CLARK, NJ - The Arthur L. Johnson Crusaders boys lacrosse team opened its 2015 season on a cold and rainy afternoon at home against the Clifton Mustangs. In a back-and-forth matchup, the Mustangs prevailed, 11-10, in overtime on Tyler Gibson’s goal on Wednesday. Gibson’s goal in the extra session was his third of the game, coming just 51 seconds into the overtime period.
The two teams played a close contest from the start, finishing the first quarter tied up at three goals apiece. The second quarter featured four goals scored, two for each team, with the score tied at five at halftime.
The third quarter began with Clifton taking a 6-5 lead on a goal from Shawn Meneghin. Johnson senior and co-captain Kyle Glassen scored two goals in a span of 46 seconds to give Johnson a 7-6 lead.
Clifton tied the game up about five minutes later, but Matt Pedicine responded with a goal with three seconds left to make it 8-7 Johnson after the third quarter.
The fourth quarter began, and Clifton struck less than two minutes into the quarter to tie the score at 8.
Johnson senior Frank Gallina was assessed a penalty for slashing, and the Mustangs took the lead, 9-8, on Kevin Buttel’s goal with 6:55 left. The Crusaders would struggle to find the back of the net for the next four to five minutes, before responding in a big way.
Johnson junior Blake Parenti scored two goals in seven seconds to make it 10-9 Johnson with 1:44 left in the fourth quarter.
The Mustangs forced the overtime with just six seconds left on the clock on a goal from Steve Borthwick. Regulation time ended with teams tied at 10.
As the OT started, Borthwick followed up on his game-tying goal and made a key pass to Gibson. Gibson put it past Johnson goaltender Dylan Bohm to win it for Clifton in the sudden-death contest.
For the Mustangs, Gibson scored three goals and picked up two assists in the victory. Borthwick scored three goals of his own, and picked up the critical OT assist.
“We always talk about the idea that the season’s very long, and we don’t play our best lacrosse in March. You try to see that you’re playing your best lacrosse in May,” said Johnson head coach Lou VanBergen. “Obviously, there’s a ton of mistakes on both ends of the field today, and we know we have to fix them. We’ll try and basically do that to right the ship a little bit.”
Johnson’s freshman goaltender, Bohm, saved 14 shots in the loss. Glassen finished the game with three goals and picked up two groundballs.
“We have to pick up little things, like ground balls, stupid passes, [and] bad shots,” Glassen said, looking toward future games. “Stuff like that, little things.”
Senior and co-captain Matt Pedicine scored four goals and tallied four assists, while picking up six groundballs.
“I think our team needs to work on the middle of the field more,” Pedicine said. “In the middle of the field, we’re struggling on raise-and-clears [and] groundballs. We’re just making stupid mistakes right now and we remember what we did last year and remember how we played lacrosse last year. We have to figure it out again, so we can get back on.”
Next up, the Johnson Crusaders (0-1) take on the Westfield Blue Devils Saturday morning at 11 a.m. at home. The Clifton Mustangs (1-0) take it to the road Friday afternoon against Demarest High School at 4:15 p.m.