Norwood’s Anthony Rossi brings the ball up through the midfield for the Bears. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

The varsity boys’ lacrosse team from Norwood Fontbonne Academy travelled out to Huntingdon Valley last Wednesday for their second meeting this spring with the Bryn Athyn Church School.

The first encounter ended in a tie, but as last week’s rematch got underway, Bryn Athyn jumped on top in the first period, 3-0. The NFA Bears played even with their hosts the rest of the way, but Bryn Athyn’s early surge proved to be the difference in the final tally, as they won the game 8-5.

At least the weather was pleasant, and Norwood got to play on a brand new artificial turf field at Bryn Athyn College, which is located on the same large plot of land as BACS and the related secondary school, the Academy of the New Church. The Bears came away with a record of 1-2-1, while Bryn Athyn improved to 1-4-1.

With Norwood’s regular goalie out sick, seventh-grader Coulten Grasela helped his team by stepping into the cage. In front of him on defense were eighth-graders Jon Irvine and Sebastian Tilley and seventh-grader Justin Eney.

The other eighth-graders on the NFA squad are Henry Loome, Connor Lyons, Mike Marable, and Anthony Rossi, and the other seventh-graders are Caleb Abrams, Joseph Guller, Michael Quirk, and J.J. Zamichieli. Curiously, there are no sixth graders but five fifth graders; Blake Brown, Rick Conner, Paul Hutapea, Jack Koch, and Freddie Zamichieli.

At Bryn Athyn last week, Norwood got the ball off of the opening face-off and had J.J. Zamichieli launch the first shot of the afternoon, but his ball narrowly missed the lower right corner. BMCS came up the field and scored in transition less than 90 seconds into the game, and the hosts added a goal on a similar sequence two minutes after that.

Bryn Athyn would ring up a third goal later in the period, just after an NFA attempt by Rossi was saved, and just before a shot by Quirk went wide. Entering the second period behind 3-0, Norwood had a one-minute man-up opportunity early on, but sent a shot right into the home team’s goalkeeper.

The Bears did get on the board with 8:23 remaining in the first half, with Zamichieli firing from the right and bouncing his shot up into the opposite top corner. After both the Bryn Athyn keeper and Norwood’s Grasela made saves for their teams, the hosts went up 4-1 midway through the period. Norwood was back within two for halftime, though, with Quirk finding the net with a shot low to the left.

Grasela made another stop, but then found himself under more pressure when a pair of penalties left the visitors two men short near the end of the half. NFA hung in and killed these penalties, and after a bounce shot by Lyons missed the mark in the closing seconds, the half ended with the tally still at 4-2.

Rossi got the Bears back within one goal of the leaders early in the third period, but BACS answered with two markers of its own to take a 6-3 advantage into the fourth quarter.

With just under two-and-a-half minutes gone in the final frame, a fourth point went up on the board for the Bears as Lyons let go from the left and scored low. BACS came back up on the attack and had a shot turned aside by Grasela, but around the middle of the period Bryn Athyn split the pipes twice to put its final total of eight goals up in lights.

Lyons deposited his second goal of the period with 1:43 to go, locking in the final score of the contest at 8-5.

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