BBA boys lax drops season opener

MANCHESTER - A frustrated Mike Sztorc watched his Burr and Burton Academy teammates and members of the Woodstock lacrosse team head back toward the middle of the field for a faceoff early in the fourth quarter.

Sztorc's frustration followed on the heels of a play that saw the ball go into the netting of the BBA goalie's stick only to come back out and roll across the line to give the Wasps a 7-5 lead.

It was a pivotal moment in BBA's season opener, which they dropped to the Wasps 9-6.

That's when the wheels seemed to fall off for Burr and Burton Academy (0-1).

"We're a little bit short on depth tonight. We had a bunch of kids who missed over break, kids who weren't here. They were traveling, they weren't at practices. So, our depth on defense was definitely hurting us," said BBA coach Jason Pergament. "We had exactly three defenders tonight. That's why down the line our defense started to get tired, started to get worn down and I think that's why the game kind of unraveled in the fourth quarter."

The Bulldogs had held Woodstock scoreless in the second half until then, but in the next four minutes following the goal Woodstock freshmen Jonas Kantola took over.

After scoring his first goal with 6:27 left to play, Kantola took the ball behind goal with just under five minutes left. Coming around Sztorc's right side, he spun to elude a defender; moving into the center of the crease and fired a shot high into the back of the net to give his team a 9-5 lead. BBA scored once more before the contest came to close.

In a post game interview, Woodstock coach Brandon Little gave kudos to Kantola.

"It was outstanding," said Little said of Kantola's performance. "He's a freshmen this year. It's kind of his coming out game. He played real well." The Bulldogs had narrowed the gap to 6-5 with 7:39 remaining in the third quarter when attacker Max Pagnucco - who had two goals on the night - bounced a shot down the middle into the back of the net.

BBA came into the second half trailing by 6-4 after an action packed first half - most of which took place in the first quarter.

Woodstock drew first blood 17 seconds into the game, bouncing the ball into the back of the net. But about a minute later BBA's Ben Alexopoulos - who led the team in scoring with three goals - equalized by bouncing one into the left side of goal.

The teams traded goals again with the quarter winding down, but with 31 seconds left to play the Wasps struck - taking a 3-2 lead. Ten seconds later they netted home again, doubling the Bulldogs lead going into the second.

Alexopoulos narrowed the gap to one about three minutes into the second, but Woodstock tacked on two more goals to take a 6-3 advantage with a little over four minutes left to play in the half.

But the Bulldogs remained aggressive. Around the two minute mark, Sztorc got a play going carrying the ball out of net and slinging it ahead to Alexopoulos to start the fast break. Alexopoulos took advantage of the opportunity - pulling the team two within two goals at the half.

Oliver Kaija led all scorers with four goals. Nick Davis, Haven Lance, and Daniel Robinson all had a goal for Woodstock. Tim Swinarton added a goal for BBA and Alexopoulos and senior attacker Elliot Buckley both recorded an assist.

Sztorc had 11 saves for BBA and Woodstock goalie Ben Orr had 14 saves.


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