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SECTION IV BOYS LACROSSE: THIRD-QUARTER STRUGGLE COSTLY TO OWEGO (2021-05-07)

BY TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
OWEGO — Owego scored three goals in less than two minutes in the first quarter, but struggled in the third quarter in an 8-5 loss to Elmira Notre Dame here Friday.

The undefeated Crusaders scored six of their goals in a nine-minute span of the period to take control.

"I think the face-off X was kind of the determining factor," Owego coach Andy Race said. "They started winning face-offs and getting possessions, and we had a lot of penalties that kind of got in our heads. We let the momentum get on their side and I think that's really what the problem was."

While the win was Notre Dame's fourth of the season, the Crusader offense didn't even come close to the 18-goals-per-game average it carried into the contest.

"I thought our defense played well as a whole, not just one guy," Race said. "In the beginning of the game, our long sticks were awesome. They were playing really physical. They were putting good hits on guys and not letting them get any easy shots. Our defense was much better than it has been yet in any game this season in the beginning.

Notre Dame would sting the Owego defense quickly to open the second half, scoring just eight seconds in to shift the momentum in its favor.

"Obviously, it wasn't good," Race said. "I don't think that was the biggest problem we had in the game, but we never want to start a half like that. It did set the tone a little bit. They got the momentum and they held it the rest of the half. We never got it back."

The Crusaders added another score at 9:49, tied the game at 7:39 and grabbed a 5-4 edge with 5:33 left in the period.

ND would close out the quarter with goals at 4:57 and 3:02 to build a 7-4 advantage.

The Indians put one more ball in the net with 6:37 left in the final period on a Justin Brown pass to Nick Maslin.

Notre Dame iced the victory at 4:57 when Owen Spring, a junior, notched his 116th career goal with an unassisted score, It was the fifth goal of the game for the Division I St. Bonaventure University commit.

The Indians' attack was impressive midway through the opening period. Aidan Both broke into the scoring column on a pass from Mason Wills with 6:29 remaining in the opening period, then Wills made it 2-0 just 31 seconds later. Then, with 4:43 on the clock, Alex Brown put away a feed for a 3-0 advantage.

"I loved the way we started out," Race said.

Spring would put the Crusaders on the scoreboard with 44.7 seconds left in the quarter.

Justin Brown scored the only goal of the second quarter to give the Indians a 4-1 halftime lead.

For Owego, Wills and Maslin finished with a goal and two assists apiece, Justin Brown had a goal and an assist, Both and Alex Brown added one goal each, and Parker sage tacked on an assist.

Brandon Worzel made 16 saves in goal for the Indians.

Grant Crossley, a junior who has committed to play for Division I Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, had 13 saves for ND.

"Their goalie is very good and they played a little bit of a complex defense with some zone looks and some man looks that we weren't used to," Race said. "They changed some things up as the game wore on and we didn't adjust with them, so we'll have to go back to the drawing board and work on that."

Owego (1-3) hosts Chenango Valley Monday.

"We've got to work on a lot of things this weekend and get ready for Monday," Race said.

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IN PHOTO 1: Parker Sage (1) and Jace Riegel. ... PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.

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