Elks handle Panthers behind Durant’s face-off dominance
— The Elkton boys’ lacrosse team did three things Friday night that Eric Day said would make it tough to lose just about any game.
“When you’re winning face offs, your defense is playing good and your goalie is making saves, it’s hard to lose a ball game,” the Golden Elks firstyear coach said.
That trio of factors delivered Elkton a 17-7 Susquehanna Division win over host Perryville.
Junior midfielder Tyler Durant
won 25 of the game’s 27 face offs, allowing the Elks to control possession throughout the night.
“It’s all about keeping your composure and staying calm,” Durant said. “My teammates actually help me stay calm throughout the game, they put trust in me. I came down the field with the face off, slowed it down, got them the ball, and they did what they had to do.”
Behind his control of the face-off X, Elkton scored the first five goals of the game.
“He killed us. He dominated the game,” Panthers coach Chris Soper said. “Face offs have been a problem for us all year and ground balls in general have been a problem for us all year. If you’re not winning face offs and you’re not picking up ground balls, you don’t have a lot of possessions and you get beat.”
Perryville cracked the scoreboard with just over a minute left in the first quarter, but the Elks opened the second period on another 5-0 run to take a 10-1 lead.
“Every team in the country that has a good face-off guy is automatically at an advantage, but the good thing is, we’re winning the face offs and then we’re not throwing the ball away,” Day said. “I’m so happy with how they’re playing. They’re moving and they played unselfish today, we had a lot of assists.”
Elkton led 10-3 at the half and 12-5 after three quarters.
Durant and Josh Taylor each recorded seven points—Durant with four goals and three assists and Taylor with three goals and four assists. Brady O’Neill scored a teamhigh five goals and handed out an assist, Joe Scuderi had four goals with two assists and Jeffrey Day added a goal. Goalie Brad Astfalk made 15 saves in cage.
“I think this is a huge win, but I don’t want them to even recognize who they’re playing. There was a time in the game when somebody said something about the scoreboard, and I said, ‘You shouldn’t even know what the score is.’ You don’t play that way,” Day said. “Coach Soper is a great coach and you’ve got guys over there that know lacrosse. I saw them play North East and I thought they were outstanding. I think we played a little better and I don’t think they played as well as they can play. I think we kind of shocked them early on.”
Nick Roberts led the Panthers with three goals, Nick Ports and Matt Woods recorded a goal and an assist apiece, Drew Crouse and Dalton Dunman each had a goal and defender Dom Muscella added an assist for Perryville, which has struggled to remain healthy as of late.
“We’re thin, but that’s not an excuse. We’re just not playing good lacrosse,” Soper said. “We had a couple good practices leading up to tonight. I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t feel good about us coming into the game tonight. We had a nice chalk talk upstairs before the game, we talked about who their guys were and who was going to do what. We knew going in who we needed to defend and we didn’t do it.
“That’s kind of where we are unfortunately, we’ve got a lot of work to do. I’d imagine we’ll see them again in the playoffs at some point, hopefully. I just told the guys, ‘We’ve got to be playing our best in May. It’s April 8. We’ve got three weeks to get ourselves better.’ It starts tomorrow.”
Follow Sean Grogan on Twitter: @Sean_CecilWhig
Elkton attacker Joe Scuderi scored four goals and handed out two assists in Friday’s 17-7 Susquehanna Divison win over host Perryville.