Sunday, April 6, 2008

Men's Lacrosse 10, Mt. St. Mary's 5: Friars Set Early Pace, Top Mountaineers

At the 4:41 mark of Saturday’s first quarter, Mt. St. Mary’s coach Tom Gravante called a superficially rational timeout, his team already having relinquished two goals to the Friars.
At nearly the same point of the second quarter, PC boss Chris Burdick, his guys now up 4-1, was compelled to ask for his own freeze-frame. The Friars were engaged in a prolonged, futile swarm around the Mountaineer cage after they had just shaken off two man-down segments –one 30-second and one a full minute- to start the frame.
But seven seconds after play resumed and fresh group of cleats was deployed, midfielder Mark Dillon picked up Bobby Labadini’s frozen play top right, churned around a block of challengers, and thrust home his second of four goals on the day. Providence proceeded to match its first quarter output and pace itself to an eventual 10-5 victory, bulking them up to 4-0 at the half of their MAAC schedule.
In front of a more-than-brimful audience drawn to the field by the Alumni Weekend festivities and barbeque, the Friars revved up their own griller comfortably early and exploited a curious discrepancy between themselves and the 2008 installment of the Mountaineers. Once a guaranteed roadblock in PC’s annual endeavor for a MAAC banner and NCAA ticket, Mt. St. Mary’s this year is in deep refilling mode with 16 freshmen out of 30 rostered players.
Up until the fourth quarter, at which point the Friars had curtained their scoring for the day, the Mountaineers thawed out enough to stir more lengthy trips to the attacking zone and translated it to three pride-salvaging strikes, all assisted by senior Joe Derwent (game total of one goal, four assists) and two scored by promising frosh Jon Rodrick.
Well in advance of all that, however, the likes of Dillon (four goals and one assist); Jackson Fallon (three goals, one assist); Colin Tigh (two goals) and Robert Lamontagne (goal-helper package) all charged up their own multi-point transcripts for the Friars.
Dillon, who pole-vaulted over Bennett Murphy (one assist) for the team lead with 17 points, sparked the salvo 50 seconds into the game, accepting a return feed from Fallon and converting a high straightaway toss.
Less than three minutes later, after a similar back-and-forth game of catch with Fallon, Dillon found Lamontagne open along the far post. Lamontagne connected on a bounce shot for the 2-0 lead.
Granvante’s subsequent timeout did anything but instill quick relief for the Mountaineers. They needed to gulp another PC goal courtesy Fallon 28 seconds after play picked up before Derwent eventually put them on the board at 6:16, recovering an errant feed at the brim of the Friars’ zone, strolling in, and sneaking one inside the left post.
Tigh restored his club’s three-goal edge at 9:18, looping around the far half of the net unassisted and unchallenged.
The scoring pattern of the second quarter echoed that of the opener with Dillon, Fallon, and Tigh augmenting the difference to 7-1 between the 4:41 and 13:15 marks.
With a slim 19 ticks to spare until the half, Geery Grant revived the Mountaineer sideline by making things 7-2. But in that narrow window, Burdick settled his boys down with another timeout before Dillon picked up the play and made another conversion visually identical to what he conjured ten minutes earlier with 0:04 remaining.
MSM goalkeeper Kyle Overs relieved starter T.C. DiBartolo and generally compressed the wounds in the second half. For the bulk of the third quarter, Providence preserved the time-of-possession imbalance and tacked on two more spaced-out strikes via Fallon and Dillon.
Although, Dillon’s finale, coming with at 13:05, had an extra dollop of fulfillment as it snapped the Friars’ daylong EMO deficiency.
This article originally appeared in the Friartown Free Press