Burnt Hills When you win the battle for the ball, you win the game.
The Shenendehowa boys lacrosse team applied that concept to Saturday's 12-7 Suburban Council victory at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake.
The Plainsmen (6-1 league, 6-3 overall) won ground ball after ground ball over the final three quarters, which helped them maintain possession and forced the Spartans (5-2, 8-2) into making too many hasty decisions when they did have the ball.
"Ground balls are possessions, and possessions are shots," said Shen coach Chuck Holohan.
"I thought they did a nice job of being opportunistic on loose balls and ground balls," said BH-BL coach Tom Schwan. "It was a lot of the little things today that decided the game."
The first 13 minutes was a back-and-forth affair. Shen grabbed a 3-1 lead in the first quarter, but BH-BL rallied to tie the game at 4 on Trevor Hiss' unassisted goal less than one minute into the second quarter.
The Plainsmen took control by scoring four of the next five goals to give themselves an 8-5 halftime lead. Brian Rogers tallied first in that stretch, followed by goals from Mike Jenkins and Joe Romano. Kyle Marr ended the run with his lone goal of the day.
Tom Kenneally scored less than two minutes into the third quarter to cut Shen's lead to 8-6, and BH-BL had a chance for another goal on a subsequent man-advantage. However Shen goaltender Ben Robbins made a save on a quick shot, and the Plainsmen maintained possession through the rest of the penalty kill. Shortly after the Shen penalty expired, D.J. Edick ripped a shot past BH-BL goaltender Lucas Carter to give the Plainsmen a 9-6 lead, which stunted any momentum BH-BL had.
"We forced it instead of doing what we had been doing all year -- possessing the ball and taking good shots," said Schwan.