By Matt Jenkins
---- — DANVERS — Gaining possession in lacrosse is only the most important ingredient for victory if a team maintains and capitalizes.
St. John’s Prep had no trouble getting a grasp on the ball yesterday against Lincoln-Sudbury thanks to faceoff specialist Derek Osbahr, but the Eagles couldn’t maintain possessions against the Warriors and paid the price.
Visiting Lincoln-Sudbury scored 10 unanswered goals from the second quarter on to hand the Eagles a 13-3 loss.
St. John’s (12-4), which had won five straight games, only trailed 6-3 at the break, but its offense clearly wasn’t operating at peak efficiency. Osbahr won 10 of 11 faceoffs before intermission, yet the Eagles still faced a three-goal deficit.
“I think we could have kept it closer in the first half because of unforced errors, simple catching and throwing,” St. John’s Prep coach John Roy said. “You just can’t have that against someone like them. Then they had the momentum in the second half. Derek did his best to slow them down on the faceoffs, but still they were capitalizing. A couple sloppy turnovers and they move the ball well enough and will put the ball in.
“When our offense is playing as poorly as it did today, you know it’s tough to come from behind.”
The pressure shifted to the Eagles’ defense in the second half because Lincoln-Sudbury was able to increase the pace of the game in the third quarter. The Warriors got goals from Jordan Dow and John Merwin in unsettled situations, then Greg Roder scored on a fast break to push the L-S lead to 9-3.
“We pushed the ball (in the third quarter). We knew they had to come out chasing us and they did,” Lincoln-Sudbury (12-2) coach Brian Vona said. “St. John’s Prep is a very tough team and they like to dictate play. We knew they were going to come out chasing it and we knew we had to start scoring. We did well.”
Lincoln-Sudbury kept the pressure up in the fourth quarter and ended up finishing the game with three consecutive man-up goals to account for the lopsided final.
“We weren’t moving our feet without the ball, so it comes down to trying to run a set play because they’re not moving when they should, or we’re dropping the ball when we’re trying to run a play,” Roy said. “It was one of those games. I’m glad it’s over.”
Osbahr was clearly the bright spot for St. John’s and drew high praise from Vona. “We got killed at the faceoff X. That kid is the best faceoff guy in the state that I’ve seen so far,” Vona said.
Andrew Gallahue scored twice for St. John’s, with his first coming only eight seconds into the game directly off a faceoff win by Osbahr. Drew O’Connell also scored for the Eagles.
St. John’s senior goalie Tom Casale also played well, facing a high volume of shots.
Roder led Lincoln-Sudbury with four goals and one assist, Dow contributed two goals and four assists, Merwin scored three times, and Harlan Smart pitched in with two goals and two assists.
Roy is hopeful that the Eagles learned a lesson in the loss because their remaining schedule doesn’t get any easier with Duxbury (Saturday) and Medfield (Wednesday) still to come.
“Don’t let someone get in your heads,” Roy said about the lesson that should have been learned. “I feel like the offense had these guys resting in their heads before the game even started. We got that first quick goal and I was thinking maybe that would help us, but all along we were lacking confidence on offense, which we shouldn’t be lacking. We’ve been scoring 13-14 goals a game and it’s a type of thing where we can’t let the name Lincoln-Sudbury bother us.”