After giving up 18 and 13 goals in its two most recent games, the N&O No. 1 Cardinal Gibbons boys lacrosse team turned in a stout defensive performance Tuesday as it defeated No. 8 East Chapel Hill 16-2 to remain unbeaten in PAC-6 Conference play.
Gibbons (6-1, 3-0) pitched a first half shutout and held the Wildcats scoreless until the 8:43 mark in the third quarter. The Crusaders, who scored in double-digits for the fifth time this season, already held a 10-goal advantage at that point after a dominant first half.
Eight different players scored for Gibbons, which is playing well as a unit offensively, according to coach Alex Buckley. Senior attacker Will Moran led the way with a dominant 9-point performance (four goals, five assists), with three of his goals coming during a nine-minute span in the third quarter.
Junior attacker Zach Niemi (three goals), sophomore attacker Patrick King (two goals), senior midfielder Patrick Egan (two goals) and junior attacker Adam Barry (two goals) also starred offensively for the Crusaders.
The win was Gibbons’ first on home turf after losing by 10 goals to Lambert (Ga.) on March 10. Buckley said he believes his team has made strides since then and that its play against East Chapel Hill (4-2, 1-1) is further proof of that.
“We got shown by a very good team from Georgia that we have a lot of things to work on,” Buckley said. “I think we’re improving week to week. I think we saw some improvement tonight, but we have a long way to go.”
Junior goalie Brennan Kurosad, who has split time with sophomore Riley Myer in the net this season for Gibbons, started against the Wildcats and held his own, allowing only a pair of goals. He was aided by the strong play of his defenders, who were eager to have a good night after allowing 13 scores in a one-goal win over St. Anne’s-Belfield (Va.) on Saturday.
“It was very important,” said Gibbons senior defender Alex Stock, a Mercer recruit, said of the Crusaders getting back on track defensively. “We just needed that confidence boost after we had these tough competitions.”
After starting off slow, East Chapel Hill competed at a higher level as the game progressed, coach Dominic Koplar said.
“We were playing a very well-coached and deep team,” Koplar said. “So I’m pleased with what the second half looked like much more so than the first.”
Senior attacker Quinn Albrecht and junior midfielder Taylor Greeno each scored for the Wildcats.