GREENWICH — The visibility wasn’t perfect for Wednesday’s lacrosse showdown between Brunswick School and The Hill Academy, but it was clear to see who the better team was on this night at foggy Cosby Field.
The Bruins topped yet another foe in convincing fashion, this time a team that was ranked second in a recent national poll.
Senior attack Xander Dickson scored a game-high seven goals, senior Jordan Ginder won 23 of 26 faceoffs and senior goalie Patrick Burkinshaw made 12 saves for Brunswick in its impressive 14-8 win over The Hill Academy (Ontario, Canada) before a large, enthusiastic crowd.
Brunswick entered the highly-anticipated matchup ranked No. 3 in the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse National Poll, while Hill was ranked second. Immediately after the game, the Bruins’ student section stormed the field to celebrate with the victors.
“We have been waiting for this game since we had it on our schedule last year, so we knew it was coming, especially being neck-and-neck in the rankings,” Dickson said. “Everything we’ve done up until this point, whether it’s practices or games has led to this game. We came out strong today, everyone clicked and it showed on the field. This is the biggest win in Brunswick history.”
Behind two goals apiece from Dickson and junior attackman Christian Ronda, the Bruins went into halftime with an 8-4 lead.
“From Ginder on faceoffs, to Burkinshaw making some amazing saves to keep us going, to Dickson having his best game of the season — it was a really well-fought game,” Bruins coach David Bruce said. “Hill was tough on ground balls and their defensive pressure was tough, but we handled the ball really well.”
Ronda registered two goals and two assists, junior midfielder Cooper Moore tallied twice and junior midfielder Edward Glassmeyer added one goal and one assist for the 10-0 Bruins. Burkinshaw made eight saves in the first half, four in each quarter.
“Playing at a packed Cosby Field in an electric atmosphere with half our student body there was great,” Burkinshaw said. “We kept our composure and kept our cool throughout the game.”
Trailing 8-4 to start the third quarter, Hill scored two straight goals to cut the Bruins’ lead in half. Issac Gottheil converted a shot from close in at the 11:02 mark of the third quarter, then Owen Hill shot low and scored, making it 8-6 with 8:29 remaining in the quarter.
But the Bruins responded to their toughest challenge of the season to date in emphatic fashion. Dodging from behind the goal, Dickson spun away from a pair of defenders and snapped a shot past goalie Brett Dobson, putting the home team on top, 9-6, with 7:16 to go in the third quarter.
The elusive Moore gave Brunswick a 10-6 advantage tallying in transition off a shot from more than 20 yards out with 5:33 left in the third quarter. Once again, the Bruins held a significant possession edge, thanks to Ginder’s outstanding play at the faceoff-x.
“Our best competition I think is in practice, so we make everyone better in practice,” the Duke University-bound Ginder said. “I do my faceoffs and everyone else with great coaching from all the coaches, plays hard and does what they have to do each game.”
As has been the case all season, Brunswick had the advantage in the fourth quarter. Dickson scored off a counter attack off a long pass from senior midfielder Jack Montinaro, giving the Bruins an 11-6 advantage early in the fourth quarter. Glassmeyer helped set up the goal by causing a turnover. Senior midfielder Jack Ocken added a fourth-quarter tally and Dickson netted his seventh goal.
“It starts with Ginder winning all of those faceoffs,” Dickson said of the Bruins’ offensive efficiency. “When you get that many scoring opportunities it makes it easier to get the offense going.”
Brunswick continued its streak of holding opponents to less than 10 goals. An opponent has yet to reach double digits in scoring against the Bruins. Senior defender Wilson Stephenson gathered four ground balls, while seniors Matt Restieri and Chris Burdick also helped pace the squad’s strong defensive play.
“They were tough, they had six threats on offense,” Stephenson said. “As a defense we had to communicate and play as a whole. We definitely did that today. It was important for us to step up to the challenge. That was the theme this week — embrace the challenge.”
Said Hill coach Brodie Merrill: “It was a quick turnaround for us, we played on Sunday in Detroit and traveled all the way down here today. I could sense they were waiting for us and took it to us. It took us a little while to settle in. Once we did we just couldn’t execute in those key, swing moments. At 9-6, they were able to make some key plays and step up.”
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Ginder winning all but two faceoffs against a No. 2-ranked team was as impressive as it gets.
“Jordan winning faceoffs like that allows us to be the only team that goes on runs,” Bruce said. “If we score we get the ball right back. If they score, we gain possession.”
Dickson was a force throughout, tallying whenever Hill seemed close to gaining momentum.
“He played fantastic,” Bruce said of Dickson. “He felt he had a point to prove and he put the offense on his shoulders.”
Burkinshaw stopped shots from all angles.
“Burkinshaw came up with big saves when the game was close, allowing us to keep our momentum,” Bruce said.