MADISON — One of the keys to winning high school lacrosse is winning the faceoffs.
That was the difference Wednesday night as Xavier dominated the faceoffs and knocked off Hand, 10-5, at the Surf Club Wednesday night in Southern Connecticut Conference boys’ lacrosse contest.
“I’m not a big fan of playing here,” Xavier coach Scott Basile said. “Hand is always tough to beat here.”
Xavier won 13 of the 19 faceoffs to dominate that part of the scoresheet.
“Cam (Bartolomeo) was lights out at the faceoff,” Basile added. “We knew we had the advantage there. They threw multiple guys at him and he adjusted to whatever they did.”
Hand played without its normal faceoff man, Luke Watkins, who was injured. The Tigers used several faceoff players to try and turn the tide.
“We didn’t get possessions on faceoffs,” Hand coach John Orlando said. “We made some mistakes they capitalized on early and we were rushing our offense.”
Xavier also played great defense all night.
“We came in threw a little zone and a lot of man to man,” Basile said. “We switched it up a lot to confuse them.”
Xavier (5-1) raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first 9:32 of the first quarter on goals by Frank Romeo, Brendan Buckley and Erik Fellenstein.
Hand (5-2) finally got on the board with 1:23 remaining in the first when Tripp Bordiere blasted a shot into the top left corner of the net past Xavier goalie Grant Barber.
But the visiting Falcons went on another run to start the second quarter, scoring the first three goals as the Tigers defense struggled to keep them from getting close shots at Hand goalie Griffin Fitzmaurice.
Xavier’s Jonathan Ford and Chris Paradis scored to make it 5-1, before Frank Romeo added an acrobatic goal halfway through the second quarter when he was able to get the ball from Fitzmaurice next to the goalpost and blasted a shot into the top right of the net to make it 6-1.
Hand closed it to 6-2 with 2:04 left before halftime when Jack Flanagan used his body to back a Xavier defender up and he ball into the top left of the net.
Fellenstein closed out the first half with a goal for Xavier from a tough angle with just 9.5 seconds remaining before intermission.
Despite having a defender drapped on him, Hand’s Liam Regan scored in the first three minutes of the second half to close it to 7-3.
However, the Falcons went on a 3-0 spurt into the fourth quarter with two goals by Ford and another by Romeo to make it 10-3 with 7:28 to play.
Hand cut the gap to just 10-5 with 5:11 to play on goals by Bordiere and Flanagan. Xavier won the ensuing faceoff and was able to take a lot of time off the clock, making it hard for Hand to come back.
“We have to learn from the game and continue to work hard,” Orlando said.