Whether it was catching touchdown passes from Mat Shea during the fall football season or scoring goals for Wallkill’s boys’ lacrosse team, Ty Crowley is a hard guy to cover on the Panthers’ artificial turf field.
So it was again on a dreary Friday afternoon as Crowley scored four goals and added two assists in the Panthers’ 18-11 Section 9 Class C lacrosse victory over Highland.
It wasn’t an easy task for the Panthers, who led only 8-7 at the intermission. But Wallkill scored four straight goals to start the third period to open up a 12-7 advantage and the visiting Huskies (7-6 overall, 3-2 Class C) were forced to play catchup the rest of the way.
Crowley said the Panthers (11-1, 5-0 Class C) are focused on their goal of repeating as Section 9 champions. Wallkill beat Highland 13-5 to win the title a year ago.
“I think we have strengths all around,” Crowley said. “I feel we’re a very put-together team. Our offense is obviously killing it this year and our defense is doing their thing, too.”
Opposing defenses have had a problem clamping down on the Panthers because of their balanced scoring attack. In addition to Crowley’s four goals, Wallkill got four goals from Robert James, while Richard Martinez and John Canavan had three apiece.
Colin McCartney netted the first two goals of the third quarter to get Wallkill going after the Huskies had closed to within 8-7 at the half on two goals by Frankie Guidi, who scored the second one with just 7.0 seconds left in the half.
McCartney’s two goals gave the Panthers a 10-7 lead early in the third quarter. Then Crowley scored an unassisted goal to make it 11-7 with 5:10 left in the third.
James finished off the Wallkill spurt by converting a feed from Martinez from behind the goal to put the Panthers on top 12-7 with 4:40 remaining in the third.
Wallkill coach Alex Danon said his club did a good job of slowing down Highland’s offense in the second half of the key May 6 league contest.
“Highland’s a really good team and they played well in the first half and got a lot of transition off the faceoffs and some clears,” Danon said. “We knew we had to limit their transition, so we just tried to do a better job of that in the second half.”
Danon said the Panthers have so many capable scorers that defenses can’t concentrate on one or two players.
“The best part of our team is how balanced we are,” Danon said. “Both of our goalies are good. Our defense is solid. Our whole offense can score. It’s hard for other teams to cover us because of it.”
Logan Zehr led the Huskies with three goals. Dean Klotz, who recently scored his 100th goal of his varsity career, managed just one goal.
Highland coach Tom Schlappich thought his club played well in the second quarter to climb back to within one goal of Wallkill. But he wasn’t happy with the team’s performance in being outscored 6-1 in the third quarter.
“Too many times we were in the penalty box,” he said.
Schlappich still has confidence in his team, which has already qualified for the upcoming playoffs.
When asked what the ultimate goal for Highland would be, he replied, “Be in the section championship (game).”