APEX — In a showdown between the two top-ranked lacrosse teams in the area Friday night, Cardinal Gibbons got its offense going early to jump to a big lead and take a 15-7 win against previously undefeated Conference 2 foe Apex.
Both teams had scoring chances early, but it was Gibbons, which finished second in the state last year, that cashed in to take control of the game.
“We put some shots away early, but Apex is a great, great team, a great program,” Gibbons coach Mike Curatolo said. “It’s always a battle. We put a couple away and the momentum rolled with us.”
Junior Gannon Morrison (three goals, five assists) opened the scoring, and Zander Lim (two goals) also scored in the first quarter. In the second quarter, senior James Dorsett, who will play at Fuman next year, scored four of his six goals as the Crusaders raced to a 7-1 lead in a half that proved very frustrating for the Cougars.
“I felt the first half was a pretty evenly played first half, it’s just that they put the ball in the goal and we didn’t. They just beat the heck out of us,” Apex coach John Hayden said. “The only good thing is it only counts as one loss. It feels like it should count as three. When you miss shots like that, it’s intensity, not burying the ball. Throwing the ball away on easy passes, it’s intensity. The goal we gave up at the end of the half, we had a player who just went to sleep.”
Robert Lavelle (two goals) and Lim scored to up the Crusaders’ lead to 9-1 before Apex came alive offensively.
Senior goalkeeper Austin Nelli and defenders Matt Bowen, Christopher Lappin and Jack Prevost also starred for the winners.
“Our D played very well tonight,” Curatolo said. “Austin Nelli played really well. He was a momentum stopper. He made some big saves. The defense played wonderful against three phenomenal attackers, two of them returning all-state players (Luke Sieber and Derek Sweet).”
In the fourth period, Apex did score three goals – by Sweet, Sieber and Colby Lalicker – over a 70-second span
“We had some kids who just didn’t quit, that’s always good,” Hayden said. “John Kanady, a sophomore midfielder, played well. He just never, ever quits. We had a defenseman (Jake Berger) who played the whole 48 minutes.”
Timothy Phelps and Hunter Van Horn also scored for Gibbons while Jeffrey Williams had two assists and Preston Butler one.
Brendan Farrell, Kanady and Ryan Sullivan also scored for Apex.