CCBC Es­sex mens lax read­ies for Nas­sau show­down

The Avenue News - - Sports And Recreation - By BILL GATES

Last spring the CCBC Es­sex men’s lacrosse team out­lasted Nas­sau Com­mu­nity Col­lege in a thrilling NJCAA na­tional semi­fi­nal game.

Nas­sau re­turns to Es­sex on Satur­day — and the Li­ons are bring­ing the na­tion’s top rank­ing with them.

Nas­sau earned the No. 1 rank­ing in the NJCAA poll when it knocked off sev­en­time de­fend­ing NJCAA na­tional cham­pion Onondaga ear­lier this month, 10-9. That snapped the Laz­ers’ 107-game win­ning streak.

The game is sched­uled for 1 p.m. Es­sex (8-1) is cur­rently ranked third in the NJCAA. The Knights’ only loss was at Onondaga on March 19, 13-11.

“We out­shot Onondaga and had more pos­ses­sions,” Es­sex coach Shawn Burke said. “We blew a cou­ple of clears late in the game and it cost us a cou­ple of goals. But I feel we match up well with them in ta­lent.”

Be­fore play­ing Nas­sau this week, how­ever, Es­sex also had to host ninth-ranked Mon­roe Com­mu­nity Col­lege. That game was played on Tues­day af­ter the Av­enue News went to press.

“We look for­ward to hav­ing a cou­ple of teams from New York come down here this week,” Burke said. “The guys are ex­cited, but at the end of the day, you have to beat the same teams at the end of the year.”

By that, Burke means Es­sex will likely see Mon­roe, Nas­sau and Onondaga at some point in the post­sea­son.

“There is seed­ing in the na­tional tour­na­ment at stake,” Burke said. “Other than that, there’s not a whole lot of sig­nif­i­cance in these games.”

The Mon­roe and Nas­sau games do fig­ure to give the Knights more of a chal­lenge than there most re­cent win, a 31-2 pound­ing of vis­it­ing Ce­cil County on Satur­day.

Es­sex had 27 goals by early in the third quar­ter. The Knights played their sec­ond and third teams through­out the sec­ond half.

DeAn­gelo Watkins fin­ished with six goals. Raphael Var­gas scored four goals, while Dylan McCleaft, Dylan Ri­ley and Tim Roe­seler each had three.

The 14-10 win at Har­ford County on March 22 was a bit more com­pet­i­tive.

Es­sex led 7-5 at the half be­hind four goals by Bran- don O’Con­nell.

Har­ford County was within 9-8 late in the third quar­ter, but goals by James case and O’Con­nell al­lowed Es­sex to take an 11-8 lead into the fourth quar­ter.

Mike Cooke’s third and fourth goals of the game again cut Es­sex’s lead to one, 11-10, with 8:24 re­main­ing.

But the Knights shut out Har­ford the rest of the way, while ex­tend­ing their lead with goals by Derek Tay­lor, Var­gas and Nolan.

O’Con­nell fin­ished with five goals, while Var­gas, Nolan and Tay­lor each had two.

“We have to tighten up our clear­ance game a lit­tle bit,” Burke said. “It’s kind of a fo­cus thing. That will re­ally ben­e­fit us.”

John Wil­liamson of CCBC Es­sex gets shoved by a Ce­cil County de­fender.

PHO­TOS BY BILL GATES

DeAn­gelo Watkins of CCBC Es­sex scored six goals dur­ing the win over Ce­cil County on Satur­day.

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