N. Carroll runs away from Winters Mill

Stromberg's 5 goals lead Panthers to 9-3 victory

Boys lacrosse

High Schools

March 31, 2004|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

At times, North Carroll boys lacrosse coach John Piper said that he must remind his players, and vice versa, that the goal of the inexperienced Panthers is to build slowly throughout the season for a playoff run.

In the second half of last night's game against Winters Mill, however, visiting North Carroll already showed signs of being a well-polished machine, scoring seven straight goals on its way to a 9-3 win.

"I think we definitely can be that good," said midfielder Ryan Stromberg. "We've got a lot of young players this year, but we're definitely stepping up. You'll see more games like this to come."

Stromberg had a season-high five goals and an assist, leading an offense that, despite being outshot 8-3 in the third quarter, scored on all of its shots to overcome a 3-2 halftime deficit.

"I told them that we had to get back to holding the ball, moving it around a little bit and working the offense," said Piper. "We started to do a much better job of that."

North Carroll's pressure defense, as well, was an integral ingredient, forcing the youthful Falcons - in their first season at the varsity level - into making costly errors in throwing, catching and clearing the ball. When they did manage a shot, junior goalie Brett Rowan (13 saves) more often than not blocked it.

"The last thing I'd want to do is use our youth as an excuse," said Winters Mill coach Sal Picataggi. "On the other hand, there were some times out there where we had one junior, two sophomores and three freshmen playing offense."

For much of the game, however, it was Winters Mill (1-2) that played the role of aggressor, at times dominating with ball control. Jake Larrimore scored two goals in 15 seconds near the end of the first half to give the Falcons a one-goal lead.

Early in the third quarter, however, the complexion of the game changed drastically.

First, Stromberg's unassisted effort tied the game just 2:15 into the period. A little over 2 minutes later, teammate Jon Walker gave North Carroll (2-1) the lead by stealing the ball on a failed clear by goalie Kevin Sharp, then getting the easy score from close range.

The clincher, however, may have come with 43 seconds left in the quarter when, following several minutes of domination by the Falcons, North Carroll scored on a fast break from Stromberg to Mike Melillo.

"I think we just started playing as a team - throwing and catching and going for ground balls," said Stromberg.

"We have better sticks than we showed," said Picataggi. "We came out in the second half and they put two or three quick ones on us, and we just tailspinned from there."

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