initial defensive pressure.
The shots were even that day at 23-23, yet Summit got more opportunities through the aggressive dodges of senior attackman Nick Kilkowski, who finished with five goals. The Rutgers-bound attackman, with 76 goals, is definitely the key to this offense, though Austin Carbone (55) has emerged as a scoring force almost as lethal.
Delbarton it will want to start with Austin Williams dominating on faceoffs just as he did in the May 2 loss to Summit, though would need to utilize his fine work more effectively. Delbarton won 15 of 17 draws, yet managed only four goals and also committed almost 20 turnovers.
Delbarton had opened a 2-0 lead that afternoon with two quick goals by Connor Bilby, but the Green Wave found trouble penetrating Summit's zone defense once adjustments were made. Bilby, Sean Donnelly, Matt Killian, Cole Ricciardi and the others will need to slip inside the seams more regularly and get a wider variety of in-close shots against Summit goalie Alex Salazar.
Delbarton has lost five straight games to Summit over the past four seasons and is hungry for revenge. That adrenalin can be very useful, but also a handy tool for Summit if the Green Wave becomes too anxious in their mission. The Green Wave also have displayed remarkable scoring balance for most of the season. That's usually a great thing, but sometimes in big games balance can mean a lot of guys looking to someone else to take charge. Delbarton may need one or two to throw the initial punches here.
Summit: Nick Kilkowski, Sr. A (76 goals, 21 assists); Austin Carbone, Jr. M (55-35); Will Weber, Sr. D; Ryan Bringewatt, Sr. M (10-6, faceoff); Alex Salazar, Sr. G; Tom Celmer, Sr. SSDM (16-18); Tyler Carbone, Jr. LSM; David Kalin, Sr. M (15-5); Stef Stadlinger, Sr. D; Bill Hadley, Sr. D; Tom Lackaye, Sr. (6-1, faceoff); Mike Badgley, Jr. SSDM (12-6); Will Shamim, Jr. LSM; Matt Maier, Jr. A (7-8); Harry McCreary, Sr. M (18-4); Liam Menning, Jr. M (5-7).
Delbarton: Connor Bilby, Sr. A (22 goals, 34 assists); Will Reynolds, Jr. D; John Schisler, Jr. D; Austin Williams, Jr. M (6-4, faceoffs); Michael Bicknese, Je. LSM; Brendan Huston, Jr. D; John Shaffer, Sr. M (21-6); Sean Donnelly, Sr. A (28-7); Cole Ricciardi, Sr. M (19-8); Dillon Confalone, Jr. M (10-1); Kohl Geibel, Sr. D; Sean O'Keefe, Sr. D; Jack Clarke, Sr. A (11-7); Matt Killian, Jr. M (17-6); Evan McQuiston, Sr. M (10-5); Kevin Lewis, Jr. M (12-7).
BRIDGEWATER-RARITAN (19-0) VS. RIDGEWOOD (17-7), 7:30 p.m.
SEEDS: Bridgewater-Raritan 1, Ridgewood 4
MSG VARSITY POWER RANKING: Bridgewater-Raritan 1, Ridgewood 6
TRENDS: Bridgewater-Raritan enters with a 34-game winning streak, which began April 27 of last season with an 8-3 victory over Hillsborough. Ridgewood has won six straight since an 8-6 loss to Montclair May 17 in the final game of the regular season.
LAST TIME OUT
BRIDGEWATER-RARITAN conducted a brilliant 12 minutes of lacrosse with a 7-0 second quarter that opened a 9-2 lead and sent the Panthers to a 10-5 win over Hunterdon Central last Wednesday for the Group 4 title. Ryan Hollingsworth, Ray Mastroianni and Ryan Mygatt each scored twice in that eruption and Hollingsworth closed with a team-high four goals.
RIDGEWOOD defeated Chatham, 6-3, Saturday in the T of C quarterfinals behind the steady defensive play of Tripp Telesco, Ryan Ghaderi and goalie Noah Pounds, who made seven saves. Blake Feagles scored two goals in the first half to help the Maroons to a 4-2 lead and Pounds made several outstanding saves in the third quarter to keep Chatham at bay.
LAST MEETING: They battled fairly evenly in a pre-season scrimmage, but have not faced one another in a real game since the 1997 state tournament (pre-T of C) quarterfinals, won by Bridgewater, 13-11. Ridgewood had won the previous four meetings in the state tournament.
Let's trot down memory lane for a moment. A lot of good future coaches played in that '97 contest, including Ridgewood's Mike Springer (head coach Don Bosco Prep) and Bridgewater's Mike Schambach (head coach DeSales University), Ryan Eichner (head coach Red Bank Catholic) and Phil Schambach (assistant at Bridgewater).
