Opening up the 2019 schedule at home, the Bears Varsity Boys lacrosse team had a challenging night against a capable opponent in the Walton Raiders losing 12-6, Monday, Feb. 11th.
The game began with a few key defensive stops by both teams as the team opened the season with an entirely new group of starters on defense and goalie from last year. It was this aggressive defense that kept the game tight during the first quarter.
The offense and transition games were rusty as the team surrendered six turnovers during the first quarter allowing key fast break opportunities by the Raiders. Down 0-2 midway through the initial quarter, Junior Captain, Reese Pieroni, drilled a goal into the Raider net off a nice feed from Ian Dexter. Despite the uneven play, the home team trailed only by one goal entering the 2nd quarter. Unforced turnovers and difficulty gaining possession off face-offs plagued the team throughout the 2nd quarter.
Walton took advantage of the Bear miscues leading to a string of goals and a commanding 6-1 Raider lead. Junior Captain, Chase DuMond, settled the offense with a key inside dodge move finishing the ball into the net cutting the lead to 6-2 as the second quarter neared halftime. The defense continued to battle, led by the starters--Jake McIlvain, Matthew Schnetza, and Ethan Landry—but untimely penalties and turnovers caused adversity ultimately leading to a halftime deficit of 8-2.
It was the Raider's transition game that wreaked havoc where four of their eight goals were scored on fast break plays. The team came to life after halftime as goalie Danny Dexter, making his first varsity start, stopped multiple opponent shots and executed several successful clears to the offense.
The offensive possessions were more crisp in the 2nd half leading to a number of well designed shots that didn't quite hit the target. Midway through the 3rd quarter, Reese Pieroni provided one of the game's highlights intercepting an attempted clear by the Raiders and racing down the middle of the field ultimately firing a 15-yard bullet into the net. Moments later, Chase DuMond, on a beautiful feed from fellow attackman Zach Shiffman cut the lead to four with a man-up goal making it 8-4. After another transition goal by the Raiders, Ian Dexter delivered a response and solid lefty shot making the score 9-5.
Entering the 4th quarter, the Bears had played toe to toe against their foe after halftime. Despite the adversity of a two minute penalty, the team showed strong fight and competitiveness. A key steal by Freshman D-pole, Ethan Landry, led to the game's signature highlight. Landry passed the ball to goalie Dexter after the steal who urgently brought the ball up the defensive side of the field then zipped a pass across the mid line to a streaking Matthew Schnetzka who raced a few more yards before delivering a beautiful "D-pole" goal that the Walton goalie had no chance to stop cutting the lead to 10-6.
For the game, the defensive line showed great speed and good teamwork in effectively clearing to our offense.
As the game clock elapsed, untimely Bear turnovers continued to make a comeback difficult The visitors added two more goals in the final five minutes leading to their victory. Coach D'Andraia noted several positives in the game, but it was the Raiders who came out on top.
The Bears welcome the Dunwoody Wildcats in their next game on Friday, February 15th. Then the Bears host Fellowship Christian, Thursday, February 11th.