Boys Lacrosse tops Bernards

The+Raiders+huddle+during+a+timeout

The Raiders huddle during a timeout

Robert Fallo

It was rainy and hand-numbing weather Saturday afternoon but the Raiders were able to continue their hot streak to open the season and defeated Bernards, 9-7, in their first home game at Wexler Field.

Sophomore Cooper Heisey
Sophomore Cooper Heisey

Although the Raiders were coming off of their first loss of the season last Wednesday in a triple overtime heartbreaker against New Providence, head coach Nick Miceli wanted this team to keep a “one game at a time” mentality and not let that lose hang over them.
Miceli’s approach seemed to work well and Scotch Plains-Fanwood didn’t let Wednesday’s game affect their performance.
This was seen from the beginning face-off as the Raider offense created a plethora of chances for themselves and kept pressure on the Mountaineers defense. Sophomore Cooper Heisey was the first Raider to seize one of the chances as he used all of his 6’4, 215 pound frame to muscle through a defender and score with just 1:38 into the game. Not even a minute later, SPF put another shot between the pipes to extend their lead to 2-0.
The Raiders were able to keep the ball in Bernards’ half for the majority of the first quarter and finished up with four goals.
“They played us in man and I feel we’re a very tough team to match up against,” said Miceli. “We had some good matchups to start the game and we exploited them.”
The offense wasn’t the only part of the team that came out firing on all cylinders for SPF. The defense played well and only allowed one goal to Bernards. The defense was so physical for SPF that Heisey broke his stick at one point from an attempted check on a Mountaineer.
The second quarter saw the momentum shift towards the way of Bernards. Sophomore Jack Warren notched two goals within 24 seconds to the pull the Mountaineers within two. Bernards continued to unload shots on the Raiders but junior goaltender Riley Guma had many of his 20 saves in the quarter to keep SPF up one going into the half.
“I feel 100% confident with Riley in goal,” said Miceli.
Junior Richard Nardone tries to get a groundball against a Mountaineer
Junior Richard Nardone tries to get a groundball against a Mountaineer

After the intermission, the first goal of the third quarter wasn’t seen until junior Jason Calabria scored with 4:53 left. Calabria was one of three players on SPF with two goals. The others were Heisey and senior Scott Nizolak, who upped his goal total to 12 in just four games.
Although goals were scarce in the quarter, Bernards put two goals in before the end of the period. One of those goals, by senior Miles Kenny, came late to bring the game to 7-5.
The Raiders began to pull away in the fourth quarter. After a goal by Nizolak to open up the quarter, junior Richard Nardone continued to leave no chance at a comeback for the Mountaineers. Nardone led an isolation play by running around a Bernards defender and then around the net where he was met by another set of Mountaineers. Nardone was able to squeeze by them and converted for a short-range goal while producing the play of the game.
SPF was able to finish off the game and captured their third victory, increasing their record to 3-1.
“This is a huge bounce back win for us,” said Miceli.
The Raiders will next play Millburn away on Tuesday while Bernards will go up against Monday at Morristown-Beard.