MILLBURN, NJ - It was a difficult Wednesday afternoon in Millburn for the Mens Lacrosse team. The Millers wanted the win badly, contending for a high seed in the Essex County Tournament. However, Millburn also fought this battle for pride. The Mountaineers have had Millburn's number since 2012.
Bernards targeted Millburn's leading scorers; Owen and Nolan McCarthy, Scott Shainberg, David Mosier, and Trevor Stack received extra attention from the visiting defense. Coach Brian Stromko's Millers were not able to execute their offensive sets and formations as planned, to parry Bernardsville's strategy. With the primary scorers taken out of the game, goals were hard to come by for Millburn.
The game started with a fast tempo. Millburn tried to strike first, but Bernards' Jack Warren was too much for Millburn to handle. With his help, Bernards scored 4 goals in the first half.
JP Heppes was a show stopper in the back of the net for the Mountaineers. Credited with 11 saves, Heppes denied Millburn access to the goal's zip code. The Millers came up empty handed in the first half.
A key ingredient in the Mountaineers' recipe for success was their consistency on face-offs. Since the visitors won the majority of the draws, time of possession was substantially unbalanced. Millburn never had a chance to score because Bernards won the draws and took good care of the ball.
Despite Bernardsville's first half dominance, Millburn found some life towards the end of the third quarter. Freshman, Daniel Horgan and Senior, Owen McCarthy caught Heppes off guard for back to back goals.
The Millers were unable to follow their short burst though. History repeated itself when, per usual, Bernards' Nick Liccardi beat Zach Weinstein on the face-off. This gave the Mountaineers the opportunity to burn the clock, and comfortably cradle towards a win.
Bernards topped the Millers 8-2 in a physical fight between the two rivals. Falling to 6-2, Millburn's Essex County Tournament hopes remain a reality, but their seeding does take a hit after this tough home loss