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SOMERS, N.Y. — Kevin Cousin's football season ended on a sour note back in November. The Somers quarterback suffered a broken collarbone during a bitter playoff loss to John Jay-Cross River.
Cousin, who rehabbed the injury over the ensuing four months, made sure his lacrosse season started on a different note.
The Siena-bound senior attackman was Superman-like in Friday's opener, notching five goals and three assists to lift the Tuskers (1-0) to a convincing 14-6 win over visiting Iona Prep (0-1).
“I feel stronger and better than I had before,” said Cousin, who enters the 2012 season as one of the premier finishers in Section 1. “My trainer did a great job with me and I did all the things I needed to do to get here.”
Overall, Somers' offense was machine-like and appeared to be in midseason form. In addition to Cousin, senior attackman Anthony Carpenter put up big numbers with a hat-trick and three assists. Teammates Mike Ashikari, Johnny Cegielski and Alex Corpolongo rounded out the scoring with two goals apiece.
“Somers had a really good offensive day,” Iona Prep coach Rick Trizano said. “They moved the ball well and they are well coached and did everything right.”
It was a rare blowout in what been a hotly contested series between the two teams. In the previous four matchups, the average margin of victory was just 1.25 goals. Iona Prep actually won three of the games, including the last two by a final of 7-6.
Needless to say, there was no nail-biting necessary in the fifth installment of the growing rivalry.
“There were a couple times we took advantage of opportunities we have not done in the past,” Somers coach Lew Janavey said. “(Iona Prep) made mistakes and had unforced turnovers.”
The Tuskers wasted little time getting it started, grabbing a 3-1 first-quarter lead behind goals from Cousin, Corpolongo and Carpenter. They stretched it to 7-3 at the half as Cousin, Cegielski, Carpenter and Ashikari each buried second-quarter goals.
“We knew we were capable of that and the last few years we came out really slow against (Iona Prep),” Cousin said. “But we did a great job this year moving the ball and we were really unselfish.”
Iona Prep — which got a team-high three goals from senior attackman Luke Wooters — showed resolve in the second half. The Gaels outscored Somers 2-1 in the third quarter and trimmed the deficit to 9-6 just 26 seconds into the fourth quarter behind a goal from Wooters. But the Tuskers responded by ripping off five straight goals to seal it. Goalie Chris Cousin made 13 saves to preserve the victory.
“We were clicking in transition and a little on man-up,” Janavey said. “But we didn't click in six-on-six settled situations. It was fundamentally a little sloppy, but first game out it's a win against a quality team so we will take it.”
Somers had scored just 12 goals combined in its previous two games against Iona Prep, so the 14-spot that hung on the scoreboard was pretty impressive.
Of course, it's worth noting the Gaels were without a trio of key defensive players in Tim Hefferon, Phil Logerfo and Vincent Larocca due to illness and injury. Hefferon's a three-year starter at close defense and Logerfo's a ground ball machine at defensive midfield. Both are captains and were sorely missed. Still, Trizano wasn't in the mood to hear it.
“We don't make excuses and we don't allow others to make excuses for us,” the coach said.
Bucknell-bound attackman Shane Fee (2G, 1A), Michael McHugh (1G), Michael Florio (1A) and Hank Desanti (1A) also chipped in offensively for Iona Prep. Goalie Steven Bonalle made 12 saves. The Gaels will take the field next on April 2 against another Section 1 power in Rye.
“It all begins tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.,” Trizano said, pointing toward the team's next practice session. “I think we just throw out the paper and start a fresh sheet.”
Somers will look to make it two in a row as it travels to Arlington on April 3.
“We need our senior defensemen to play a little better and we need to do a better job facing off,” Janavey said of improvements his team can make. “These are correctable things and hopefully we get better each time we step on the field.”
GAME NOTES: Somers won its season opener for the first time in two years, while Iona Prep suffered its first season-opening loss since 2008 … Dating back to 2007, Iona Prep is 13-8 against Section 1 teams … Iona Prep won 12-of-23 faceoffs … Iona Prep's Luke Wooters also bagged a hat-trick in last year's game against Somers … Somers won the ground ball battle 22-19 … Iona Prep was called for an illegal stick at the start of the third quarter, but Somers came up empty on the ensuing three-minute unreleasable penalty.
Iona Prep 1 2 2 1 6
Somers 3 5 1 5 14
Email Isaac Cass at Icass@cablevision.com | Follow him on Twitter @MSGV_Icass