By DAVE O’SULLIVAN Publisher OCEAN CITY – Coaches love when they have a roster with potential. They love it even more when potential begins to turn into results earlier than expected. A young but aggressive Ocean City boys lacrosse team outscored visiting Oakcrest 5-2 in the second half, including 3-0 during a third quarter in which the Red Raiders dominated possession, to beat the Falcons 8-6 on Tuesday afternoon at the Tennessee Avenue fields. With the game knotted at 6 and just two minutes remaining, Ocean City coach Joe LaTorre called a timeout to set up the final possession. He wanted his team to milk the clock a little bit, knowing that Oakcrest would jump on any chance to gain possession to set up a potential winning shot of its own. Apparently Tommy Cusack wasn’t listening in the timeout huddle, because 20 seconds later he split the crease and scored the eventual game-winning goal. Kyle Conrad scored an Ocean City’s Dylan Fahy, left, and Jeremiah Johnson celebrate a goal during the Red Raiders’ 8-6 win over Oakcrest on Tuesday. (Glory Days Magazine photos/Dave O’Sullivan) insurance goal on the next possession to ice the win, the first the Red Raiders had scored over the Falcons in three years. “We draw up plays a lot of times, but most of the time it ends up going into some broken play and we score,” LaTorre said. “(Tommy) is definitely a big piece of this team. This is our third game in three days and it’s nice to see them showing up and playing every day. We’re just going to try to keep building off this success.” The Red Raiders, who had 10 wins last year but graduated seven seniors, pulled their record even at 2-2 while Oakcrest fell to 1-2. Cusack, Jeremiah Johnson and Owen Dierolf each scored two goals for Ocean City, while Blake Biren and Paulie Stablini paced the Falcons with two goals each. Chris Mateer had four assists for the Red Raiders. “This was a big win. It was awesome,” Johnson, a sophomore midfielder said. “(Cusack’s goal) was awesome. He just took control.” Oakcrest carried a 4-3 lead into halftime, but Johnson scored a pair of goals sandwiched around a goal by Mateer in Oakcrest’s Jon Mitchell, right, tries to work his way past Ocean City defender Kyle Conrad. the third quarter to give Ocean City a 6-4 lead. The Falcons tied the game in the fourth quarter on goals by Stablini and Matt Hess. “For the program, this is one of our big wins of the year. Last year, we couldn’t beat this team. We played them down to the wire the first time and lost by two goals, and the second time we lost on a goal they scored with 30 seconds left,” LaTorre said. “My team is so young. I have to get them to understand that they have to play a complete game. Some of them will play really hard the first quarter then once the second quarter comes they are kind of taking it easy. They also don’t have the confidence yet because they are so young, but once they see that they can take these guys and dodge on them and score, you can just see them getting more confident.” LaTorre said what is really helping his young team come along quickly is a trio of dedicated assistant coaches who really know the game of lacrosse. “You definitely see the strides these kids are making and a lot of that is due to coaching,” LaTorre said. “We have two very intelligent offensive coaches, Bruce Ladd and Brent Earl, and our defensive coach Chris Clark. You can just tell the kids are learning day in and day out.” Contact Dave O’Sullivan: firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @GDsullysays [adsense]
About The Author
Sully, as he’s known throughout South Jersey, began his newspaper career in 1995 and has worked for some of New Jersey’s top papers, including The Asbury Park Press and Press of Atlantic City, as a writer and editor. He’s earned several New Jersey Press Association awards and continues to produce high quality reporting, writing and photography. A native of Ocean County, Sully played high school baseball at Lacey Township High and college baseball at Pfeiffer University in North Carolina. After a successful 15-year career in the newspaper business, Sully launched Glory Days Magazine in 2013 and for nearly a decade has been bringing fans outstanding and insightful coverage of high school sports throughout South Jersey.
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