CREVE COEUR — After the Priory lacrosse team squandered a four-goal lead in a head-scratching loss in its previous game, coach Tyler Orf devoted the next week of practice to fundamental defensive drills.
The improved defense shined on Tuesday.
Senior Carter Coleman took care of the offense.
Coleman scored five goals, junior David Sadasivam made 10 saves and Priory used a smothering defensive performance to knock off Lindbergh 8-1 on Tuesday at Busch Field on the Priory campus.
Coleman opened the scoring midway through the first period, battling to the middle of the field and ripping a right-handed laser from 12 yards away.
But both teams clamped down defensively for the remainder of the first half.
Priory (3-2) assigned senior defender Murphy Reese to keep a watchful eye over talented Lindbergh senior Pete Grebe, who had accumulated 18 points in three games. Through excellent communication and the ability to slide and recover quickly, Reese and the Ravens defense kept the Flyers off the scoreboard for the entire first half.
“We worked as a team,” Reese said. “Today, we did the little things right. We talked better and we got it done.”
And when a small gap in the Priory defense surfaced, the only netting that Lindbergh could find was in the catching net of Sadasivam, who made six first half saves. He made a stellar diving stop to his left in the final seconds of the first period, then flashed his right leg to kick away a sure goal by senior Billy Ward in the closing minute of the half.
“Whenever I get the shots I want to see, I’m at my best and the defense did a great job of forcing them down the alley,” Sadasivam said.
Sadasivam even enjoyed a mini concert in the first half as he heard the joyful clang of iron three times when Lindbergh shots rang off the posts.
Lindbergh (3-1) also used excellent defense to keep the game close. Senior captain Aidan Wolff kept the dangerous Coleman to the outside and goalie Peter Borkowski made six saves in the first half including outright robberies of Patrick O’Keefe and Gabe Kenma in the second quarter.
“Defensively we were locking them down, Borkowski was making all the saves he needed to make and offensively we hit three pipes and that kills your momentum,” Lindbergh coach Corey Paffrath said. “If all three of those go in, we’re winning at halftime and that changes the game completely.”
A high bouncer by senior Brayden Schnurbusch gave Priory a 2-0 lead before Coleman took control of the game in the second half.
With his back to the net and to his defender, he wheeled and scored early in the third and less than two minutes later, he powered his way to a scoring area, reverse pivoted, and fired a left-handed bouncer into the net to push the lead to 4-0.
“When I went straight up, it was getting a little clogged, but when I was backing in, I was really able to see the whole field,” Coleman said. “Their guys weren’t coming to me, so I was getting a better one-on-one matchup.”
Near the end of the third period, Priory senior Harrison Wilmsen was assessed a penalty for a high cross check that had the Ravens shorthanded for three minutes. Lindbergh attacker Sam Todd scored 56 seconds into the penalty, but the Ravens killed off the remaining time.
“It was a big stand,” Reese said. “When we first got the penalty, we were down a little bit, but when we only gave up one (goal) in the three minutes, it definitely turned the momentum.”
Coleman scored to make it 5-1 less than a minute later, then scored his fifth of the game on a Priory man advantage to secure the victory.
“Our offense plays off our defense, so when we see that we're making stops, we’re going to score for them,” Coleman said.
And Priory, which suffered what Orf called a “defensive collapse” in a 14-8 loss to Vianney in its previous game, surrendered its fewest goals in a game since a shutout of Clayton on April 26, 2018 - 28 games ago.
“That’s a good Lindbergh team, and that’s a good win for us,” Orf said.