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Title win no cakewalk for Timon St. Joe's hangs in until third quarter

Bishop Timon-St. Jude knew it was going to get St. Joe's best shot.

The top-seeded Tigers got that and more, but used a strong third quarter to fend off the second-seeded Marauders, 15-8, for the Monsignor Martin boys lacrosse championship before an estimated 350 at Nichols on Tuesday. Timon (16-4), which had won all of its regular-season league games by at least 12 goals, owned 18-3 and 18-1 victories over St. Joe's earlier this year.

"St. Joe's let it all out there today," Timon coach Mike Burke said. "We knew from football and hockey that they had some tough, good athletes. In the regular season, I think we just got up big early -- but today they fought. This is one of the best teams they've ever had. It just shows how much the Monsignor Martin is growing. We're fortunate to come out a winner today."

It was the third consecutive title for the Tigers, who will play for the state Catholic championship against an opponent to be determined on Saturday at St. Anthony's in Melville. Timon has lost the previous two years, both being close contests.

"We've just got to seal the deal," Burke said. "We have good depth this year. We're still a pretty young team, but hopefully our numbers will help us. I think the last two years we've just run out of gas. Last year we were up a goal with under four minutes left and couldn't finish. Hopefully we can win it this year."

Nursing a 7-6 lead late in the first half, Timon scored twice in the final two minutes to go to intermission with a three-goal lead. The third quarter, though, was when the Tigers put the clamps on the crown.

Junior Josh Recor scored his fifth goal of the game on a pretty dodge midway through the period, followed two minutes later by a bouncer from classmate Louis Vaccaro (two goals, one assist). The lead ballooned to 13-6 after junior Joe Caulfield (two goals, one assist) and sophomore Adam DiMillo (three goals, one assist, 10 ground balls) cashed in on opportunities from point-blank range.

"I think it was just finishing our chances," said Recor, a transfer from Lancaster. "In the first half we had numerous chances to score and didn't capitalize. St. Joe's switched their defenses almost every possession -- but we finally figured it out and found the back of the net."

St. Joe's (12-6), which was playing in the title game for the first time in school history, was led offensively by junior Andrew Bond's hat trick. Sophomore Nigel Davis added two goals and an assist, while the junior trio of Mike Hubert, James Deakin and Jack Balkin had one goal apiece. Senior Mike Curatolo had three assists and senior goalie Paul Englert made 17 saves.

"It was 7-6 at one point and we were doing exactly what we had to do, but then we got a little tired and started making a few mental mistakes," Marauders coach Peter Hudecki said. "I'm very proud of our guys, though. They did a great job. We accomplished all of our goals -- except the ultimate one."