by Tom Utescher
After staying a step behind visiting Gwynedd Mercy Elementary through much of the first half, Norwood Fontbonne Academy gained its first lead during the third quarter of last Monday’s boys’ lacrosse contest, and went on to win, 7-5.
The victory advanced the season record of the NFA Bears to 2-3, with their previous win coming in an even closer game (5-4) against those same Gwynedd Mustangs.
After Gwynedd opened the scoring two minutes into last week’s contest, Norwood was put in a position of playing catch-up, and remained in that role throughout the remainder of the first half.
From the top of the offensive set, NFA’s Corbin Melle matched the Mustangs’ first marker, then after the visitors moved ahead again, Jeramy Sica tied the match at 2-2, drilling an outside shot into the top right corner of the cage. In the second period, two more Gwynedd goals were sandwiched around one by Kyle Reddish of the Bears, leaving the home team still trailing at the halftime break, 3-4.
On many of the Bears’ shots in the first half, they fired with a Gwynedd defender closely guarding them, and the ball was blocked after travelling just a few feet. After the intermission, the Norwood attackmen did a better job of freeing themselves for an open shot, and in the defensive end, they made it more difficult for the Mustangs to drive to the goal.
Reddish picked up where he left off before halftime, netting the first goal of the third quarter to level the tally at 4-4. His ball was initially blocked by the goalie’s body, but it dropped to the ground and rolled in. With 2:40 elapsed in the period, NFA took the lead for the first time in the contest, as Michael Schwenger’s pass from out on the right wing set up Sica’s second goal of the day.
With a little over three-and-a-half minutes to go in the third round, the Bears took advantage of a man-up situation, with Sean Sehn firing the ball into the Mustangs’ corral to make it 6-4. He added a second goal early in the fourth quarter, dodging a defender to launch a successful bounce shot.
The hosts were now ahead, 7-4, but they opened the door for Gwynedd by picking up some penalties late in the game. For one 15-second stretch, they were two men down.
The visitors only managed one more goal, though, closing the gap to two points on a shot that was partially blocked by NFA keeper Joe Gerngross. The ball bounced over the line, and Norwood immediately called time-out with 2:52 left to play.
The Bears played smarter down the stretch, capturing the face-off after the fifth Gwynedd goal and holding onto their two-point lead the rest of the way. In front of Gerngross, the lynchpin of the Norwood defense was Liam Nester, also a basketball standout at NFA.