Travis Hinds scored 3 goals and added 4 assists as Demarest rolled to a 16-2 win over Paramus in the opening round of the Bergen County Tournament.
DEMAREST – In the world of high school lacrosse, no good season goes unpunished. Northern Valley/Demarest had one last year and their reward was a bump up in competition. Like English Premier League soccer, there is a de facto promotion/relegation system in place that sends teams up and down the ladder based on their success. So while Demarest is still competitive and the program is still healthy, those attributes are not necessarily reflected in this season’s win/loss record.
“Playing up against the competition that we are facing this year – Mahwah, Glen Rock, Northern Highlands and others – it just makes our program stronger. It has to because there are no easy games, we have to play at a higher level every time out and it forces us to improve our skill level,” said Demarest head coach Tony Mottola. “It is a challenge that we were looking forward to coming into the season and we are one or two goals away from some pretty big wins, but even though we haven’t been able to pull them off, it is a pretty big step forward for this program to be able to compete with those type of teams.”
The best way for Demarest to measure just how far it has come might have been a game like Thursday’s in the opening round of the Bergen County Tournament. As the No. 16 seed hosting No. 17 Paramus, a team that is in the Norsemen’s previous division, Demarest was dominant from start to finish. With Anthony Volpe winning the first 10 draws of the game, the Norseman scored the first 10 goals of the contest and were never pressured in a 16-2 victory that puts them through to the Round of 16 against top-seeded Ramapo.
“This one felt good. We have been struggling this season, but we came out hot in this game and carried it all the way through,” said Demarest senior Cole Hinds. “We know Ramapo is good and that is going to be a tough game on Saturday, but we wanted to give ourselves the opportunity to play them and see what we can do.”
What Demarest could do against Paramus was pretty much anything it wanted. Greg Derfus opened the scoring two minutes into the game and the Norsemen never looked back. They led 4-0 after the first quarter, 10-0 with four minutes to go in the first half and by 11-1 at the intermission.
Sean Jansson had 3 goals and 3 assists for Demarest, which picked up its third win of the season.
Adam Sollum scored the goal that broke the shutout with 51 seconds left in the first half and TJ Sharples had the other goal for the Spartans with three minutes left in the third quarter, but Sam Elias, a senior defender carrying a long stick, scored his first career varsity goal to make the score 14-2 with 1:28 left in the third quarter. That goal meant the rest of the game would be played with a running clock.
“There are a lot of things that we have learned this season that helped us today. Playing against the schedule that we are now, the speed of the game is completely different and, not only that, the schemes of the offenses and defenses that we face are totally different,” said Elias. “It has made us all better players and we could tell how far we have come in a game like this one.”
Derfus scored early in the fourth quarter as he rolled one in from in close and Paul Sender capped the scoring when he snuck in from behind the net with 7:08 remaining in the game. Demarest spent the final minutes of the game moving the ball around in the offensive zone without taking a shot.
Travis Hinds and Sean Jansson each finished with three goals and three assists for Demarest (3-8), while Sender also scored three times and assisted on another goal. Derfus and Dillon Fisher each added two goals and one assist and Cole Hinds added a goal and one helper.
Demarest’s schedule was front-loaded a little bit and it will have a chance to improve its state playoff seeding down the stretch, but first there is that date with Ramapo in the next round of the BCT.
“We look at that Ramapo game as another opportunity for us to get better as a team and as a program. Whatever happens there on Saturday, I know we are going to leave there a better team than we will be walking in,” said Mottola. “We are still trying to build this thing up. We are still trying to get to an elite level and you have to play elite teams if you really want to get there. They are a great team, but at least we have given ourselves the chance to measure where we are.”