Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/28/10
Conestoga, ranked as the top boys’ team in the PA Media Rankings, used a stifling defense and strong goaltending to open its season Saturday by defeating Maryland prep power Landon School, 6-2, in Bethesda.
Senior goalie Peter Zonino made 10 saves and the Pioneers – ranked No. 7 in the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse Power Rankings – got a goal and four assists from Matt Smith and two second-period tallies from sophomore Tyler Brooke.
“We played well,” said Conestoga coach Brian Samson. “It was a low-scoring game, but there were a lot of shots. Peter played outstanding and we were pretty aggressive.
“Defensively, we were able to put pressure on them and cause forced turnovers. I think we were able to make their offense uncomfortable; they were surprised.”
Samson credited the back-line defense of Casey Ikeda, Austin Campbell, Benn Karr, Andrew Visich.and Kevin Rudd.
“We were man-down seven times and stopped all but one,” Samson said. “Pete also had a lot to do with that.”
Smith sparked the attack, which also got goals from Austin Rogusky, Tanner Scott and Jeff Chu
“Matt Smith was terrific and made a ton of plays,” Samson said. “Then we put Tyler Brooke in during the second period and he scores two goals in a row.”
Samson said his team is dealing with extremely high expectations. Last year Conestoga reached the state finals and this year most of the nucleus returns.
“We are doing our best to keep each game in focus,” he said. “I tell them to try not to read their own headlines. What’s nice is that the younger guys put pressure on the older guys. That is nice to have; I think the seniors respond well to the competition.”
Conestoga plays Thursday at Downingtown East (3:45 p.m.) and then plays at Inter-Ac power Haverford School on Saturday.