WARWICK, N.Y. – High school rivalries are part of the fabric of athletics. Some rivalries are built on proximity and some are built on mutual talent and respect for each others. With Warwick Valley and Monroe-Woodbury, it’s a little of both and in most cases, Monroe-Woodbury controls the rivalry.
That’s not the case in boys lacrosse.
Warwick exploded for seven goals in the second quarter including three by Brian Connolly to pull away from the Crusaders, 13-5. It was the fifth straight victory over Monroe-Woodbury for the Wildcats and largest margin of victory in that time.
“We’ve always been the little brother to Monroe in most sports,” Warwick attackman Brian Connolly said. “They have bigger kids and a bigger school. It’s nice to build to the point where we have the upper hand against them.”
Monroe-Woodbury started the game as most big brothers do with a 2-1 lead early in the second quarter, but the flood gates opened in the middle of the period led by Connolly’s hat trick. He finished with four goals and four assists.
“We were a little tight to start the game, and they had a packed in zone defense,” Connolly said. “Once we settled down, we found spaces and finished our shots.”
Warwick’s defense was excellent on the ride and kept Monroe-Woodbury’s offense out of the attacking third for the majority of the game. The long poles even got in on the scoring action behind Brandon Donnellan’s goal and two assists. He scooped up a ground ball in the decisive second period and found Connolly wide open in front of the net for an easy goal that was an early backbreaker.
“We have a lot of experience back from last year and we know what it takes to get to that next level now,” Connolly said. “We know how to play together, we just need to continue to keep our heads together and hopefully we’ll come out on top.”
The Wildcats won the Section 9 Class A title in 2009 and 2010, but fell to Pine Bush a season ago. Minisink Valley beat Warwick in overtime earlier this season and could be the Wildcats’ biggest challenge.
“We didn’t play a bad game against Minisink the first time, we just didn’t finish very well,” Connolly said. “If we play to our advantages, hopefully we can come out on top, but we have a long way to go before then.”
Taking care of the big brother was a good first step.