Morristown and Millburn both saw the same thing whenever shots were hurled toward Morristown goalie Parker Fairey in the first quarter Tuesday afternoon.
It's just that those images would have been interpreted a little differently.
Morristown, you see, would love to take a mental snapshot of Fairey's brilliant early performance-- when he boldly stole momentum from the Millers--and encourage him to refer to it whenever his defense finds itself in a tight jam.
And Millburn's take? Well, it would have loved the opportunity to Photoshop Fairey out of a few choice frames in order to sneak a few goals past the stingy senior.
Fairey turned away three point-blank shots in the first two minutes of action, made seven saves in the first quarter and finished the game with 18 to direct Morristown to a 9-6 win in a Waterman Division contest in Morristown. And as Fairey sparkled in the cage, teammate Brad Hersh starred at the other end with four goals and three assists.
"They had a couple good shots inside, but I was seeing the ball nice. Had a good first quarter," Fairey said. "But it really kind of started in the locker room for me. Guys just got me pumped up. I had a great warmup and it carried over into the game."
It had to have, otherwise this game story likely would have been how Millburn's well-organized offense built an early lead and held on behind the exceptional faceoff work of Alex Schoen and the defensive play of Matt Solloway and Todd Cohn.
For the record, Schoen really was outstanding, winning 13 of 17 draws, and the Millers' defense did settle in nicely after rocky first quarter in which Morristown grabbed a 5-1 lead. But Fairey took the steam out of a dangerous offense and wound up launching the Morristown attack with his rejections.
"There were some great stops he was making that you're not supposed to save," Hersh said. "The ones in the crease, those one-on-ones? he's making unbelievable saves. It was all on his shoulders and he carried us."
Hersh did some impressive lifting of his own with two goals and two assists in the first period to help open that four-goal lead. Kyle Wimley connected twice and Steve Delargy also scored.
"It should have been like 4-4 at the end of the quarter, but it was 5-1 because of Parker," Morristown head coach Jeff Bigas said. "Millburn is a really good team. I felt like they had momentum early and in the whole second and third periods. But Parker kept us in it.
"Sometimes you have to rely on your goalie," he said. "We did and he played great."
Morristown (7-6) picked up its third victory in the last four games and improved to 7-2 in the Waterman. Millburn fell to 6-5 overall and 4-4 in the division.
As if shutting down Millburn's offense for the first half wasn't enough, Fairey even got himself involved in the scoring in the second quarter when he legged out a clear off a ground ball and fed Hersh in transition for a 6-1 lead with 26 seconds left in the half.
"He's played well all year, but this was his best game," Bigas said. "I'm happy for him because here's a kid who was a backup for three years. He'd never been a varsity starter before, so he knew he had to earn that starting spot this year. He stepped up at the beginning of the year and you could just tell he was committed to the team."
Hersh felt a similar sense of commitment as he watched Fairey toil so elegantly during Millburn's fruitless onslaught in the early going.
"When they (Millburn) were getting all those chances, we had to take it upon the offense to slow it down and make their defense work," Hersh said.
"Coach was emphasizing this whole week of practice, moving the ball, making good cuts, moving constantly rather than just standing still and waiting for the ball. We kept moving, we kept dodging hard and we got a lot of goals off it."
Nathan Weinrauch scored unassisted 3:02 into the third period and teammate Gabe Greenberg connected off a feed by Mike Adelman 2:38 later to pull Millburn to within 6-3. Hersh built the lead back to four when he cut to the goal mouth and dunked a feed from behind by Delargy with 3:24 to go. Millburn pulled to within 7-4 1:12 later when Greenberg converted a pass by Tyler Alexander.
"Millburn's a really good team," Fairey said. "We just played Ridgewood last game (a 12-5 loss for Morristown last Friday), and when they had an open shot, I feel like they were almost comparable to Ridgewood. They put them in the right spots."
"It was a three-goal game in the fourth quarter," Bigas said of the Ridgewood. "Twelve-five doesn't tell the story of how it went. We lost that game, but it was the happiest I've been with them all year."
Bigas was not quite as thrilled with his crew after Millburn had drawn to within 7-4 with a strong third quarter. Connor Dolan bumped the lead back to four when he scored off a pass by Hersh on an extra-man opportunity 28 seconds into the fourth.
"Coach kind of fired us up going into the fourth quarter," Hersh said. "We were a little lackadaisical, so we just needed to come out and play like we did in the first quarter. Millburn was battling. We needed to come out strong."
Mike Kinney covers boys lacrosse for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeKinneyHS