BYFIELD, Mass. – Governor’s Academy lost their first game of the season on Saturday to a St. Sebastian’s team who has been playing its best lacrosse in the second half of the season.
Gov’s midfielder Tate Jozokos knew that they needed to come out strong on Tuesday against fellow top ISL opponent, Noble and Greenough.
“We were down coming off that big loss but with the one practice he had in between we knew that it was going to make us better in the long run,” Jozokos said after the game.
In a defensively charged game, it was Governor’s Academy (12-1, 11-1 in ISL) who would come out on top as they held Nobles (11-4, 9-3 in ISL) to a season-low four goals to earn a 6-4 victory and remain tied at the top of the ISL with Belmont Hill.
“This was a big game and an important game for both teams,” Gov’s head coach Peter Bidstrup said. “We knew we were facing an excellent team today.”
Nobles would jump out to an early 1-0 lead as star middie Morgan Cheek scored in transition at the 7:29 mark in the first quarter.
Gov’s would net two goals in the final three minutes of the first quarter on scores from Jozokos and Teddy Bettencourt to take a 2-1 lead into the second quarter.
With both teams struggling to execute possessions early it was the work of both team’s defenses that kept each opposing offense at bay.
“We defended very well but they also defended very well,” Bidstrup said. “Toward the end of the season these games can get a little defensive between these good teams.”
Gov’s middie Drew Pirie would give the home team some minor breathing room as he scored with 7:10 remaining in the second quarter on a dodge from the top. He would also add another two minutes later on a man-up strike assisted from attack Larsen Bidstrup.
Nobles middie P.J. Bell would score a crucial goal on a beautiful dodge, with 24 seconds remaining in the half, to cut the Gov’s lead to 4-2 and give Nobles some much needed momentum headed into the half.
The third quarter would begin with a burst of rare offense as Gov’s would get goals from middie Jesse Gwozdz and attack Ben Stafford and Nobles would get one back on a strike from middie Parker McKee.
Gov’s goalie Eddie Gilman would do his best work in net in the second half and neither team would score in the final 15 minutes of the game as Gov’s would hold on for the narrow win.
Despite the loss the Nobles defense, led by sophomore goalie Teddy Strzetelski (14 saves), stood tall all evening. Strzetelski made numerous big saves to help keep Nobles in the game throughout.
Gov’s has three ISL games remaining on their schedule. They will take on Thayer, Brooks and Middlesex to conclude the season. Despite defeating Belmont Hill, 12-7, earlier in the season, Gov’s shares the top spot with BH as both squads head into the final stretch run of their schedules.
D-Middie Dominance: Gov’s controlled the possession edge in the game, winning 7-of-8 draws in the first half and 11-of-14 in the game.
Gov’s long-stick middies Andy “Bug” Carper and Eli Morrissey were instrumental in both the midfield defense and the faceoff edge.
“We definitely focused on our defense today,” Jozokos said. “On the faceoffs, we had our double poles going and wanted to put pressure on whoever was taking the faceoff for them. We were strong with the checks today.”
Jozokos, Bettancourt, Gwozdz and the rest of the Gov’s middies also did a great job of playing two-way midfield as they helped neutralize one of New England’s top midfield units of juniors Cheek (1 Goal, 1 Assist), Bell (1G, 1A), and McKee (1G) throughout the game.
“We are really athletic in the midfield,” Bidstrup said. “We are a group of guys who can play hard, tough defense and we did that today against a team that has a group of very good dodgers.”