CHATHAM, NJ - It may have been a first-round state tournament game, but it looked more like a scrimmage or a practice for the Chatham boys lacrosse team on Saturday at Cougar Field.
Chatham held a 10-goal lead at halftime and eased to a 16-2 victory over Morris Hills in the opening round of the North Jersey, Group 2 tournament.
"Just getting out on the field and getting the first state game under our belt is pretty big, no matter who we play," Chatham senior tri-captain Will Barnett said. "It's an opportunity to run through our stuff and get extra practice."
The Cougars moved to a 7-1 lead in the first quarter and held an 11-1 advantage at the break. Ten different Chatham players scored, including players who aren't more prominent on the stat sheet such as Frank Anello, Dan Barkhorn and J.B. Mariano, each with a goal apiece. Nick Butler got in to play goalie behind Matt Grilli and Matt Nestler.
"It's definitely a good opportunity to get everyone in and get some experience going forward," said Barnett, who ended with two goals and three assists.
Justin Hayes and William Hoesbein shared the faceoff duties and did so well that the Cougars had plenty of possession time.
"We won every faceoff except the last one," Chatham coach Tony Calandra said. "I got out of this that we played clean lacrosse by throwing and catching and doing the things we normally do every day in practice. Even though we subbed, we really didn't miss a beat on offense or defense. We did a great job on faceoffs."
Austin Pierce ended with three goals, while Thomas Berger, Matt Coleman and Robert Rhoads netted two apiece.
"We sub early to give everyone a chance to play meaningful minutes and I'm very happy with everyone who stepped in," Calandra said. "It's nice to be able to get everyone in your system some championship playing time."
Mahwah will travel to meet Chatham in the North 2 quarterfinals set for 4:30 Tuesday at Cougar Field.
Nate Carson scores in the first period for Chatham vs. Morris Hills
Matt Coleman scores for Chatham in the second quarter vs. Morris Hills