WESTFIELD, NJ - The West Essex varsity boys lacrosse team wasted no time stepping up in class this season.

The Knights, a Group 2 team, opened their season with a 14-6 loss to Group 4 Westfield, one of the most highly touted teams in the state. Nonetheless, West Essex is expected to contend in Group 2, even though its battles within the Fitch-Pitt Division are guaranteed to be challenging tests.

After Westfield opened a 2-0 lead, outside middie Jake Evangelista gave West Essex its first goal of the season when he scored from 10 yards away on a straight-on shot. Evangelista, who led the Knights with 24 goals last season, had two goals against the Blue Devils on Wednesday.

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West Essex was within a goal, 4-3, after one period, but Westfield netted four unanswered goals in the second period to begin pulling away.

Sam Adams, Jack Cerza, Pat Delehanty and Tom Pescatore each scored a goal for West Essex. Pat Dingwell helped with three assists for the Knights, who will play at Montclair-Kimberley Saturday morning at 10 a.m.