MEDFORD – Bryce Reece is a junior on a senior-laden squad, but that doesn’t mean he’s afraid to step up and take a leading role on one of South Jersey’s best boys lacrosse teams.
“I know my role on the team and I just try to produce,” said the Lenape High School midfielder. “I know what my job is and I just try to get everybody else involved.”
Reece rose to the forefront Thursday when he scored four goals, including three in the fourth quarter, to lead his undefeated team (9-0) to a 10-3 win over school district rival Shawnee Thursday in an Olympic Conference game.
He scored two of his goals within a 37-second and the No. 3 Indians pulled away from, a 5-3 lead going into the final period against the No. 4 Renegades.
Reece says that he wants to take his part as a leader, but he adds that has a lot of mentors among the upperclassman who have helped him develop as a player.
“I look around and I see Zach Cole and Matt Lajoie and I just try to follow their footsteps,” he said. “Even though I’m a junior, I look ahead and try to see what I can do next year as a senior and do what I can to help the team win.”
Having Reece contribute a lot of goals to the Lenape attack is nothing new, according to coach Bill Sutphin. The coach has seen Reece grow as an offensive threat over the past couple of seasons, and he thinks there are more good things to come.
“Bryce has played very well this year,” said Sutphin. “He’s been pretty consistent with his dodging and his ball movement all year. Even though he’s a junior, he’s taken on more of a leadership role at the midfield for us.”
As Reece continues to perform well, he’s also earned the confidence of his teammates, including some of players who form the team’s senior leadership.
Cole, who added a goal to the Lenape attack, outlined some of the aspects in which Reece excels.
“He’s a very quick player,” Cole said. “He’s unpredictable. He can go with both hands, and he’s very explosive off his first step. He’s very good finishing around the net. Sometimes you just have to give that kid the ball and he makes things happen.”
Reese scored three goals and Lajoie added one during a two-minute span when Shawnee was down a man to open a 9-3 lead. Having the man advantage, Reece said was the key to the Indians attack.
“When you have an opportunity with the two-minute man-down like we had, you just want to put as many goals into the net as you can,” Reece said. “When you’re on 6-on-5 you’ve got to work as a team and that’s what we tried to do.”
Luke Cole closed out the scoring with a late goal for Lenape.
The Indians actually fell behind 2-0 early in the game when Shawnee struck with goals from Brad Brinster and Tom Shinke (one of his two for the game) in the first quarter.
But as Shawnee coach Tim Gushue noted, “After that we didn’t do much.”
Gushue described Lenape as a well-round team that is capable of doing a lot of damage to an opponent.
“They move the ball around really well,” he said. “They have multiple scorers. They play great defense. They’re solid on both sides of the ball.”
After falling behind early, Lenape rallied to tie the score at 2-2 by the end of the first quarter on goals by Dom Albanese and Reece.
The Indians then scored the only two goals of the second quarter with tallies by Drew Bregman and Mason Bregman to create a 4-2 halftime lead.
Shawnee kept the score close for a little while with Shinske’s second goal to close the score to 4-3. But Zach Cole answered with a goal only moments later and, was all Reece and Lenape the rest of the way.
Shawnee 2 0 1 0 -3
Lenape 2 2 1 5-10
Len: Bryce Reece 4, Dom Albanese, Drew Bregman, Mason Bregman, Zach Cole, Luke Cole, Matt Lajoie. Sha: Blake Brinster, Tom Shinske 2.