Butler blows past Titans
3 goals in 16 seconds part of 15-3 thrashing

By Sam Tallarico
Eagle Staff Writer



BUTLER TWP The Butler boys lacrosse team found itself in a precarious position entering the second quarter of its game against Shaler.
The Golden Tornado, who had scored 56 goals in the first three games, held only a 1-0 lead against the Titans.
Then, the floodgates opened.
Butler scored five second-period goals, including three in a 16-second span, then tacked on eight more in the third period to cruise to a 15-3 WPIAL Division II victory.
Cole Harvey, Nathan Barthlow and Tyler Kotch each registered four goals, and Kotch had four assists.
"To step up when we need to, we have that firepower," said
Butler coach Ed Swierczyk. "The start is not what we're used to ... but they saw it and placed the ball better and not just shoot it.
"You know where the goalie's weak spots are. We moved the ball around and spread it around the field," the coach added.
Kotch opened the scoring
1:02 into the first quarter when he corralled a pass from Butler goalie Alex Hill near midfield and ran the rest of the way before firing a shot past Titans goalie Ricky Cannon.
Cannon made six saves in that first period to keep Shaler in the game.
In the second quarter, however,
Butler started turning those shots into goals. Harvey scored off a Kotch pass 13 seconds into the period to give Butler a 2-0 advantage.
Barthlow followed with an unassisted goal with
7:35 left in the quarter before Barthlow, Harvey and Kotch scored in a 16-second span to open a 6-0 advantage.
"Once you start shooting so many times, they start going in," said defensemen Nick Elliott.
Harvey and Barthlow opened the third quarter with goals before the Titans reached the scoring column when Jon Monahan scored unassisted with
8:32 to go.
Barthlow answered 16 seconds later before Monahan added his second of the game to make it 9-2.
Butler scored five more times over the final 7;25 of the third quarter for a 14-2 lead.
That 12-goal lead started the mercy-rule clock.
While the offense has been clicking in the first four games, the defense also has been stellar, especially Hill in goal.
"I give a lot of credit to (defenders) Ryan Soule, Nick Elliott and John Noel," said midfielder Patrick Hitchan. "We keep communicating.
"And Alex Hill, he's improved so much. He's the base of our defense. He calls the slides, makes sure where the matchups are. He keeps an eye on everything," he added.
"We have a strong senior class," Hill said. "We lost only one starter from last year's team."
That team reached the semifinals before falling to Greensburg Central Catholic.
Butler is trying to make sure they use that experience to go further this season, and the Tornado's flying start is moving them toward that goal.
Notes:
Butler outshot Shaler 31-8. ... Butler's JV prevailed 11-2. Tanner Kotch scored four goals, Matt Bartley three, J.J. Raab two and Alex Guiste and Clint Regal one apiece.