Story by Jim Horvath
Photos and video by Larry Bennet
A new head coach. Some new players.
Even so, the winning continues for the Rocky River boys lacrosse team.
New head coach Ted Dimond and his band of Pirates have made it four wins in their first five outings. Tuesday night, they scored four goals in the first quarter and never looked back in a 14-0 win over Brecksville at Rocky River Stadium.
"Our focus has been to build up both the top and bottom of our offense," Dimond said. "We want to feel like at any point of the year, we can feel comfortable with different guys in different spots from attack and midfield.
"You saw that tonight as we were able to mix guys around," Dimond continued. "We felt we could get better as a group, so we used each quarter as a new opportunities for guys to get runs and feel more comfortable in our offensive sets.
"It was nice to see a lot of assisted goals. We've been stressing that a lot. Every chance we have to hit somebody ahead of us, we're going to. We're proud of the way we were able to move up the field, and I think that will be reflected on the stat sheet," he added.
While eight of the River goals came off assists, a number of unassisted goals helped the Pirates build their lead. Senior midfielder Evan Jacob got the home team rolling with a pair of unassisted goals in the first four minutes of the game.
His first goal came at 9:30 when Brecksville goalie Doug Robie stopped the shot, but didn't control it as the ball rolled into the goal. The second goal came as Jacob took the ball up high, drove past Bees defender and fired the ball in from about 10 yards out.
With 8:43 left in the half, the Pirate were gaining momentum and the Bees were back on their collective heels.
Senior attacker Brock Reimenschneider got River's third goals he took a pass from fellow senior Tom Robenalt, who was out on the left wing. Reimenschneider scored from close range to make it 3-0 with 5:22 left in the quarter.
Then with 1:50 left in the quarter, Jacob found junior P.J. Sperli out on the left wing. Sperli turned and blistered a shot over Robie's left shoulder for the Pirates' fourth goal of the game.
Rocky River went on to score two more goals in the second quarter, with Reimenschneider finding Sperli at 10:47 and Robenalt scoring an unassisted goal with 53.7 seconds left in the half. With 24 minutes in the books, the Pirates had already out-shot the Bees 15-9.
"We knew River was going to be a tough play for us," said Brecksville head coach Jon Falko, whose team was coming off an 18-5 win over Stow last week.
"But we expect a little more out of our guys. We just didn't have what we needed to really produce anything tonight," Falko said. "We were really tentative on offense tonight. We came off a nice win last week, and we thought we could take some of that momentum into this game.
"We lost on our fundamentals in this game. That's not going to help," he added.
The floodgates opened in the third quarter as River scored four more goals and outshot the Bees 11-0.
Senior Logan Drell scored a goal as he took the ball and cut right down the middle for a point-blank shot at the 9:27 mark. Reimenschneider scored an unassisted goal at 5:15, then junior Eric Kanner found senior Jack Gerlack for a man-up goal at 1:54 to make it 9-0, River.
A Justin Aldinger goal off a Robenalt assist made it 10-0 as the final minute ticked off the third quarter clock. After four more goals in the final quarter, the Pirates finished with a 33-9 shot differential as they completely bottled up the Bees' offense.
Dimond said his defense has been steadily improving with each game.
"We watched some film last night since it was raining so much," Dimond said. "We spent some time as a defensive unit looking at the first game up through the last one against Benedictine.
"It was almost unproductive to watch the first game, to see how much we've already improved since then," Dimond admitted. "We've monitored our play, and it's based on how well you've played during a week leading up to a game. So each week is a new opportunity for somebody to come in and play.
"If someone out-plays another guy at any position, we feel it's fair for them to play that week. After our first game against St. Eds, a couple of defensemen got pulled. From there, they earned their way back into the lineup. From watching film and applying some of the concepts we've been talking about, our defense from a to z has gotten better.
"You've got to have that foundation. We have a lot of new guys this year. We have a new goalie , a couple of new defensemen and a lot of new middies who are playing a lot. So for us, it's been nice to learn, but win at the same time," he said.
For Brecksville, now 1-1, Tuesday night's game was a glimpse of what the Bees program hopes to be one day, according to Falko.
"We're getting better as a program," he said. "We got a middle school program started last year, and now we're getting guys who have played organized lacrosse for two or three years prior. It's just going to take time."
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Click on the cameras below for photos and video highlights of this game: