It's the focus his coach had been preaching.

It's part of the intensity his team had been lacking.

But for Dan Halla, it's just part of his love of the game, something he has done since he started playing lacrosse in second grade.

"Today was a half-day in school," Halla said. "And I went home, went out back, and practiced my shot, and that helped. Practice makes perfect."

Halla credits his pregame workout for his hot start.

The senior Stevenson recruit netted three first-half goals in leading the Haddonfield boys' lacrosse team to a 9-8 win Friday night over visiting Eastern.

"Throughout these last two weeks, we've had a little trouble in practice getting pumped, and the intensity wasn't there," Halla said. "Yesterday, we came out of practice with just a ton of intensity. It was a lot of fun . . . and we carried it into today."

Halla and Patrick Porter each netted three goals for Haddonfield (6-6). Despite the increased intensity overall, Porter and Halla, both midfielders, were catalysts for a patient, methodical offensive approach - something coach Damon Legato said was also a point of emphasis entering the game.

"I thought we played a great game, and we really came together offensively," he said. "We've been focused on time of possession and discipline and offensive execution. Those were huge goals for us today. And it was nice to see us accomplish that."

Haddonfield has won five of its last six games after starting 0-3 with losses to St. Augustine, ranked No. 2 in South Jersey by The Inquirer, as well as No. 3 Moorestown and No. 5 Seneca.

Friday, the Bulldogs' Eddie Clarke broke a scoreless tie with 10 minutes, 19 seconds left in the opening period and Haddonfield held the lead the rest of the way despite Eastern looking strong throughout.

The teams were never separated by more than two goals until Haddonfield opened the final period on 4-1 run, establishing a 9-4 lead with 3 minutes, 55 seconds left.

Facing many of Haddonfield's defensive substitutes, Eastern (4-9) ended the game on a tear, scoring four goals in the final 2:02.

"We're all out here learning and trying to get better," Legato said. "Luckily, we were able to keep it together. And Eastern is a great team.

"We just need to keep discipline and focus like we did today."

Eastern 1 2 0 5 - 8

Haddonfield 2 3 0 4 - 9

Goals: E-Collin Mitchell 3, Eric Ellis 2, Jake Brown, Zach Jacobs, Joey Tiernan; H-Dan Halla 3, Patrick Porter 3, Gavin Cutrino, Eddie Clarke, Carson Beckett.

Saves: E-Jake Manelis 9; H-Jeff Sabatini 8.