Dan Falzone powers Shawnee lacrosse past Haddonfield

Shawnee HS lacrosse goalkeeper Dan Falzone (left) gets a fistpump from temmate Tom Shinske after Shawnee's victory over Haddonfield on March 31, 2018.

Dan Falzone made 12 saves Saturday in Shawnee’s 9-2 victory over Haddonfield in boys’ lacrosse.

He was especially proud of No. 13.

“I always say, ‘The best save I can make is the one I don’t have to,’” Falzone said. “I heard that a long time ago and I always say it. Because it’s true.”

That was Falzone’s way of tipping his hat to the guys in front of him on a clear, brisk morning on the artificial turf at Shawnee’s stadium.

Shawnee (2-0) got a hat trick from senior Bailey Pringle, plus two goals from senior Blake Brinster and two goals and two assists from sophomore Chris Lyons.

But the key to the Renegades’ firm control of the matchup between two of South Jersey’s top teams was the sturdy play of the defense, led by seniors John Dias, Luke Austin and Colin Wood and junior Patrick O’Hanlon.

“We’ve got a lot of good athletes there,” Shawnee coach Tim Gushue said of the team’s defense. “They understand how to play the game.”

Senior Will Batson and junior Aiden Blake scored goals for Haddonfield (1-1).

But the Bulldawgs were unable to take full advantage of the superb work of senior face-off specialist Mitch Rothstein, a Cornell University recruit who won 12 of 15 draws to give the visitors a huge advantage in possession and scoring opportunities.

“Their defense kept stopping us,” Haddonfield coach Damon Legato said. “They are a very talented, athletic team. All credit to them for the way they played today.

“We’re a better team than we showed. We have to get back on track.”

Down 2-0 early in the second quarter, Haddonfield had a 6-on-4-man advantage but was unable to muster a good shot on Falzone because of the steady play of Shawnee’s defense.

“The defense was absolutely phenomenal,” said Pringle, who has a hat trick in each of the Renegades’ first two games. “Falzone was unbelievable.”

On those occasions when Haddonfield was able to generate a clean look, Falzone usually was able make the save. He stopped a pair of good chances in rapid succession late in the third quarter.

“He’s pretty special,” Gushue said of Falzone. “He made a couple saves against Eastern (in Wednesday’s season opener) when you were like, ‘Whoa.’ He can make some amazing saves.”

Falzone has been a goalie since 5th grade. He loves the responsibility, the role as the last line of defense.

He was rock-solid on Saturday. And so were the guys in front of him.

“Those guys did a great job,” Falzone said of the defenders. “There’s always room for improvement but today was just about as perfect as can be.”

Haddonfield      0    0    2    0   –   2

Shawnee           2    2    1    4   –   9

Saves: H-Will Gramigna, 5; S-Dan Falzone, 12.

Goals: H-Aiden Blake, Will Batson; S-Bailey Pringle 3, Blake Brinster 2, Chris Lyons 2, Gavyn Willson, Tom Shinske.