Raiders score late to top Bulldogs

MANCHESTER -- The Bulldogs had their time. It was painfully brief.

After blitzing into the lead with three goals in a 76-second span early in the first quarters, Burr and Burton Academy fell prey to Rutland's deliberate, controlled offense. The Raiders' attack hoarded possession for minutes at a time, turning the final three and a half quarters into an uphill slog.

"They burned a lot of the clock," said BBA coach Kevin Morrison. "They just whittled us down."

Burr and Burton gave up three second-half goals to a Rutland team on the man-advantage, the last breaking a tie with under five minutes to play to spur the Raiders to an 8-6 boys lacrosse win on Monday.

Not quite a stall, the Rutland (3-3) attack forced BBA sophomore goalkeeper Mike Sztorc into 13 of his 20 saves after halftime.

"If we can hold onto the ball, they can't score," Rutland coach Jake Rick said. "They ran transition really well at the beginning of the game, so we figured if we could slow it down and play it at our level, that would be beneficial for our offense and our defense."

Joe Couture's fourth goal of the day, coming with 4:58 left in the final stanza, turned up the game-winner, six minutes after Ben Alexopoulos set up Sean Paradis for his fourth tally with a defense-splitting pass across the zone to knot the game 6-6.

The shot was one of few quality chances the Bulldogs (1-3) created in the second half. After a 4-4 deadlock at halftime, their only other goal came from a solo charge by Paradis after a restart behind the goal.

"We were taking too many shots from outside, not high-percentage shots," Morrison said. "You saw, with those first three goals, it was dish-and-get-the-layup.

"There was very little team offense and that was frustrating."

And Rutland pounced on any BBA lapses. Other than Kyle Arnold's (three goals) final strike with 16 seconds left in the contest, all of the Raiders' second-half goals came with the hosts down a man after a penalty.

"They're a disciplined team, too, but when it came down to it we had the opportunities and we drew penalties and we didn't retaliate and made the most of our chances," Rick said.

Tom Morgantini and Tanner McGrath (one assist) also scored for BBA in the first quarter.

But when it came to mounting a comeback -- forcing turnovers and breaking out in transition -- in the final stanza the Bulldogs still found themselves pinned back by the Raiders probing offense.

"The whole fourth quarter should've been a lot more pressure," Morrison said. "To watch them pass the ball around is so frustrating because they were huge, long passes that if you step up you can pick them off. There's definitely a communication breakdown at times between the defense and myself as the coach."

Goalkeeper Jason Macfarlane (nine saves) also stopped the Bulldogs from close range twice in the second quarter to keep the game close.


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