CEDAR GROVE, NJ - The Cedar Grove boys lacrosse team rebounded nicely from  an early season hiccup as a 15-8 victory over Passaic Valley gives the Panthers their second win in a row.

“As a coach I like games like this…it’s nice to be down and to get back up,” said Cedar Grove Head Coach David Bucchino.

The Panthers entered the second quarter down 4-1 after a surprising start from the Hornets. Three goals from Ethan Shaw staked PV to the early lead, but the game was far from finished.

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“I think the kids internally simply make a decision ‘we’re not going to lose’ and I think that’s a big part of it,” said Bucchino.

Cedar Grove counter punched the Hornet squad in the second quarter. Alex Lopresti, Joe Amati, and Jordan Amati sent the Panthers into the lead with six consecutive goals for a 7-4 lead.

“They are seniors, this is their year they should be taking over and I tell them all the time you’ve got to play like you’re a senior attackmen, play like you’re a senior midfielder and you’ve just got to want to be on the field at all times and I think they just took over,” said Bucchino.

Passaic Valley battled back with a goal just before the end of the first half. Vin Brigati’s goal made the game a two-goal game with momentum and the victory hanging in the balance as the second half began.

“That was a good goal, that was a good hustle play,” said Bucchino.

As PV tried to tie the game backup Cedar Grove put a stranglehold on the contest. Alex Lopresti added two third period goals as he finished the contest with a game-high seven goals. Lopresti was joined once again from the Amati brothers to take a commanding 11-6 lead at the end of the third. Both Amati boys combined for four goals on the evening.

“As a coach I want that, I want the team to be able to face adversity well because things in life are like that,” said Bucchino.

During the game-clinching third quarter run the Panthers were supported heavily by their goaltender Andrew Candino. Candino collected four saves in the frame in route to 12 for the contest erasing any hopes of a Hornet comeback.

“We’re very safe with [Candino] one of our things is we’re allowing outside shots to get in and certain things to happen, we feel really safe with him behind us, we feel he controls the game and commands the defense which is what we want,” said Bucchino.

Cedar Grove’s victory improves the squad to 9-2 on the season. The team has won nine of it’s last 10 games and will now rest up for a week with games against High Point and Park Ridge on the schedule for next week.

“I tell them the same thing every win, tonight we’ll enjoy it and tomorrow we’ll move on,” said Bucchino.

All photos by Nick Teodoro.  

APinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

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