A goalkeeper made of part brick wall and part armored tank.
An active defense that blocks one shot for every two it allows. Two face-off specialists of equal ability and a lethal offense whose only fault might be that it sometimes makes scoring look too easy.
Weaknesses? The Joel Barlow boys lacrosse team really doesn’t have one.
That was apparent for everyone in attendance at Weston High School Tuesday night as the red-hot Falcons jumped out to a 4-0 first-quarter lead and rolled to an 11-1 victory over the Trojans in a highly-anticipated matchup of perennial South-West Conference powerhouses.
The fact that Barlow was able to turn a rivalry game into a blowout speaks volumes about how high the Falcons are standing above the rest of the SWC this season.
Barlow is now 8-1 overall with its only loss coming Saturday against Wantagh of Long Island. The Falcons are still undefeated against state competition and 6-0 in the SWC.
“This is the best team I’ve ever coached at Barlow so we’ll find out how good we are,” head coach John Distler said. “We have a lot of seniors. We had a good team last year and these guys have all matured a year. And we have a lot of depth. I’ve never had this much depth since I’ve been at Barlow.”
Seven different players scored goals for Barlow, which finished with a 36-28 advantage in shots and a 31-24 edge in ground balls.
Nolan Stauffer led the way with three goals and two assists.Jesse Beatty had two goals and one assist, standout midfielder Mike Mattson recorded two goals and Wyatt Tompkins collected a goal and two assists.
Thomas Samaritino and Liam Rooney also scored goals for the Falcons while Mattson and Donnie Lee combined to win nine of 14 faceoffs.
Barlow looked particularly strong on defense with junior goalie Cooper Brown making 15 saves and coming one shot away from a rare lacrosse shutout. The only goal scored by Weston (7-3 overall, 4-2 SWC) came on a sweep shot by Richie Miller with 8:33 left in the second quarter after a scramble for a loose ball in front of the crease.
“I thought our defense did an awesome job tonight,” Distler said. “But Cooper Brown did a fantastic job.”
Weston had a chance to make it a game early on, out-shooting Barlow 11-7 in the first quarter. But Brown made five saves in the opening frame, including a couple of point-blank stops against attackman Lyle Miller, to keep the Falcons in the lead.
“We had a game plan coming in to be patient and take good shots, but give credit to their goalie. I think he had 17 or 18 saves, and some of them were pretty good,” Weston head coach John Mathews said. “The ball definitely rolled their way tonight. Give them credit, but I hope we see them again in the SWC’s or states.”
Barlow’s defense, led by Nick Taylor, Alex Gallaer and Jackson Sennett, made life tough on Miller and fellow Weston attackman Sean Fumai, blocking at least five shots in the opening quarter and never letting the Trojans get into an offensive rythym.
Barlow was missing standout defender Colin Curry (knee), but freshman Jack Healy stepped in and the Falcons didn’t miss a beat.
“We came in here fired up right from the start,” Brown said. “We knew if we did what we’ve been coached to do that we would take care of business, and that’s what we did.”
Weston was playing without starting midfielder Matt Brooks, out due to an illness. That still might not have made a difference as Barlow took advantage of six Weston penalties, scoring three man-advantage goals.
Barlow was flagged for 3:30 in penalties, but Weston failed to convert.
Barlow led 5-1 at halftime and outscored Weston 6-0 in the second half.
“We’re not deep to begin with so I would have liked to have had everyone there, especially a senior,” Mathews said. “But even with Brooks, I’m not sure it was going to make a difference. They were better than us tonight.”
So just how good is this Barlow team?
“I think this team can go all the way,” Brown said. “We lost one game. That was a tough one, but from this point on we have the desire to not lose again.”