JOHNSTOWN - It was a game the Sir Bills lacrosse team needed.
After getting outscored 32-3 in its last two games, Johnstown scored six goals in the second quarter to break a 1-1 tie and cruise to an 8-2 win over first-year program Voorheesville at Knox Field on Monday.
Tyler Dick and Jeremy Serpa each scored four goals to lead the Johnstown offense, and Gus Hilts quietly had a strong game in net, making 13 saves.
Johnstown’s Tyler Dick (6) works his way around Voorheesville defender Casey Hennessey (10) during the second quarter of a game at Knox Field on Monday. Johnstown won 8-2. (The Leader-Herald/Erich Neuhaus)
"I think we played really good as a team," Dick said. "We moved the ball around. We kind of stepped it up a little bit and I'm just proud of us."
Dick scored the opening goal just 12 seconds in, when he walked in untouched after Johnstown was given possession of the opening faceoff and buried a shot.
It was so simple that Johnstown looked as if it was going to score 100 goals.
But the Sir Bills found themselves in penalty trouble throughout the first quarter, committing four of them, and it gave Voorheesville overwhelming possession in the quarter.
The Blackbirds fired off 10 shots compared to just five from Johnstown, forcing Hilts to come up with six saves.
A few minutes after Ben Wilson missed a wide open net for an easy goal, he scored the equalizer when he came from behind the net on the right side and buried a goal to tie the game.
Although Voorheesville had three minutes with a man advantage, including a minute of a two-man advantage, its offense looked pretty good as it moved the ball around the zone pretty effectively to fire off shots, although they were mostly long-range attempts.
"I think our first quarter we did well," Voorheesville coach Ben Gula said.
In the second quarter, though, Johnstown scored early and never stopped.
Serpa scored on a left-handed shot just 23 seconds in to spearhead a string of four goals by the senior in the second.
His highlight goal came just 54 seconds after his first goal, when he took a Hail Mary-esque pass from Hilts over the Voorheesville defense to leave him one-on-one with goalie Mike Baker. Serpa's shot nicked off the cage, off Baker, and into the net for a 3-1 lead.
After Dick forced a turnover on defense than ran 80 yards down field to make it 4-1, Serpa added two more before Dick capped the quarter off with a goal in the final minute to take a 7-1 lead into the break.
"As soon as we started scoring some goals, our team got some motivation and we just started working better together," Dick said. "We knew where everyone was, we started talking well. I'm just ecstatic."
The Johnstown defense was sharp, too. Troy Palmer was his usual fearless self, picking up seven ground balls while Austin Vogel picked up four and Colin Dalmata scooped up three. The Sir Bills' defense kept Voorheesville off the scoreboard for more than 30 minutes.
"Our defense played really solid," Johnstown coach Scott Petrie said. "We were moving our feet, and we were putting our stick on their hands. We weren't worried about taking the ball away, and once we started to do that, our offense started clicking."
When Voorheesville did score, it made it worth it as Wilson buried a sweet behind-the-shoulder goal that earned applause from the Johnstown crowd.
Hilts wasn't going to let that happen again, though, stuffing the attacker twice in the final minutes when he came out of the crease to challenge Wilson on point-blank attempts.
Voorheesville actually outshot Johnstown 22-21 in the game - something Gula will take as a positive for his fledgling program. Not only is it the Blackbirds' first year, they don't field a senior and some starters have never played lacrosse before this year.
Another positive Gula will take - besides the second quarter, it was a 2-2 game.
"Every game we've been in, we were in the first quarter or first two quarters," Gula siad. "We got to put four quarters together and that's hard to ask when you have kids that have never picked up a lacrosse stick before this year."
That used to be Johnstown, but its program and team are getting better. The Sir Bills offense moved the ball around better in this game than in others, and Petrie is hoping his team will continue to work on moving it faster around its motion offense.
For now, though, they'll enjoy a much needed win before they head to Queensbury today.
"I'm proud of these guys," Petrie said. "These guys need games like this. It will help us build some character and they did what they were supposed to do today - and that was important."