photos by Jeff Horwitz
Author’s Note: I’ll also be linking Wells Dusenbury’s Sun-Sentinel article separately and he has the information in his article about the pre-game and the special decals for the helmets, so I’ll spend more on the game itself.
I was sort of prepared for what I expected to be something a little different than what I witnessed last night. Leaving early to get to the field due to wanting to make sure I could ‘do my normal thing’, wondering about whether there would be a possible media circus, or not really sure what I was going to find at all.
Of course there were ceremonies before the first home game. But it’s now been over three weeks and I sensed that the school and the team were a little worn down mentally and needed a break from it. I could feel it driving onto the school grounds. The extensive memorial up front on the corner. The feeling of what will I find was met with a few media members present, notably what I thought was the Miami CBS affiliate doing a stand up on that corner. But it didn’t really feel like anything. Almost obligatory on their part. Not caring that it was a district game between two teams. Driving into the parking lot, seeing an emergency vehicle for what might have been someone injured, but no real tenseness at all.
Just walked right out on the field as normal, and saw the most normal thing possible. SD’s coaches restringing the nets. Kind of one of those little things you don’t see a high school coaching staff doing . . . until you remember that those nets have sat idle for a lot longer than first projected and this is just one of those things you have to do to play a game . . . make sure the nets are not full of holes.
I’ll guarantee no one in the media would have been there to watch that process . . . not sexy enough.
Wells and I in the press box . . . just like any other game we both attend. Pregame talks with the coaches and his filming (he’s a lot better at that than I am as you can see from his article) on the sideline early in the game. No other media outlet . . . lacrosse still doesn’t equal ratings I guess.
It’s like we went to a show and a lacrosse game broke out.
Sure, the shirts were everywhere and that won’t go away all year. A new addition to the field courtesy of the Miami Dolphins, who stenciled the field with the eagle and the saying . . . and left the stencil for them to re-touch it when needed.
But in the end, the night took on a familiar feel . . . the team was playing at home and it’s time to cheer for the kids.
And when the win was in the books the pizza came out, the kids shook hands, the coaches talked to Wells and I, and the parents milled around to talk and take pictures.
Just like every other Douglas home game I attended the past 4 years.
Good. We needed the feel of familiarity too.
As for the game itself it was a done deal for the most part. Cardinal Gibbons had their moments but couldn’t sustain what worked after a nice run to end the second quarter. Slowly building up the program. After the game I went up to Coach Rudy Williams and mentioned he might want me to not cover him for a while. His team is winless in games I covered and after we chuckled about it we calmly talked about the game itself. I’m sure that he didn’t miss the moment and the sometimes unfair position that events put high school athletes in, having to be the first home game back. Certainly didn’t go out to schedule it that way. He’s a good guy who is working hard to make a good program and I’m sure I’ll cover a win for him soon enough.
Stoneman’s young team (17 graduates last year I believe) scored on their first shot on goal and eventually got out to a 6-0 lead nearly midway through the first but it’s clearly a work in progress. In the past years it’s been a team that hit the net on a fairly high percentage of shot attempts but barely hit 50% last night, on 19 for 37 and in games past that was usually well over 60% and that’s also a sign of a young team. Clearing was not nearly as crisp as in years past. Defensively they were solid and Ryan Ditsch in goal made the saves he needed to make. On CG’s side I was impressed by their goalie Chris Beaudet and liked his outlet passing a lot. James Foster led the offense with three goals. But after running a really nice team offense in the second quarter they got away from it and too many individual efforts later the game got away from them.
SD scored the first goal with 11:15 left as Tommy Frank took Ryan Goldstein pass from top right as he cut middle and his left hand hit the high left corner for 1-0. With 5:04 left it was Frank finding Ryan Kavanaugh from right GLE as Kavanaugh cut to the crease, finishing with the quick stick to the left side and with 20 seconds left in the period it was Frank taking the Sam Bailin behind the back pass from the right wing and finishing to the top of the net for 3-0. That brought the biggest cheer of the night.
The Healing Game works it’s magic again . . .
In the second Adam Brodsky made it 4-0 at 9:38 on the curl from behind left, finishing right had low. Just 17 seconds later it was 5-0 as Kavanaugh went right alley and ripped the twine on the left side. Bailin made it 6-0 on a right wing face dodge to the right crease for the low shot. Just when it looked pretty much over Cardinal Gibbons struck back with speed and motion. Chris Benested curled from the left side up the alley and his right hand hit the top short side at 6:$0 for 6-1. On EMO Payton Goodrich then found Foster cutting down the middle for the quick right hand low shot at 4:29 for 6-2 and Foster again cut down the middle and this time it was Michael Shawver finding him in stride to make it 6-3 at the half.
But that was as close as they’d get. Brodsky made it 7-3 at 7:32 with the left wing step down and with only 6 seconds left Logan Kelly was found all alone by Bailin, who curled from the right and drew two defenders before dumping it inside for Kelly’s wide open shot for 8-3 after three.
In the fourth it was Bailin with two unassisted goals to break it open, beating the double team the first time to get to the front right and the second curling from the right side to the crease. Goldstein finished the SD scoring with 2:58 left off a left GLE feed from Justin Irwin and Foster completed the scoring with 52 seconds left to make the final 11-4.
Finally, a lacrosse season is now fully in swing.
Memories don’t disappear but time works in your favor when you are young.
Both teams face tough tests in their next games. SD hosts Barron Collier on Tuesday and CG hosts undefeated Pine Crest on Wednesday.
Faceoffs: SD 11-6
Shots: SD 37-22
Shots on Goal: SD 19-12
Turnovers CG 14-13
Penalties: SD 4-2
Sam Bailin 3G/2A
Tommy Frank 2G/1A
Ryan Kavanaugh and Adam Brodsky with 2G each
Ryan Goldstein with 1G/1A
Logan Kelly with 1G
Justin Irwin with 1A
Ryan Ditsch with 8 saves
James Foster 3G
Chris Benested 1G
Michael Shawver and Payton Goodrich with 1A each
Chris Beaudet with 8 saves
Thanks to Coach Burton and Coach Williams for talking to me before and after the game.