By ADAM SHINDER
Recorder Sports Staff
The Amsterdam Rams had one furious rally in them during Tuesday's Big 10 lacrosse contest against La Salle Institute at Lynch Literacy Academy. They didn't quite have the time for a second.
After spotting the Cadets a four-goal lead in the second quarter, the Rams' potent transition offense sparked a comeback to tie the game just 42 seconds into the third quarter, but LSI pushed back with four straight goals to end the period. Amsterdam could only manage to halve the deficit down the stretch as the Cadets held on for a 9-7 victory to hand Amsterdam its first loss of the season.
"We live and die by our transition, currently," said Amsterdam coach Paul Furman. "If somebody can cut us off from that, they can kind of hold us off."
When the Rams (5-1, 0-1) got their fast-break game going, LSI had no way to answer. Down 4-0 late in the first half, Amsterdam finally got on the board when Hector Diaz ripped a left-handed shot past LSI goalie Will McMahon.
That set off a string of three goals in just 23 seconds, as Dan Banewicz won a pair of face-offs that the Rams converted into goals from Jon Magaletti and Anthony Yevoli.
"Whenever you get down four or five goals, that's nothing in the game of lacrosse," Furman said. "That can disappear in 30, 40 seconds."
Though the Cadets answered on Dan Marcell's bounce shot with 19 seconds left in the half, Diaz said the Rams went to halftime feeling like they'd finally hit their stride.
"I feel like the whole field just tipped over on one side," Diaz said. "I knew, once we scored one on that goalie, he was gonna snap. I definitely had a lot of confidence in my team."
That carried over into the second half, when the Rams quickly erased the two-goal deficit as Diaz and Magaletti each scored on LSI substitute goalie Zach Wojtusik before the third quarter was a minute old.
But, Cadets attackman Jake Richards gave his team the lead back less than a minute later, and as Wojtusik settled down in the cage for LSI, the Cadets ripped three more shots past Amsterdam goalie Dillon Smith -- two from Marcelle, one from Alex Fron -- to lead 9-5 through three quarters.
"They grinded it out and didn't fold under pressure," Cadets coach Joe Bennett said of his team. "I've got to give a lot of credit to Amsterdam, to the Amsterdam coaches and the kids. You can see they've improved a lot. They were 5-0 for a reason."
Amsterdam pulled a goal back when Rob Santiago scored midway through the fourth quarter, and while the Rams were able to cut the LSI lead to 9-7 when Yevoli blasted home a shot from the left wing with 1:17 to play, the Cadets were able to kill off the rest of the game without the Rams threatening for another goal.
Though the Rams' undefeated record went by the wayside Tuesday, Furman was able to take some positives from a tight game against a team that has traditionally dominated its rivalry with Amsterdam.
"Granted, that was a two-goal loss, but there were good things," Furman said. "That's a good program over there (at La Salle), and they competed with them. They're competing for a championship and so are we."
Diaz was thankful that the Rams have a chance to atone for Tuesday's loss with a busy week on the field. The team hits the road Thursday against Troy, then again Saturday against Johnstown.
"I think today, we learned a lot as one unit. I think we grew as a family," he said. "These next two games, they're gonna be fun. We put up this many goals against La Salle, we held them to under 10 goals, you can't really do any better than that. I'm excited."