Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wildcats’ terrific twosome ends Bengals’ boys lacrosse season

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Great tandems have symbiotic relationships. They’re good when separated, unstoppable as a partnership.

Peanut butter and jelly. Milli and Vanilli. Cheech and Chong.

Add Ross Modjeska and Daniel Cohen to that illustrious group.

The Walter Johnson boys lacrosse attackmen have been an unbreakable, unstoppable duo this year, and were again in the Wildcats’ 17-6 victory over Blake Saturday in the quarterfinal round of the 4A⁄3A West Region playoffs. The senior Modjeska scored six goals in the first half alone, five of them off assists from his junior counterpart, Cohen.

‘‘It’s been working for two years,” said Modjeska. ‘‘I don’t like to be the only one — I like to feed a lot. Sometimes it’s the other way and he wants to score. One game it’s him, one game it’s me. I don’t care either way, as long as we’re winning.”

Rotating and winning is what the two have been doing all year. Cohen is used to being the passer, as he was a big part of Modjeska leading the county with 55 goals a year ago. This year, it started out the other way around, with Cohen scoring 14 goals in the Wildcats’ (10-4 record) first two games.

But Modjeska has come on strong over the team’s recent four-game winning streak, which began on April 25 with seven goals against Quince Orchard. For the season, the two have combined for 96 goals — 49 for Cohen, 47 for Modjeska. On Saturday, Modjeska added a goal in the fourth quarter to give him seven on the game, while he also added two assists. Cohen found the net twice in the third quarter, while adding a whopping seven assists.

Many of them come on the same play — one of the two dodge behinds the net, the other streaks in front of the net to receive a pass.

‘‘Yeah, we have a little bond,” said Cohen. ‘‘It’s a big part of our offense, me and him.”

They were not the only Wildcat contributors against the Bengals (3-10). Junior midfielder Andrew Goldstein pitched in with four goals of his own, while senior defender Austin Miller was a menace on the back line. The win paired Walter Johnson for a regional semifinal match-up with top-seeded Wootton, in a game which ended too late for this edition.

On the other side, the Bengals didn’t exactly lay down on Saturday, posting one of their better offensive performances of the season with six goals. Junior attackman Kyle Matusek scored three of those to lead Blake, which in fact scored three unanswered goals cut a 6-0 deficit in half midway through the second quarter.

The Bengals won just three games this spring, though they did manage to oust Paint Branch (8-6 record) in overtime on a goal by sophomore midfielder Michael Schiavone.

But there is reason for optimism in the future. Blake loses only one senior, midfielder Tim Goldwater, returns their leading scorers in Matusek , Schiavone and junior Ben Harrington, as well as goalkeeper Andrew Hawley.

‘‘We were certainly more of a team unit for sure this year, even though we’re young,” said Blake head coach Brian Oliver. ‘‘We had some tough losses — we had a one-goal loss to Blair, losing to Kennedy in overtime, but we got experience. It’s mostly juniors and sophomores, but we played better as a team.”