ROXBURY, NJ – The Roxbury High school lacrosse teams got off to good starts Wednesday as both the boys and the girls defeated their opponents.

Ladies first: Although it wasn’t a snowy opening day for the girls, it started as a rocky one. The Gaels, playing away at Morris Catholic, trailed in the first half 4-0 until they got their first goal of the season, a shot by Kendall Torpin that found the net.

By the end of the half, the score was 6-4 in favor of Morris Catholic. But Roxbury - following a successful but soft preseason - showed true grit and rallied in the second half to score seven points and win the game 11-9.

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Players and Roxbury fans alike grumbled that Morris Catholic was holding Roxbury sticks to impede running, something the players said they will now watch for as the season progresses.

Three goals were scored by Emma Karnitsky, two were scored by Emily Stanich and one a piece were scored by Melissa Murphy, Elizabeth Poissant, Tara Roumes, Fiona Sparano and Torpin. Goaltender Natalie Shulkowski made six saves.

Smoother Sailing for the Men

The boys squad had an easier time of it, soundly trouncing Vernon 10-3 at Vernon.

Senior Matt Dancsecs made five of those points and Connor Mahoney made two. Rounding out the scoring were single goals by Andrew Christiansen, Aaron Heyman and Justin Pickett.

Goalie Brandon Maresca made seven saves.

“We should compete for the top spot in both of our divisions,” said boys coach Chris Blough in a pre-game statement. “If things go well and we catch some breaks we could make a good run in the county and state tournament.”

Blough acknowledged it probably won’t be an easy season. “Some other teams around will be better than they were last year and we lost a lot to graduation,” he said. “We need to replace a lot of scoring from our three departed attackmen who all had over 200 career points. Getting the offense to gel will take some time.”

The coach said the Gaels’ defense “should be strong,” but again conceded “We have to replace a key loss in goal. If our inexperienced guys step up, we could have another strong season.”