The entire DePaul Catholic attack registered hat tricks and the Spartans offense really flexed its muscle in a convincing 14-8 win over rival Clifton on Saturday.
Sophomore Riley Clark grabbed the first of his three goals to open the season scoring and by the four minute mark all three attackmen had registered goals for DePaul. It looked like the Spartans might be on pace for a repeat of last year’s Passaic County Tournament final in which they defeated Clifton in a laugher, 15-3.
“We knew after the championship last year that they would have us in their sights all during the offseason so we were expecting them to play hard and I thought they really did despite our fast start,” said Clark of the young but resilient Clifton Mustangs squad.
Clifton trailed from wire to wire but really tested DePaul and certainly sent a message that in 2012, the Mustangs will be a team to be reckoned with. Michael Duesler had a very strong game and showed why he is one of the most versatile players in the state, playing both long and short pole the junior played lock down D and also netted two goals.
Mark Surgent picked up where he left off after a 41-goal season in 2011 sniping a couple of pretty goals and just missing on a few other opportunites for Clifton. If not for the slow start for the Mustangs and a few shots getting friendlier bounces off the iron, the tenor of this game may have been much different. In the end, the potent DePaul attack's ability to finish proved to be difference.
“It definitely builds confidence and gets everyone in a good mood to start the year which is huge,” said senior attackman Mike Mazzanna. “Now, it’s about fixing a couple things we didn’t do well and getting into a rhythm for the season.”
Mazzanna led all scorers with four goals and two assists on the day, a great start to what the 6-foot-2-inch 195-pound senior hopes will be a record-breaking year.
“I have really high goals for this team and for myself,” Mazzanna said. “I’m looking to test some school records this year; I worked really hard this offseason and a game like today is proof that it is paying off.”
It certainly wasn’t textbook, first games usually aren’t, but in the end DePaul held off Clifton to earn a good first win and start the season the way it wanted.
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