NEW ROCHELLE - The lessons were plentiful. The experience was invaluable.
Iona Prep got up close and personal with nationally-ranked St. Anthony's on Saturday and came away from a 14-8 loss with increased levels of admiration and aspiration. Except for a five-minute stretch to open the second half, the Gaels hung in.
And each mistake is correctable.
"It’s a more important game for us than say a team like St. Anthony’s," Iona Prep coach Rick Trizano said. "Those guys play together on club teams all year long. We have club team players who go all year long, too, but not as many as they have. We’ve got to come together a little more to compete. For us it’s a great opportunity, a great learning experience, and I think this bodes well for us."
Photo by Frank Becerra the Journal News
It was a 5-3 deficit at the half.
"We really showed up," Gaels long pole Louis Varsames said. "That is one of the best teams in the country and for us to play this hard and play this well, I think it shows we have a promising future. It's a really important experience for all of us. ... Almost every single player on that team is going to play DI in college. It’s a bunch of hard-working kids, a really amazing team. We have to play a perfect game to beat a team like that so I’m happy about the way that we played.
"It’s a good loss to me."
The Friars are ranked ninth in this week's Inside Lacrosse Top 25 and showed absolute dominance in the opening minutes of the second half. Mike Leo, a Syracuse commit, capped a five-goal outburst with a behind-the-back goal that extended the lead to 10-3.
"I like the no-quit effort we gave, for sure," Trizano added. "This is a really great group and they expect to compete."
Photo by Frank Becerra
John Mitchell set up Ben Falch with 3.8 seconds to play in the opening half, bringing Iona Prep within 5-3. The goal instantly changed the mood. St. Anthony's, though, scored five times in three minutes to crush any thoughts of a comeback. Jordan Naso won face off after face off to keep the run going. The run was finally ended when Mikey Rooney legged in for a goal with 6:36 to play in the third quarter.
Player of the game
Leo scored five times, creating a couple of season highlights along the way.
By the numbers
St. Anthony's (2-0): Andrew MacAdorey, a Duke signee who is the top recruit in the Class of 2021, finished with four goals and one assist. ... Jackson Greene and Pat Carragher each scored twice. ... Owen Duffy had a goal and two assists. ... Kevin Barrett made six saves and Will Snyder made three saves.
Iona Prep (1-1): Rooney had four goals. ... Mitchell finished with a goal and two assists. ... Will Minihan and Versames also scored one apiece. Craig Daria made 10 saves.
"We definitely learned we could stay with them," said Rooney, a sophomore midfielder who opened eyes with his performance. "And if we didn’t make the mistakes we did, we could really stay with them. ... The start of the second half was an important stretch. We didn’t come out as strong as we needed to. But after that, we gave them a run. They’re a great team, obviously, so it’s good for us to play against them. I've been fired up about playing them for a good two weeks."