BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J. - Governor Livingston boys lacrosse head coach Tyler Brown wanted to see improvement when they took on Clifton on Wednesday at home.
While he did not get a win, he got what he was looking for despite the 17-8 loss to the Mustangs in an independent contest in Berkeley Heights.
"I was looking for improvement and if we did not get any I would have been disappointed," said Brown.
In the first two games of the season, the Highlanders had been outscored 31-4 in losses to Scotch Plains and Newark Academy. The loss to Clifton dropped Governor Livingston to 0-3 as they look to win their first game of the season on Saturday at Eastside at 11 a.m.
It was the 2012 season where the Highlanders lost their first three games of the season, but that was a veteran group.
For Wednesday the pros might have outweighed the cons on Wednesday.
The pros were that Governor Livingston scored eight goals and pretty much played even with Clifton through most of the second half and half of the second quarter. The cons were that they fell behind 9-1 in the first half.
Brown liked the offense and the communication he is getting from strikers junior Alex Lipnick and sophomore Brian Hutton along with the face-off expertise of senior captain Joe Posniak. "They have a little more cohesion since they have played together longer," said Brown.
The Highlanders are seeing the fruits of the working relationship between Alex Lipnick and Brian Hutton. The pair combined for seven of the eight goals against Clifton with Lipnick scoring four goals.
Despite the 17 goals that were given up, Brown continues to like the development of their goalie Peter Krasny. "He's definitely improved," said Brown. "He's only a sophomore and he did not play junior varsity. He went right to the varsity,"
For this season defense has been a big hole as Brown has implemented a new system. "We are trying a different philosophy on defense," said Brown. "Usually middies (midfielders) go both way. We have implemented defensive middles and it will take awhile to jell together."
The rebuilding Governor Livingston defense could not withstand the offense of Clifton attackmen Mark Surgent and Matt Melnik who scored the majority of the goals for the Mustangs.
The glimmer of hope for the future could be found late in the second quarter where Governor Livingston turned around that eight goal deficit, 9-1, and made it a three-goal deficit, 9-6 with a minute left in the first half.
In the second half the Highlanders just could not keep with the high-flying Mustangs in the second half as Clifton scored three unanswered goals to put Governor Livingston down 13-6.
And a lot of the credit for the Highlanders five-goal outburst was partly because of the face-off work of Pozniak. "We went into the game with a plan to win the face-offs and then shoot and score," said Brown