West Milford makes history

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West Milford makes history

Joseph Heisler, Features Editor

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West Milford Boys Lacrosse is looking for a fresh start. After last year’s 6-13 season, the team dropped down a division with many key players returning with some impressive freshman joining the mix.
West Milford started off the season off with a bang, winning a Kirst division game against Eastern Christian (17-1). Ray Gorny had four goals and four assists with Casey Fagan adding four goals and three assists and the defensive play led by Joe DeSsano was solid as well.
West Milford went on to lose the next two games, one to Lakeland (10-9) and Tenafly (8-6). Ryan Kirwan had 15 saves against Lakeland, and Ralph Turre had 15 saves against Tenafly.
Following the two losses, West Milford won their next 4 games against Saddle Brook (12-5), Paramus Catholic (16-3), Pompton Lakes (18-4) and West Orange (10-8). Notable performances over that stretch include Dylan Connors six assists against Paramus Catholic and Ray Gorny’s eight goals against Pompton Lakes. The streak came to an end after a tough loss to an excellent Wayne Valley team (11-7).
West Milford started another winning streak with a sizeable victory over conference rival Passaic Valley (17-5) and Dayton (18-5). Fagan led the way with five goals and two assists while Gorny and Aidan Bolger each added four goals and two assists against Passaic Valley. Gorny also had five goals and four assists to eclipse 100 career points against Dayton.
The following three games against Pascack Hills, Hawthorne and Kittatinny provided massive wins for the WM team. Gorny had five goals against Hawthorne while Aidan Bolger had three goals and an assist against Pascack Hills.
In the first round of the PCCA tournament, West Milford played against the five-seed DePaul. Despite putting forth a solid effort, West Milford lost a 7-6 in a heartbreaker in the quarterfinals.
In the following game, West Milford made history. Following a 15-6 win over PCTI, West Milford won the Kirst Division, marking the first time West Milford won a championship of any kind in lacrosse in its eight-year history. Gorny had five goals and an assist with Fagan adding 5 goals. The Highlanders beat Newark East Side to close out conference play with a 15-0 victory. For the last game of the regular season, the highlanders beat Vernon 6-4 thanks to solid goalie play by Ralph Turre.
In the final game of the year, the Highlanders lost to a excellent West Morris team in the first round of the North, Group 2 state tournament. The Highlanders finished tying the program record in wins with 13, a 13-6 record that included a perfect 9-0 in conference play.
Leading the offense this year were Gorny and Fagan. Gorny finished the season with 60 goals and 22 assists, while Fagan also added 50 goals and 21 assists. Also emerging this season was also freshman duo Connors and Bolger, Connors leading the team in assists with 26 while adding 22 goals and Bolger contributed 36 goals and 14 assists. Another contributor to this years offense was Shane Fava with 27 goals and eight assists.
Defending the nets, West Milford used a trio of goalies. This included freshman Ralph Turre with a .670 save percentage, junior John Gaffney with a .553 save percentage and sophomore Ryan Kirwan with a .514 save percentage.
On defense, West Milford only allowed an average of 6.3 goals against per game. The seniors that led the group were Justin Pinedo, Ryan Pomeroy, and Joe DeSanno and juniors Joe Heisler and Brandon Cerone.