Monroe Township High School is the undisputed king of Middleses County boys’ lacrosse.
On May 10 at East Brunswick High School, Monroe beat Saint Joseph Regional High School, 9-6, in the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament championship game.
Monroe clinched its second straight GMC boys’ lacrosse tournament title with the victory.
The Falcons also earned their 22nd consecutive GMC triumph.
“The kids are buying into what the coaches are saying. They are asking, ‘What’s the game plan?'” said Monroe coach Joe Yannone. “They stay within the system and get results.”
At Jay Doyle Field in East Brunswick on May 10, the Falcons had a clear plan: keep the ball. They knew that the Saint Joseph Regional players stayed in a zone on defense. They also knew that a zone would give them time to pass the ball around and look for the perfect shot.
So that’s exactly what they did.
After the Metuchen school took an early 3-2 lead, Monroe gained control of the ball, started making extra passes and went on a 3-0 run to take the lead for good.
“It’s like in basketball when you make the next pass instead of forcing the ball,” Yannone said. “Find the wide open guy for a layup.”
In the GMC title game, sophomore attack man Matt Dorrian was usually that wide open guy. Dorrian scored four goals against Saint Joseph Regional, twice as many as anyone else in the game.
The Falcons have been feeding Dorrian all year. The sophomore is up to 28 goals in 2019. He is also not afraid to play that finishing role despite his underclassman status.
Yannone even compared him to former New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony. That may not sound great at the moment, as Anthony is out of the NBA at just 34 years of age. But throughout the 2000s and 2010s, Anthony was one of the best scorers in the league, averaging 24 points per game.
“Dorrian has a very hard shot and quick hands, and he likes to take shots,” Yannone said. “He’s a Carmelo Anthony type.”
“Matt can also go left and right,” the coach added. “Better players can do both.”
But Dorrian was just one cog in a multi faceted attack versus Saint Joseph Regional. Five other Falcons players scored in the game. Two others recorded an assist.
Senior Mike Cavallo registered a goal and three assists. Sophomore Chris Pucciarelli finished with the same stat line.
“We moved the ball well and gave a lot of different guys opportunities,” Yannone said.
Monroe never would have had a chance to take control of the game, though, if it wasn’t for its dynamic junior goaltender, Josh Estavillo. The goalie made 11 saves in the contest and kept Monroe close early, during the Metuchen school’s onslaught.
“They could have had two more. Josh made a couple big saves,” Yannone said. “When he’s comfortable, we’re very hard to beat.”
Between Estavillo and the attackers, Monroe will be tough to beat in the NJSIAA South Jersey, Group 4 sectional tournament.
The fourth-seeded Falcons are shooting for the trophy that eluded them a year ago, when they lost to Lenape High School, 10-1, in the state sectional semifinals.
“A state sectional title is the goal of the program,” Yannone said. “Now that our heads are cleared from the GMC, we’re up for it.”