ARLINGTON, Mass. – Archbishop Williams – like many lacrosse teams at this stage of the season – has been fighting the injury bug of late. The Bishops were playing with four regulars heading into Wednesday’s Catholic Central League tilt against Arlington Catholic.
But there’s no such thing as excuses. “We’d play with eleven,” Archies head coach Bob Joyce said. And so the Bishops tried their best to deal in the interim.
Perhaps more troubling, continuing another recent trend, the Bishops again found themselves in an early hole. They trailed the Cougars 5-2 at the half and had to dig out from a two-goal deficit to start the fourth quarter. Archies tied the game with 30 seconds remaining in regulation on Steve Righini’s fifth goal of the game.
But it was one of the Bishops’ fill-in cast members who was the hero on the day.
Junior midfielder Colin Higgins, who’s rotated to attack to make up for holes in the lineup, scored the overtime game-winner, giving Archies an 8-7 victory.
“We were trying to get [Nick] Menzel up top to draw a shorty and probably get a shot around to [Steve] Righini,” Higgins said. “I just got the rebound off the shot.”
Faced with the numbers pinch, the Bishops (10-3) have adopted an all-hands-on-deck approach. Higgins also credited the group’s versatility as a factor in their continued success despite playing at less than 100 percent.
“We’ve tried different things, we’ll have different people playing up top,” Higgins said. “We’re pretty interchangeable, attacks go to mids and we have [defensive] mids playing up.”
Still, Archies has relied on its top scorers to weather the storm, evidenced by Righini’s five-goal outburst. Menzel also chipped in a four-point game with two goals and two assists.
Zack Blanch and Andy Haytayan led AC (8-5) in the loss with two goals each.
The Bishops have a penchant for slow starts, but they’ve also exhibited the ability to make early deficits disappear.
“We saw it in the Austin Prep game, we were down eight to nothing and we’ve showed we can come back, against any team,” Joyce said.
However, Archies went on to lose that first meeting of the season with AP – their lone conference loss on the year. And while the Bishops maintain a lead on the Cougars, on the bulk of league games played to this point, it is likely the Catholic Central race will come down to the teams’ rematch next Wednesday.
“This keeps up right up with Austin Prep, so we look forward to having them come to our place and hopefully come away with the CCL,” Higgins said.