April 21, 2010, 8:45 p.m.
In a span of less than 72 hours, Plymouth's boys lacrosse team did something it hadn't accomplished in three years: win the coveted "Park" championship.
Under the guidance of first-year coach Brian Walsh, the Wildcats ousted Salem, 12-5, Monday night. Two days earlier, the Wildcats edged Canton, 10-9, in a down-to-the-wire thriller.
The Wildcats, who were playing without standout attackman Pat Smiatacz, were led by the attack trio of Ryan Renault (four goals, two assists), Phil Flesch (three goals, two assists) and Kenny Fanelli, who added a pair of goals.
Mike Olevnik was huge in the mid-field, recording his first hat-trick of the season. Conor Downey also was a force in the middle, notching two assists.
Also shining was defenseman Ethan Christensen, who picked up his first point of the season with a spectacular run down the field and subsequent pin-point pass to Fanelli, who scored.
"I was very proud of the way the whole attack unit stepped up against a physical Salem defense," said Walsh. "Drew Leist, Brad Finch, Zac Centi and Richie Mitchell all provided us with a ton of ground balls and two-way playing Monday night."
Junior goalie Mike Justus anchored the Wildcats' defense, registering 15 saves. Ben Burkman, who had seven take-aways and eight ground balls, also turned an outstanding effort.
"Alex Miller continued to be an excellent cover defenseman with six ground balls and Ethan had five ground balls and one assist," Walsh said.
Charlie Miller notched four ground balls in just his fourth game while Blake Blaylock and Ethan Weiner also recorded key ground balls, Walsh noted.
Blaylock also got a shot in goal for the Wildcats when Justus received a penalty. He made one save.
Connor Berlin spearheaded the Rocks' attack, netting four goals to go along with six ground balls. Dylan Hatcher scored the other goal for Salem. He also assisted on one of Berlin's net-finders.
Nick Gianini notched two assists and a pair of ground balls.
Anthony Portelli led Salem with nine ground balls. Kurt Driscoll had five while Blake Abbey, Luke Johnson and Brandon Lee scooped up three each.
Alex Gravlin made 20 saves in goal for the Rocks, who were outshot 42-35.
Plymouth won nine of 15 face-offs.