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Getting Possessive

Butler plays keep-away in win against Ramblers
Butler’s Ayden Davis, left, and Ian Wilson celebrate a goal against Cathedral Prep Monday night. The duo combined for nine goals in a 17-7 win over the Ramblers. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Butler’s Ayden Davis shoots and scores against Cathedral Prep during a lacrosse game at Art Bernardi Stadium on Monday. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle

BUTLER TWP — It is said that possession is nine-tenths of the law. It certainly ruled the day at Art Bernardi Stadium on Monday night.

Butler swarmed around Cathedral Prep’s net, out-shooting the Ramblers 58-22 as the Golden Tornado celebrated Senior Recognition Night with a 17-7 non-section boys lacrosse victory.

“We tell our guys that the goal is for us to have between 50 and 60 shots every game,” said Tornado coach Justin Steiner. “This Saturday, we are picking up a game against Fox Chapel (from a game begun April 17 and suspended due to inclement weather). We are down 9-2 at halftime and need to come out fast. We wanted to play at a fast pace tonight to get us ready for that.”

Despite having a 31-11 edge in shots in the first two quarters, Butler’s lead at halftime against the Ramblers was just 7-5.

“We knew the game shouldn’t have been that close to begin with,” said Tornado senior midfielder Ayden Davis, who led the victory with seven goals. “We wanted to pick it up a notch.”

More like a few notches. Butler (9-1) tallied six goals in the third quarter, including three from Davis, before Prep managed its first shot of the second half.

“We really struggled with possessing the ball,” said Prep coach Andrew Smykowski. “We had only one or two possessions on the attack in the third quarter.”

Also aiding Butler’s chances was the trio of Davis, Matt McCombs and Max Rihn, who controlled the vast majority of faceoffs.

Butler’s lead swelled to 16-5 before Prep found the net twice in a 40-second span late in the fourth quarter. Tanner Ball made 15 saves for the Ramblers while Max Weiland stopped seven shots for Butler.

Jake Stevens added four goals for Butler, Jaxon Salata scored three times, Ian Wilson twice and Brock Collins found the net once.

“Ayden scores a lot of goals for us, but he has a good connection with Jake,” said Steiner. “Jaxon is really good on the crease and other guys are contributing.”

Midfielder Nate Klan scored three goals for Prep (2-6).

Butler began last season 6-1, but dropped seven of its last 11 games, including a WPIAL playoff defeat to Upper St. Clair. The Tornado are working to play better lacrosse down the stretch this season.

“Our defensive core has gotten better and I’m able to throw higher-IQ defenses at them,” said Steiner.

“We just need to keep practicing hard and stay on top of things,” Davis said. “I feed off the other guys and they feed off of me.”

Butler’s Grant Holt, left, hits Cathedral Prep’s Jameson Hertel during a lacrosse game at Art Bernardi Stadium on Monday. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Butler’s Owen Denny, right, celebrates a goal with Jaxon Salata against Cathedral Prep during a lacrosse game at Art Bernardi Stadium on Monday. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Butler’s Deacon Simko, left, challenges Cathedral Prep goalie Tanner Ball during Monday’s boys lacrosse game at Art Bernardi Stadium. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle
Butler’s Ian Wilson maintains possession against Cathedral Prep’s Andrew Timon during a boys lacrosse game at Art Bernardi Stadium on Monday. Justin Guido/Special to the Eagle

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