SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Freshman Gavin Dzikowski, let it rip for the "hat trick" from 12 yards out on a pass from fellow freshman, Mike Kanarek, one minute and 12 seconds into overtime to give Dayton's second year JV program a thrilling 8-7 victory over a more established, Group 4 Scotch Plains lacrosse team. After freshman defensemen Cole Kebea came up with a turnover, Kanarek drove to right and hit Dzikowski on the left side of the net to give the Dayton Laxers their first ever two game win streak.
A low scoring first half saw the home team Raiders jump out to 2-0 lead, thanks mainly to Dayton giving the Raiders three "man-up" advantages. It wasn’t until late in the second quarter that Dayton finally got on track as junior Marc Spagnola found fellow classmate Evan Berkowitz in front of the crease to bring the half time score to 2-1. At the start of the second half the Raiders extended their lead to 5-1 within the first three minutes of the third quarter. Penalties again hurt the boys from Dayton as two of the three goals were scored during a Raider man-up situation. A Kanarek to Berkowitz goal followed by a steal from sophomore Jack Pleva who took it up field and found Spagnola, made it 5-3. Two unanswered goals from Scotch Plains, (which would be their last points of the game) and a beautiful pass from “playmaker" Kanarek again to Spagnola ended thethird quarter at 7-4.
Down three goals with six minutes left in the fojurth quarter, Dayton began their comeback. Dzikowski scored unassisted and a great hustle play by sophomore Jovanni Salcfas who then found Spagnola quickly brought the Bulldogs within one. As the Raiders controlled the ball and began killing the clock with 1:40 left in regulation, it looked as if Dayton's run would fall short with a 7-6 final score. However, the Bulldog's gritty defense of Pleva, sophmores Arshad Lassiter, Chris Katz, freshman Anthony Apicella, Kebea, David Ares came up big and caused a pivotal turnover. Kanarek was able to intercept a pass, raced upfield and found Dzikowski who drilled a shot past the Raider goalie with 5 seconds left in regulation sending the game into overtime.
Kanarek (4 assists) and Spagnola (3 goals, 1 assist) led the team offensively with four points apiece. Dzikowski (3 goals), Berkowitz (2 goals), Pleva (1 assist) and Salcfas (1 assist) rounded out the scoring for Dayton.
On the defensive end, freshman keeper, Nick Stampolous continued his stellar play making 11 saves, and Pleva along with freshman Anthony Apicella lead the team in ground balls with 5 each. Face-off star from last week's game (won 10 face-offs !!!), sophomore Jack Toledo won 3 critical face-offs during the comeback.
Dayton will look to keep the momentum going Tuesday, April 24, when they travel to another Group 4 experienced Ridge team. Game time is 4 p.m. at Ridge High School located at 268 S.Finely Ave, Basking Ridge.