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Batavia/NDB defense struggles in loss

By: Dylan O'Loughlin

Batavia, NY --- The Batavia/NDB Blue Devils boys lacrosse team had their home opener today against a non-division opponent, the Midlakes/Red Jacket Screaming Eagles. Batavia wasn't able to hang with Midlakes/Red Jacket as they fell 20-2.

Both teams standing in the middle before the start of the game. Photo Credits: Dylan O'Loughlin, 89.1 the Point

"The next few days of practice are literally going to be all defensive focused," Batavia/NDB head coach Jim Dillon said. "Working on what are slides and things like that where you fill in those gaps when you know you're getting beat. The guy next to you knows you're getting beat, he can slide in and fill that hole. But also on our mid-side, a lot of people don't know this, but middies are a very, very integral part of defense and our middies are slow to get back. Some of them just want to score a lot and that's not their job. Their job is to play defense and carry the ball and get it up to our attack guys who are scorers."

Midlakes/Red Jacket got it going early. They scored their first goal within the first minute and scored six within the first six minutes. For the Blue Devils, it was the opposite. Batavia/NDB turnovers led to easy scoring chances for the Screaming Eagles. After the first quarter, Midlakes/Red Jacket had already taken control of the game with an 11-0 lead.

"We just got to talk more, simple as that," Batavia/NDB defensive captain Hunter Mileham said. "Just communicate, let everyone know who you got makes the job easier."

After the first, the scoring slowed as Batavia/NDB was able to pick up the intensity on the defensive side. The Blue Devils still gave up five goals in the second quarter, but they caused turnovers that gave them more opportunities to score. Senior attacker Quintin Cummings took advantage of this opportunity, as he scored the first goal of the game for Batavia/NDB midway through the second quarter. Cummings ran down the right sideline, towards the right baseline where he sent a shot into the top left corner past the goalie.

Face-off that started the second half. Photo Credits: Dylan O'Loughlin, 89.1 the Point

"I just thought I had to take it into my own hands," Cummings said. "Take it into my own hands and then try to run it and score it in."

The second half was much more physical and defensive. After the Screaming Eagles obtained a 16-1 lead at halftime, they scored four more goals for the rest of the game. They scored three of those four in the third period.

As the game was coming to a close in the fourth period, with just under two minutes left, Cummings struck again on a nifty goal. Cummings got possession of the ball behind the net, ran through three defenders to get to the front of the net, and dunked it in for his second goal.

"Most of the time when we lose, you're going to get scored a lot on and that happens," Cummings said. "But we just got to keep it pushing, keep up the hard work and then just play through it, the whole way until the final buzzer."

Fourth period action between the two teams. Photo Credits: Dylan O'Loughlin, 89.1 the Point

The Blue Devils consist of eight sophomores and nine juniors while only having four seniors. Growing pains were going to be an inevitable part of the season.

"Our younger guys do spend a lot of time on the sidelines, but at the last part of the game, I got them in so they could get some experience, especially on defense," Dillon said. "Our offensive team, a lot of the players that are younger are offensive players as well and some of them don't have much lacrosse IQ yet. Partly because some of them literally picked up a stick this year, three or four kids picked up a stick for the first time this year. That's a tough thing at a varsity program when you're teaching fundamentals, when you should be teaching plays and positioning."

Midlakes/Red Jacket improves to 2-0 on the season. Batavia/NDB, on the other hand, falls to 0-2 in the young season. They look ahead to next Monday where seeking their first season win, they're on the road against Lewiston-Porter at 6:00 p.m.

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