Elks han­dle Pan­thers be­hind Du­rant’s face-off dom­i­nance

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By SEAN GRO­GAN

sgro­gan@ce­cil­whig.com

— 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

PER­RYVILLE

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

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY SEAN GRO­GAN

Elk­ton at­tacker Joe Scud­eri scored four goals and handed out two as­sists in Fri­day’s 17-7 Susque­hanna Di­vi­son win over host Per­ryville.

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