It wasn't the most exciting, and it lacked the scoring punch of the other periods, but the third quarter of its 12-6 win at Springfield (Delco) was perhaps the most emblematic reason that Downingtown East continued to roll Saturday in boys' lacrosse.
After building an 8-2 halftime lead in the nonleague game, East (8-3) dominated possession for nearly 11 of the 12 third-quarter minutes, practically camping in Springfield's defensive zone. Oddly, Springfield (7-3) had scored the stanza's first goal, with 1 minute, 17 seconds to go.
But East wasted little time in re-extending its lead to six. Junior midfielder Kyle Lauletta netted his third goal of the game by posting up a Springfield defender, like a power forward on the low block, before slinging the ball past goalie Jeremy Cavanaugh just 26 seconds later.
East did the bulk of its scoring early - and was matched by Springfield, 4-4, after halftime - but preserved its victory by playing a heady offensive game in the final two quarters.
"We usually have some trouble holding onto the ball and usually dodge right away," senior East attackman Aaron Murphy said. "But this game, we just held the ball. We did some dummy dodges and got around [the defense]."
It isn't always a recipe for success for East, which, Murphy said, at times lacks patience on offense, with a propensity to make hasty moves to the goal without working the possession with passing.
Saturday, it's what East did best. It was in large part due to a 20-1 advantage on face-offs and a 29-13 edge on ground balls.
Lauletta and Murphy each scored four goals to lead East. Lauletta, also East's starting quarterback in football, brought his season total to 26. He added two assists, one on a score by Murphy, who increased his total to 34.
East has won six straight since stumbling to a 2-3 start. Over that stretch, it has outscored opponents by 43 goals (7.2 average). Four of those six contests have been on the road.
East this past week broke into the state's top 10, coming in at 10th in the phillylacrosse.com rankings.
Springfield was without five starters - including its leading scorer (Vince Mara, separated shoulder) and faceoff man (Mark Gurenlian, concussion) - because of injuries. Steve Halko (four) and Chris Martin (two) did all the Springfield scoring.
Brandyn O'Connell also recorded a hat trick for East.
"We really controlled the ball," Lauletta said. "We always try to minimize turnovers, and we feel like if we don't turn the ball over and take good shots, we'll win quality games. Springfield's a quality opponent, and it feels great to get a win that way."
Downingtown East 5 3 1 3 – 12
Springfield (Delco) 1 1 1 3 – 6
Goals: DE-Kyle Lauletta 4, Aaron Murphy 4, Brandyn O'Connell 3, Ian Riehl; S-Steve Halko 4, Chris Martin 2.
Saves: DE-Sam Weiss 8; S-Jeremy Cavanaugh 13.