BY TOMMY GIUFFRA
After reaching the semifinals of GMCs but losing to St. Joseph, the boys lacrosse team defeated rivals East Brunswick 13-5 in the first round of states.
The team entered the fourth quarter up 6-5 and never slowed down. “We understood as a team that no lead is enough and that we had to play a full four quarters to win,” said senior Anthony Taranto, who recovered eight ground balls in the game. “After seven unanswered goals, we knew we had the win.”
Senior Jayden Basalatan, who has scored 37 goals on the season, including four against EB in the state game, thinks many key plays allowed the team to come out on top. “What helped us separate was gaining momentum, keeping it, and capitalizing on their mistakes.”
Senior Ryan Christensen, who leads the team with 53 goals scored, thinks the team wanting to win more helped lead to victory. “Besides the fact that we got better from how we were in the beginning of the season we just wanted it more this time. After losing GMCs, now states is one and done. We don’t want to end this season, and we just wanted to win more than East Brunswick.” Christensen’s six goals alone outscored EB, and he notched his 200th career point in the match.
The team grew accustomed to facing adversity by playing a lot of tough competition this year. “Going into the season we knew we were about to play the hardest schedule in the program’s history, but no one backed down from any competition,” said Mechkowski. “I could not be any more proud of the individuals on the team.”
In addition to bouncing back after tough losses, the team worked to get better from game to game. Beating EB by eight showed a big improvement over the 1-point win in the regular season. “I think we were better prepared for this game and knew what they wanted to run after studying and watching film,” said Taranto. “Our team chemistry is at its peak right now.”
Junior Daniel Hennessey, who recovered 85 ground balls for the team so far this season, credits the team’s desire and determination with the win. “We wanted it a whole lot more than them this time around,” said Hennessey. “We were very determined to make it to the next round of states.”
The Knights hope to maintain their momentum as they move to the quarterfinal round of states. They will face Southern, the top seed in South Jersey Group 4, on May 21 at 10:00 am.
Posted on 5/20/22
Photos by Tim O’Neill