BRAINTREE, Mass. -- A hot start propelled Archbishop Williams to a 15-7 victory over Catholic Central League rival Arlington Catholic on Tuesday afternoon at Memorial Field.
An experienced Archies squad jumped out to a 9-2 lead early in the second quarter before the Cougars could really settle into the game. Archbishop Williams utilized its team speed and skill as well as terrific play on faceoffs to cruise past a frustrated AC team.
Seniors Colin Higgins and Nick Menzel led the way offensively for the Bishops while Jack Dunford was solid in goal when called upon.
“[Archbishop Williams] came out really strong,” said an impressed Arlington Catholic coach Dan Brothers. “We got in a hole. They’re pretty good and they played really well today.”
Quick Start: Archbishop Williams hopped out to a 4-1 lead midway through the first quarter and then scored four goals in the first couple minutes of the second quarter to hold a commanding 9-2 lead.
Midfielder Luke Bernasconi scored just 1:53 into the game on an unassisted goal. Menzel, James and Steve Righini, and Higgins added goals later in the first stanza to give the Archies a 5-2 lead after the first quarter.
Menzel, Higgins and James Righini each scored less than a minute apart to extend the lead to six goals in the opening two minutes of the second quarter. Menzel added his third of the game shortly there after for a 9-2 Archies’ lead.
“We knew we have a couple big games coming up in a row here,” Archbishop Williams head coach Steve Rotondi said. “In practice we’ve been working on moving the ball in game speed and getting everything going right away. We just want to open up the offense.”
Senior Leadership: Archies is off to a 4-0 start after Tuesday’s victory over AC in large part due to a core leadership group of experienced and chiseled veterans.
Three seniors, Menzel, Higgins and Steve Righini, combined for 10 of the team’s 15 goals and another senior, Dunford, was very solid in goal. In addition to his four goals, Higgins also assisted on four scores. Menzel added three helpers as well.
According to Rotondi, it is the experience of being a four-year varsity player that has helped Menzel become one of the biggest scoring threats in the CCL. More importantly, it has given him the maturity and awareness to know what it takes to win big league games.
“Nick’s been a four-year starter,” Rotondi said. “He’s a senior captain. He’s our leader. He knows what to expect in these games. We’ve been on the losing side of these games in the past, but we’ve also been on the winning side. He really knows what level we need to get the team to. His compete level is just awesome.”
The coaching staff is also pleased with the progression of the team – even this early in the season.
“We’re getting better every day,” explained Rotondi, the first-year head coach. “We have things we have to work on, but we’ve seen a difference every day defensively and offensively. We’re doing a lot of the little things and we’re just gelling as a group.”
No quit in Cougars: Falling behind on the road can be demoralizing for any team, but Arlington Catholic did a good job of competing hard until the final buzzer. Despite the lopsided score, the Cougars showed intensity and passion in the final quarter.
“We asked them not to quit and they didn’t,” said Brothers, whose team was paced offensively by Billy Barrett and Luke Amato.
Brothers said a few in-game adjustments helped his team level the playing field somewhat, but the slow start wasn’t for a lack of preparation.
“We made some adjustments after the first quarter,” Brothers said. “We were ready. We had a great bus ride down here, which we usually don’t have. The kids were loose and relaxed, but [Archbishop Williams] is just pretty good.
“It’s back to the drawing board. We’ll be ready for the next one.”
Notes: Rob Beaton and Justin Mancovsky also scored goals for the Archies…In addition to his two goals and two assists, Bernasconi, a sophomore, led the team with nine ground balls… Up next for the Bishops is a meeting with Cardinal Spellman on Wednesday… The Cougars’ next opponent is also Cardinal Spellman, an away game in Brockton on Saturday.