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Offense in gear for Saint Mark’s boys lacrosse in win over Mount Pleasant: Photo gallery

Dan Mitchell of Saint Mark's fires a shot at the Mount Pleasant goal. Dialog photo/Mike Lang

PENNY HILL — Saint Mark’s controlled the faceoffs and possession early, building a seven-goal halftime advantage on the way to a 20-7 boys lacrosse victory at Mount Pleasant on March 31. Crawford Abbott paced the Spartans with 6 goals as the team improved to 3-0 on the season.

Matt Hanich started the day with a faceoff win for Saint Mark’s, and the Spartans would hold the ball for about a minute before missing on their first shot. They retained possession, and Dan Mitchell beat Green Knights goalkeeper Daniel Bajwa up top with 10:26 remaining to get the scoring started.

Over the next three minutes, the Spartans would add another three goals. Hanich bounced one in after taking a pass from behind the net, and after a shot hit the crossbar, Alex Salerni scored on a cutter. The Spartans won the faceoff, and just 20 seconds after Salerni’s tally, Salerni scored again.

Mount got on the board with 7:07 to go in the first on a nice play by Reed Pearson. The senior picked up a ground ball deep in the Spartans’ offensive end and ran it three-quarters the length of the field, then beat Spartans goalkeeper Logan Gibbons with a shot inside the left post.

But Saint Mark’s got hot late, adding four more goals in the final 3:32 of the first, with three of those coming in the last 1:56. It was 8-1 after one.

The Green Knights came out in the second with a bit of momentum. They scored twice in the first four minutes, and Bajwa made two of several impressive saves to keep the Spartans’ lead at five. That lasted until the middle stages of the stanza, as Mitchell scored twice in a 27-second span and three times in a minute and 35 seconds. The third goal was a thing of beauty. Mitchell evaded two defenders as he flew down the right sideline and passed to an open Salerni, who then found Abbott with a crossing pass right in the crease. The Spartans took an 11-4 lead into the break after Pearson twisted and sent a shot past Gibbons with 1:01 to go.

Each team scored three times in the third, with Pearson again tallying the final goal of a quarter, this time with 1:14 remaining. But the fourth was all Spartans. Three of their final six goals came in a 60-second span, two from Cody Rager sandwiched around one by Reece Vanderslice out of a scrum in front of Bajwa. Gibbons played a big role in Rager’s second goal of that flurry. He made a big save on one end, ran to midfield before passing to Salerni, who collected another assist with the accurate crossing pass.

Unofficially for the Spartans, Salerni had four. Three players — Mitchell, Vanderslice and Rager — all recorded hat tricks. Saint Mark’s next plays on Wednesday against Red Lion, the first of three home games next week. Game time is 3:45 p.m.

Mount fell to 1-4 on the season. The Green Knights travel to Hodgson on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

All photos by Mike Lang.