Riverdale isn’t usually known as a high-scoring lacrosse machine. The Falcons have tried to generate more offense this season so their solid defense doesn’t have to feel so much pressure to hold on to a narrow advantage.
On Saturday, Riverdale had to respond quickly after host Poly Prep scored the game’s first goal only 2:09 into the first quarter. But midfielder Davis Goldstein knew his team wouldn’t succumb to yet another slow start, which has haunted them at times in the Ivy League this season.
“A lot of games early in the season we come out slow and flat, we get a goal, they have two and we always have to work behind,” Goldstein said. “We just want to keep being strong and get the momentum our way.”
Riverdale answered with three straight goals in the second quarter, which gave the defense the opportunity to play a huge role in holding off a late Blue Devils rally to win 6-5 in Bay Ridge.
Riverdale coach T.J. Barnett was glad to see Goldstein and junior midfielder Dan Maffezzoli each score two goals against Poly Prep. Barnett says it will make a difference If those two players can help alleviate the production load from top scorers Tyler Dean-Krantz and Jake Margolis, who each scored a goal on Saturday, as the season progresses.
“It’s a lot better,” Barnett said. “It’s not like we are not a high-scoring prolific team, so to get a goal come out and play well and getting chances is huge for us,” Barnett said. “We know we’re going to be in nail-biters and rely on the defense to hold small leads. We’re getting opportunities and chances.”
Poly Prep (5-5), ranked No 6 in New York City by MSG Varsity, went up 1-0 in the first quarter on a 23-yard shot from midfielder Anthony Reyes. The second quarter, though, was all Riverdale after Goldstein tied the game 1-all with 7:51 left.
Maffezzoli, a strong and muscular midfielder, hasn’t scored many goals, but he is trying to change that as the second half of the regular season begins.
The Blue Devils defense gave the lefty-shooting junior plenty of room to strike late in the second quarter from a wide angle just outside the red circle. Maffezzoli scored back-to-back goals just 37 seconds apart, the second coming with 57.2 left in the second to give Riverdale a 3-1 lead.
“I’m a lefty, they were giving me that whole side in the first half, so I just took it and went with it because it doesn’t happen very often,” Maffezzoli said. “They were pushing me to left. I also want to make a name for myself and once they were pulling up on me, it kept working.”
No. 4 Riverdale (6-3) was up 5-2 when Poly Prep started to find its rhythm on both ends at the start of the fourth quarter. Blue Devils attacker Max Goupit received a pass from Kyle Vogel and delivered a point blank shot into the net with 11:34 remaining. Goupit then found a cutting Vogel, who one-timed a shot past Falcons goalkeeper Asher Talerman cut the lead to 5-4 just 39 seconds later.
Riverdale responded with 2:53 remaining on a Krantz goal to make it 6-4. Hugo Francis, the influential Blue Devils midfielder who was held in check for most of the game by the Riverdale defense, shook off a defender to score at the 1:38 mark.
Poly Prep coach Brooks Sweet thought his team would finish off their comeback, but Talerman made the key save of the game. The senior goalie kicked away a wide-open shot from Goupit, who delivered his potential game-tying attempt from the top of the circle, with 12 seconds remaining to seal the win.
The defending NYSAISAA champions have struggled to find a winning consistency this season. Sweet says his team has to work hard to rediscover their form, along with eliminating the crucial mistakes.
“We had our opportunities and we just didn’t capitalize,” Sweet said. “That goalie made some great saves. In a game like that, it’s kind of the difference.”