It was only 23 seconds into the game when senior faceoff specialist Sam Nitz won the opening draw and got the ball down to junior attackman Wyatt Kovatch for the game’s first goal.
Not only did the score set the tone of the game against Delmarva Christian High School on Monday, April 3, with the Indians going on to roll the Royals 18-1, but the quick-strike offensive attack has been the tone of the season so far, with the Indian River High School boys’ lacrosse team jumping out to a 4-0 start headed into a Wednesday, April 5, matchup at Salisbury School (after Coastal Point press time).
“We want to go out there and execute and play our game,” said second-year assistant coach Dave Spencer of the team’s best start in program history. “We don’t want to play to anybody else’s level. We want to play up to the bar that we’ve set for ourselves.”
“We’re going into every game knowing what we can do,” added junior attackman Cole “The Machete” Josetti. “The chemistry is just working for us this season — all of us have been playing together for a while.”
Having already racked up 74 goals in their first four games — all of which have gone to running clocks in the second half — the IR offense has been difficult to deny, with the proof continuing to show early on in Monday’s matchup against the Royals.
Soon after Kovatch opened up the scoring, the junior would add his second goal of the game on an assist from senior attackman Gianni Gottschalk.
Scores from senior midfielder Andrew White and Josetti on an assist from senior midfielder Max Stong would push the lead to 4-0, before back-to-back goals from senior midfielder George “G-Mart” Martin — one of them on a behind-the-back approaching the near pipe — made it 6-0 with 4:23 left to go in the first quarter.
“These guys have really started looking for each other. They’re moving the ball to the right spots,” said Spencer.
Recently eclipsing the 200-career-points mark, Martin would round out a first-quarter hat trick shortly after his behind-the-back score, before Stong added his first score of the game on a shot from up top to make it 8-0 and the Indians rolled into the break with a 10-0 lead.
Half No.2 was a similar story, with both senior midfielder Jared Arlett and junior attackman Garrett Bomhardt getting in on the scoring action and tallying their first career goals.
The Royals’ lone goal came from sophomore attackman Hunter Smith, as the IR defense, led by nine saves from senior keeper Hayden McWilliams, took the DCHS offense out of the game.
“Our whole defensive unit played solid,” said McWilliams. “Everyone made sure that they shut off their man.”
Aside from the usual defensive unit of senior Griffin McCormick, senior Michael Cedano, sophomore Patrick Spencer and LSM Joey Ciriello, the IR defense also saw contributions in the game from senior Jordan Mears, senior Jarrett Lowrance and freshman Ethan Forrey.
Sophomore midfielder Jack Martin also recorded his first career assist.
At the face-off “X,” Nitz continued his dominance this season, going 11 for 12 on the day, with Arlett winning eight of 11 draws. Nitz has now won 67 face-offs this season, losing only six, for a 92 percent success rate.
Up next, the Indians will head to Berlin, Md., to take on lacrosse powerhouse Worcester Prep, looking to take down the Mallards for the first time in program history, on Friday, April 7, at 4 p.m.
“We’re firing on all cylinders right now,” said McWilliams. “We’ve got some tough tests coming up, but the game plan is going to be the same. We’re trying to keep doing what we’ve been doing all season and hoping to make good things happen.”
“We’re looking to go into that game 5-0 and come out 6-0,” added Josetti. “If we go into that game doing what we’ve been doing, I don’t see why we wouldn’t come out with a win.”
Goals: IR — C. Josetti (5), G. Martin (5), W. Kovatch (2), A. White (2), J. Arlett (1), G. Bomhardt (1), G. Gottschalk (1), M. Stong (1); DCA — H. Smith (1)
Assists: IR — G. Martin (3), W. Kovatch (2), C. Josetti (1), G. Gottschalk (1), M. Stong (1), A. White (1), J. Martin (1)
Saves: IR — H. McWilliams (9)
F.O.: IR — S. Nitz (11-12), J. Arett (8-11)