Ray, Bosco cruise past Mountain Lakes
The season for Don Bosco Prep's offense thus far has been a steady march of improvement toward a destination of refinement.
That being said, if its game Thursday against Mountain Lakes was not the Ironmen's peaking point, then this might be a good time for any remaining opponents to seek shelter.
Junior attackman Jack Ray paced an overpowering offense with a career-high six goals and Brian Kittredge and John Petzold directed a rugged defense that sent the undefeated Ironmen, No. 4 in the MSG Varsity Power Rankings, to a stunning 14-3 win over No. 7 Mountain Lakes in a Gibbs Division battle in Mountain Lakes.
It was a watershed victory for Don Bosco Prep (11-0), which seized its first Gibbs Division title and dealt Mountain Lakes--the state's public school model for success--its most lopsided loss since 1983 with one power-packed swing of the stick.
The Lakers (7-3) had fallen to archrival Delbarton, 17-7, April 21 and also suffered a surprising, 8-7, loss to Bergen Catholic Monday in overtime, so there has been a rare malaise lingering among this proud program lately. But Lakes is still a quality team, as several earlier victories will attest, and this game was on its home field, where it is historically superior.
"This is a huge milestone," Ray said. "It's always good to beat Mountain Lakes, but to beat them like this? They're a great-coached team. This just shows how far we've come. It's very special."
Don Bosco had never beaten Lakes until last year, a 7-6 overtime affair, which ultimately prevented Mountain Lakes from sharing the 2011 Gibbs title with Ridgewood.
"Mountain Lakes is always a great team, but I knew we had it in us," Ray said. "We just kept putting it on them. They'd score a goal and we just answered them with so many more goals. We always had an answer for them."
Yes, as if Bosco head coach Mike Springer had provided a big cheat sheet for his kids to follow prior to the game.
When the Ironmen confronted man-to-man early on, the middies dodged aggressively from up top and fed open cutters off the slides. When they saw zone, the attackers' shots were too powerful to be contained.
Bosco controlled possession for almost 80 percent of the first half and used all that lethal weaponry to build an 11-1 lead. Ray netted four of those goals and Marc Buermann, Brady Wulster and Conor Scavone each had two in the flurry.
"We didn't have much time on D with the way the offense was moving the ball," Kittredge said. "They really kept us fresh. When the ball got down by us, we were good to go."
Don Bosco unloaded 23 shots in the first half while Mountain Lakes managed just six. Jon Broome had actually provided the Lakers with the lead 2:20 into the game with a strong dodge from behind, but his team would go 26:28 before scoring again, a goal by Mike Sanzone off a pass from Mike Samarro to make the score 12-2 in the third quarter.
"The offense was just moving the ball," Kittredge said. "These guys have been together the past three years; they're all juniors. As soon as the season started, it kicked off real well. They've just been putting the ball in the net. And it doesn't matter what defense they throw at them, our offense is ready for it."
Ray would like to thank Kittredge, Petzold, Anthony Falco, Erik Cannon, Dan Mizurek and Mike D'Alessandro, the squad's defense, for stimulating the development and preparedness of his offense with the constant challenges those guys present.
"The biggest thing for us is that our defense pushes us every day in practice. That's the reason we're so good," Ray said. "Because of the defense we have to get better in order to beat them every day in practice. It's like we're playing another team."
Well, not like many teams, considering the Ironmen have outscored opponents, 143-57, this season.
"It's intense," Kittredge said of those sessions. "We're not friends during practice. It gets heated out there."
Don Bosco did have a scare against Montclair April 24, eking out an 8-7 win with a 2-1 effort in the fourth quarter. No other opponent had finished within three goals of the Ironmen since their 13-10 victory over Bergen Catholic to open the season.
"We just keep trying to get better every day," Ray said. "Today we just worked off the ball real well and no one was selfish. We looked for the next pass and just finished our shots."
Scavone finshed with three goals, Wulster had three assists to go along with his two goals and Allen contributed one goal and four assists. William Collopy needed to make just one save in the first half, but Jimmy Danaher followed with four saves in the third and Frank DiGiacomo had two in the fourth for the Ironmen. Mizurek, the club's top faceoff man, helped Bosco claim 12 of 21 draws.
Mike Kinney covers boys lacrosse for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeKinneyHS