Racich attacks the cage, and Zanelli protects it to lead No. 3 Seton Hall by No. 6 Westfield

Racich attacks the cage, and Zanelli protects it to lead No. 3 Seton Hall by No. 6 Westfield ...

The start date for the Top 20 match between No. 3 Seton Hall Prep and No. 6 Westfield was rescheduled three and a half hours Thursday in order to avoid a predicted storm in the area.

The change was not successful.

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4/14 - 1:00 PM Boys LacrosseFinal
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4/14 - 1:00 PM Boys LacrosseFinal
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During the game in Westfield, there was no precipitation, thus that part of the switch worked perfectly.

Instead of rain, Seton Hall Prep provided a whole of Racich, as in senior attackman Max Racich.

Westfield's shooters were stymied at the other end of the field with 11 saves to lead the Pirates to a 13-5 victory in an NJILL-Fitch/Pitt Division match at Gary Kehler Stadium.

Racich was out of the lineup with his six goals on seven shots, while JP Meyo and Billy Black each scored two goals, and Matthew Wrede and Quinn Spillett both contributed one goal and three assists against Westfield's zone.

The Prep's offense was dropped against Summit's zone, causing a 8-3 loss.

After we faced Summit, we practised on the zone. It was a next-man-up attitude, Racich said. Pepe went down with an injury, and I had to stand up and assist the team.

Racich, a Stevenson commit, stepped up as he never had before. With 6:05 remaining to play in the first half, he had already matched his season performance with four goals to lead Seton Hall (4-1) to a 6-1 lead. He then opened an 11-4 lead by converting a pass from Wrede 1:19 into the fourth quarter, and made it 12-5 off a pass by Ryan Kim with 2:53 remaining.

We have depth, and I believe thats because we go so hard in practice. Zanelli said. It really helps if someone goes down because we are able to maintain our momentum going.

We saw that with Racich today, he said. When one of our attackers went down, he was able to step up and achieve six goals.

Cody Lam, a youngster, scored three goals in the second quarter, but Tim Murray and Ryan Waldman scored one goal each, and senior James Haley led Westfield (4-1), who had won four consecutive games since an 11-10 triple-overtime loss to Summit on opening day. Quinn Wojcik, a junior, made 12 saves for the Blue Devils.

Westfield shooters were either driven off their angles by hard-working Seton Hall defensemen Shawn Lyght, Will Rose, Liam Oakes, and Ethan Ackerman, other than Lam during his hot spell in the second quarter. Zanelli, who plays alongside Lam, was also turned away completely.

In the first quarter, Zanelli scored three powerful saves to help the Pirates improve their lead by Meyo, Racich, and Wrede. Later in the game, two of Zanelli's saves led directly to transition goals.

We practiced quick breaks for I think 30 minutes yesterday; that was all we did, Racich said. When JAZ saves those shots, we get additional opportunities. We just need to be sure we hammer them in.

Seton Hall was certain that he would have used some of this transition and those nice, clean finishes in the shady loss to Summit. At least, though, the experience brought back some lessons for the Pirates.

We really honed in on how to get involved, making them play us, getting the slide, and keeping the ball moving. Today, we did it fantastic, Racich said.

Westfield made some excellent backside cuts that set up scoring opportunities either right at the weakside pipe or directly in front of the goal in the middle of the zone. These cuts are only as effective as the ballhandler who is actively looking for and rewarding them. The Pirates scored assists on 11 of their 13 goals.

All these guys have heads up, and I had my head up, Racich said. When I have an open shot, Wrede or Spillett or JP, or any of those other people, theyre the ones who make it happen because they draw the slide.

Seton Hall Prep's defense provided an amazing job of communicating when and when not to slide or when and when not to deploy Zanelli saves or ground balls off turnovers. Shortstick middies Brody Davis and Ryan Kim each performed an exceptional job of marking his man and trucking the ball across the midfield along with the versatile Lyght who led the defense and took ten faceoffs.

"With a few clean saves, it's easy to get it up and out, but that's only if the D-middies get up and out for you," ZanellWi said. "I couldn't have received any clears from those saves if I had not had the teammates to do it for me."

Despite missing two senior starters - Bucknell-bound David Whelan and Colgate-bound Lukas DiGiovanni - for the first five games, Seton Hall has been able to perform strong defense on a regular basis.

I think one of the reasons why the defense is still so strong is that we compete against one of the state's best offenses every day, Zanelli said. That gives us a lot of experience every day.

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