By Phil Anastasia
Inquirer Staff Writer
Matt Donnelly can only hope the rest of his final scholastic season is an echo of the start.
Donnelly, a speedy senior, scored a career-high seven goals to lead visiting Clearview to a 14-6 victory over Haddonfield in the Olympic Conference Patriot Division opener for both boys' lacrosse teams on Wednesday night.
"I never scored seven before -- not even in youth (lacrosse)," said Donnelly, a Penn State recruit. "It's a great feeling."
Junior Jackson Specht added four goals for Clearview, which burst to a 6-0 lead against a Haddonfield team with just two seniors on the roster.
Juniors Josh Van Dexter and Gavin Cutrino each scored two goals and freshman Will Batson added a goal with two assists for Haddonfield.
The Bulldogs also got strong work from junior goalie Ian Reilly, who made 11 saves.
"We got beat by a better team," Haddonfield coach Damon Legato said. "We're inexperienced. We're green. We're going to be a better team at the end of the year than we are now."
Donnelly had a hat trick by the end of the first quarter and five goals in the first half. He was a dominant force on a cold, rainy night on Haddonfield's turf field.
"He's five-foot nothing and 100-nothing but he's a warrior," Clearview coach Rob Rieck said. "He's so tenacious. The other players feed off that."
Donnelly scored four of his goals from distance, displaying a remarkably quick and accurate shot.
"He has range like nobody we play against," Legato said of Donnelly. "He's a legit D-1 player. He's the best shooter in South Jersey.
"He plays hard and he's unselfish. He's exactly the kind of kid you want to coach."
Donnelly said it was a "pretty special" to score seven goals in the first game of his senior season.
"I have to thank my teammates," Donnelly said. "They set me up. It was a good team effort, a good start for us."
Donnelly downplayed his own performance but noted that the Pioneers' play -- especially during stretches of the first and third quarters -- hinted at the team's potential.
"I think we can do big things this season," Donnelly said. "I think we can do things this program has never done before."
That would be a fitting finish for Clearview since the Pioneers' senior star began the season by doing something he's never done before.
"He never scored seven before?" Rieck said. "I bet he's had six."
Clearview 5 2 4 3 -- 14
Haddonfield 0 3 1 2 -- 6
Goals: C-Matt Donnelly 7, Jackson Specht 4, Jake Bonomo, Frank Pipich, Dylan Brasch; H-Gavin Cutrino 2, Josh Van Dexter 2, Will Batson, Donny Siok.
Saves: C-Kevin Horchak 5; H-Ian Reilly 11.
-- Contact Phil Anastasia at firstname.lastname@example.org