BRIDGEWATER — After battling the howling winds for most of the first quarter of Wednesday’s game, The Pingry School boys lacrosse team got its bearing and put the hammer down to continue a midseason surge.
Behind a six-point performance from junior attack Clayton Wright and a hat trick from senior captain Evan Key, the Big Blue dominated Bridgewater-Raritan for an 11-6 victory.
With the wind playing tricks with both team’s passing in the opening minutes, a good number of passes went high or wide of the mark, leaving both squads at a standstill until the 5:07 mark, when Wright hit on his first of two goals.
He said that the weather bothered the Big Blue early on, but once he and his teammates got accustomed to what the wind was going to do, everything took off.
“The wind was brutal in the beginning and it was weird with the passing. I sailed one right over everyone’s heads, but once we got used to it, it didn’t affect us at all,” Wright said.
Wright also scored with 4:33 left in the second quarter, putting Pingry up 3-0. After a Bridgewater-Raritan tally, Wright got the primary assist after Josh Gully won a face-off and got the ball into the box and onto Wright’s stick. Wright dished to classmate Clay McCollum for the goal, which gave the Big Blue their second three-goal lead of the contest.
Bridgewater-Raritan (6-4) got itself back into the game in the final minute of the second quarter, getting goals from Ben Byrne and Ethan Christensen just 18 seconds apart to cut the gap to 5-3. But every time the Panthers attempted a comeback, Pingry (7-2) was there with an answer.
“We felt some pressure when they started to push and close the gap, but we did what we do, and we put the ball in the net when we needed to,” Wright said. “We are super well-rounded this year and we have some real awesome midfielders that play the entire game and they do an awesome job for us to get some goals.”
Key netted two of his three goals in the second half, both times — at 7-3 and 10-6 — establishing a four-goal cushion for the Big Blue.
Gully finished with three goals and McCollum notched two goals and an assist for Pingry, which got three assists from leading-scorer J.C. Sorenson.
“We kept our composure and we didn’t let the wind or anything get to us that much and we got into a rhythm in the second quarter,” Key said. “We just liked our matchups today and to get a win on the road was big for us.”
Pingry has now won its last three games by a combined score of 31-17 after a defeat at the hands of Immaculata on April 12. With freshman goalie David Metzger — who allows just 5.8 goals per contest — between the pipes all season long, the Big Blue defense has allowed just Immaculata to score more than 10 goals against them.
“David has been the anchor of our defense this year,” Key said. “He’s been communicating well and we know that he has our back and to get these quality type wins early in the year is big for him.”
Byrne and Griffin Figel each scored twice for Bridgewater-Raritan. Goalie Luke Konen made eight saves to keep the Panthers in it.