CLARK, NJ- The Johnson Crusaders varsity lacrosse team took on the Westfield Blue Devils at home, but it was the Blue Devils coming away with the victory Saturday morning in Clark, after displaying a strong performance throughout the entire game. The final score was 20-3.
The entire first half was dominated by Westfield, who held a shutout for most of the first quarter, before a late goal by Johnson. They added nine more in the second quarter to take a commanding 16-1 lead at halftime.
The Blue Devils created a lot of scoring chances by forcing turnovers, picking up loose ground balls, and rushing through the field to set up shooting opportunities on net.
Westfield head coach Patrick Tuohy said he was impressed by his team’s performance on the field.
“I thought that they were unselfish, [and] I thought we moved the ball well,” Tuohy said. “I thought guys applied what we’ve been working on in practice. Overall, I felt that they played a total game.”
In the win for Westfield, Luke Prybylskz scored four goals and picked up an assist, while Kyle Rittendale scored three goals and picked up one assist.
James Bruzza added four goals of his own for Westfield, while Jake Worrow, Pat Ascanzan, and Brandon Levthw each contributed two goals in the win.
In their first game since a back-and-forth overtime loss against Clifton this past Wednesday, the Johnson Crusaders were unable to make the plays to create scoring chances.
Turnovers, bad passing, and simply not clearing the ball doomed the Crusaders.
“There’s a lot of things that have to change. After a game like today, you really realize how far you are from where you want to be, where you thought you were, as a team,” said Johnson head coach Lou VanBergen.
“It comes down to basically re-designing, and going back to the draw-board a little bit, but at the same time, not getting away from what you’re trying to do. Maybe, you get to see a little bit more of who can do what, things like that. We’ll make some modifications for next week, and we’ll go from there,” VanBergen said.
The Crusaders were shutout in the second and third quarters.
“Basically, we just need to work harder, work on little stuff, things like ground balls, lengthen our passes, but there’s nothing you can do on a great team like Westfield,” Johnson senior co-captain Kyle Glassen said.
In the loss, senior co-captain Matt Pedicine, sophomore Brett Roessle, and junior co-captain Kyle Myers each scored a goal.
It was a long, scoreless 25:29 in the game from the Crusader's first quarter goal from Kyle Myers, until Pedicine’s goal in the fourth quarter.
“My perspective is this was a game that we kind of knew we weren’t going to win, so this was a test to go against one of the better teams that we’re going to see this year,” Pedicine said. "So just to test our ability, how we can hold ourselves against a good team. It goes back to the simple stuff, catching and throwing, working the ball around, having possession time, and doing better in the middle of the field.”
Next up, the Johnson Crusaders (0-2) take on the Morris Knolls Golden Eagles Tuesday afternoon at home at 4 p.m. The Westfield Blue Devils (2-0) take it to the road Wednesday afternoon at Lawrenceville High School at 4 p.m.