Brian LoMastro paced the offense that day for Bridgewater with five goals and two assists, followed by Phil Schambach with three goals, one assist, Kevin Buchan with two goals and one assist and Mike Schambach, Phil's twin brother, with two goals. Mike Springer had three goals and one assist for Ridgewood.
T OF C HISTORY
Bridgewater-Raritan claimed its first title last year by snapping Summit's state-record 68-game winning streak with a thrilling 6-5 win. Scott Bieda and Tyler Konen netted two goals apiece and Ryan Hollingsworth and Ray Mastroianni had one each for the Panthers. The Panthers lost in an earlier round in 2009.
Ridgewood The Maroons seek their first championship game appearance after falling in earlier rounds in '06, '07 and '09. The '09 squad won Group 3 and lost to Immaculata, 9-8, in the first round.
NUMBERS: Bridgewater-Raritan averages 13.47 gpg. and allows 3.68. Ridgewood averages 9.7 gpg. and allows 5.45.
Bridgewater-Raritan This offense--led by Ryan Hollingsworth, Scott Bieda, Ray Mastroianni, John Longordo and Justin Higgins--has been absolutely scintillating for most of the season, though not for the complete 48 minutes in the last two games. The Panthers put together a magical second quarter to defeat Hunterdon Central, 10-5, last Wednesday for the Group 4 title, and broke away from a 5-5 halftime deadlock to beat Westfield, 17-10, in the semis four days earlier.
Such a pattern is unlikely to work against Ridgewood, which will be ready to seize opportunities during offensive lulls by the Panthers, and are equipped to handle themselves quite well even when Bridgewater is playing well. The Panthers are facing an excellent goalie in Noah Pounds and a tough, resourceful defense, as well. They will want to grab the early lead in an attempt to ruffle confidence and also gather important momentum.
Bridgewater will not have faceoff maestro Vince Colatriano, who was injured in the Group 4 final, so will need excellent efforts by Longordo, Jared Kaden, Thomas Goodberlet, Steve Danyluk and the Panthers' other hard-working wing men. Junior Brad Pietrucha is likely to handle most of Bridgewater's draws. And though very talented, he is not accustomed to working under such intense conditions.
Ridgewood Seems to have established a sense of consistency and confidence on offense that was not always evident throughout the season. Max Luing, Connor O'Shea, Jack Allard, Peter Reuter and Garcia Logan all have emerged as legitimate scoring threats and each has shown over the last two weeks that clutch play is just part of the job description. Bridgewater must try to quell that confidence immediately and Ridgewood will have to withstand that defensive pressure and make the Panthers realize they're involved in a 48-minute brawl.
Ridgewood's defense has been extremely solid all season and especially rugged of late with the cohesive play of Tripp Telesco, Ryan Ghaderi, Pete LoParo, Dylan Laguna and junior goalie Noah Pounds. They were even excelling at times when the offense was struggling to keep the Maroons in a position to win. This group would love to get some early assistance from the offense in order to reduce pressure, but it is clearly not required.
This team has played an ambitious schedule. It is battle tested and willing to confront all challenges.
Ridgewood faceoff men Tyler Maurer and Tripp Telesco may have caught a break by not having to contend with injured Vince Colatriano of Bridgewater, but that's no reason to relax. Replacement Brad Pietrucha is a solid faceoff man himself and the Panthers' wing men are exceptional.
Bridgewater-Raritan: Bridgewater: Scott Bieda, Sr. A (53 goals, 45 assists); Ryan Hollingsworth, Sr. A (50-32); Ray Mastroianni, Sr. M (31-13); Evan Mock, Sr. D; Zack Jones, Sr. G; Connor Murphy, Sr. D; John Longordo, Sr. M (34-19); Jared Kaden, Jr. LSM; Andrew Hengenmuhle, Jr. D; Justin Higgins, Sr. A (22-22); Steve Danyluk, Sr. SSDM; Kyle Coulter, Sr. SSDM; Mike Serrante, Sr. M (19-5); Mike DiPascali, Sr. M (9-8); Brad Pietrucha, Jr. M (faceoff); Ryan Mygatt, Jr. M.
Ridgewood: Max Luing, Sr. A (41-16); Connor O'Shea, Sr. A (31-30); Tripp Telesco, Sr. D; Ryan Ghaderi, Sr. D; Noah Pounds, Jr. G; Jack Allard, Sr. M (33-3); Garcia Logan, Sr. A (26-12); Peter Reuter, Sr. M (21-20); Dylan Logan, Sr. LSM; Pete LoParo, Sr. D; Blake Feagles, Sr. M (19-6); Bill Maltz, Jr. M (14-3); Kevin McNamara, Sr. M (6-8); Tyler Mauer, Sr. M (faceoff); Dan McKenna, Jr. LSM; Quinn Caffrey, Sr. SSDM.
Mike Kinney covers boys lacrosse for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeKinneyHS