The Montclair Kimberley boys lacrosse team has moved a step closer to defending its Prep B Tournament title.

The Cougars scored the last 11 of the final 16 goals of the game en route to a 17-9 victory over Pennington in the first round at home in Montclair. 

MKA, the fourth seed, takes on top-seeded Rutgers Prep on Thursday, April 28, in the tournament semifinals. The Cougars defeated Rutgers Prep twice last season, including a 16-7 victory in the Prep B championship match.

The win over Pennington was the second of the season for the Cougars, who raised their record to 2-3, two of the losses coming to larger Group 3 and 4 schools.

Montclair Kimberley head coach Dave Giarusso knows what his team needs to accomplish if they want to defeat Rutgers Prep and move into the finals.

“We look to limit our own mistakes and focus on playing our better lacrosse and not be as focused on what they do but rather take care of our own business," Giarusso said.

Cougars senior Brodie Snyder, who scored three goals and had an assist to lead MKA against Pennington, said he hopes the team’s offense is starting to hit its stride.

“We lost a lot from last season,” said Snyder, who added that the win over Pennington showed the offense at its best. “Our offense really clicked for the first time this season.”

In addition to Snyder, sophomore Nick Snyder (no relation to Brodie Snyder) and junior Evan Grossman chipped in three goals each, as nine different Cougars scored.

Brodie Snyder knows that it is his turn to step up after the graduation of Jake Waldman, O.B. Sedransk and Rollins Heath, who accounted for more than 140 goals last season.

“I know that I have to step up, but we also have a lot of guys who can score,” said Brodie Snyder, who had 20 goals in 2021.

Montclair Kimberley's Henry McCann (3) gets congratulated by teammates, Sam Rotella (20) and Evan Grossman (23) after scoring a goal against Pennington. Montclair Kimberley's boys lacrosse team defeated Pennington, 17-9, in the first round of the Prep B Tournament on Wednesday, April 20 at home. (Edward Kensik/Staff)
Montclair Kimberley's Henry McCann (3) gets congratulated by teammates, Sam Rotella (20) and Evan Grossman (23) after scoring a goal against Pennington. Montclair Kimberley's boys lacrosse team defeated Pennington, 17-9, in the first round of the Prep B Tournament on Wednesday, April 20 at home. (Edward Kensik/Staff)
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Against Pennington, the turning point of the match might have come early in the second quarter, when Pennington sliced the MKA lead to two, 6-4. The Cougars called a timeout.

“We talked about slowing it down, and that it was our game,” Brodie Snyder said about what assistant coach Sabino Rodano, filling in for Giarusso, told the team in the huddle.

The Cougars responded nicely, scoring the final five goals of the first half to take an 11-4 lead going into the third period.

Montclair Kimberley backup goalie Ethan Bell got the start at goalie, with senior Jake Pryor picking up some playing time near the end of the match.

“I’m glad we got him in and got [him] some time in goal,” Brodie Snyder said about Bell.

For Giarusso the Prep B Tournament is a good test and preparation for the Essex County Tournament and the state tournament.

“The start of the Prep tourney is always a signal we need to be focused on each quarter of each game or it can all end sooner than we want it to,” the coach said.

“We start counting down how many quarters are left to play, eight in the Prep tourney, we want the players to be focused on the small things, and the big results will come.”