Durham County

Ricucci sees growth in Jordan despite loss to Crusaders

It wasn’t the result that the Jordan Falcons boys’ lacrosse team was looking for on Tuesday night against Cardinal Gibbons, but that’s not stopping coach Mike Ricucci from focussing on the positives.

Both teams entered the game with a 10-1 record, but the Crusaders proved why they are one of the best team’s in the state, handing Jordan a 11-4 loss. The Crusaders jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the first period thanks in large part to stifling defense, effort on 50/50 balls, and forced turnovers. Gibbons forced six turnovers in the first period, converting them into three goals.

“I think you just chalk it up to two young attack men playing three elder defensemen,” said Ricucci. “I think our kids were just not ready for it. It’s something to build upon.”

After falling behind in the first period, Riccuci was pleased with how his defense responded. They held Gibbons to three goals in the middle frames before the Jordan offense finally came alive in the fourth.

“We gave up one in the second and really one in the third before a cheap one at the end,” said Ricucci. “You give up two goals against their one’s and I think that’s good progress.”

Ricucci knew it would be a struggle against Gibbons and believes this was a learning experience for his team, saying, “we’re not on that level yet. We’re learning, and we’re young, and this will be a great game to watch film to see what we can build upon.”

When playing a team as good as Cardinal Gibbons, nerves would certainly seem to be a factor. Gibbons is the defending state champions while Jordan went 5-14 last season. Ricucci commented that many teams feel they have already lost to Gibbons before they step on the field. He said that he didn’t want his team to walk into the game timid or scared.

“I don’t think we were cowering to them,” said Ricucci. “We just weren’t ready to go. We weren’t thinking through things. ‘Overwhelmed’ is a good word to sum up that first quarter. Once we solidified our jitters, I thought we played really well. I really couldn’t ask for much more out of my defense in the second, third, and fourth.”

Jordan will have to quickly put this one behind them as they face off with rival East Chapel Hill on Thursday. Ricucci said he’ll have no trouble getting his team to refocus heading into Thursday’s game in the “Route 40 Trophy” game.

Jordan has lost the last four games, all by two goals or less, against East Chapel Hill.

“Our kids are fired up,” said Ricucci. “The first thing they said to me was, ‘coach, we’re not hanging. We got East on Thursday.’ They’re chomping at the bit.”