Bosco wins fifth straight: “We’re fighters” by Sean Farrell of The Record
RAMSEY – Brendan Gorman stood in the locker room, looking for an answer.
It didn’t make sense that his team wasn’t a winner.
Talent was all around at Don Bosco. College prospects were all over the field.
But the Ironmen kept having losing seasons, year after year.
He was disappointed after an embarrassing loss to Bergen Catholic that dropped their record to 1-3.
He had seen enough.
“I put a statement on the board in the locker room,” Gorman said. “Don Bosco is who?”
Gorman is starting to find out. The Ironmen have not lost since.
They won their fifth in a row with a hard-fought 7-6 victory over No. 4 Ramapo on Thursday at Granatell Stadium.
Justin Kim ended the game with the first overtime-winner of his Don Bosco career.
“This is a goal I’ll never forget,” Kim said.
Gorman saw potential in the program when he took over last season.
Athletes would come to Ramsey from all over North Jersey, some even from Rockland County.
But his current seniors had never had a winning season. The effort was fine, but there was a culture accustomed to losing.
“That’s gone,” Gorman said.
His players were given a simple question after their 11-goal defeat to the rival Crusaders.
“Who are we? Define who we are in five or six sentences,” Gorman said. “We could have answered that question last week. A lot of people are answering that question for us right now. There’s a lot of negatives out there. We have to prove who we are.”
“We got no respect,” added Gorman. “We were not getting coverage. That’s fine. We accepted that. We actually like to fly under-the-radar. We know what we had to do.”
The turnaround has largely come from Justin and Andrew Kim, the physical 6-foot-4, 220 pound twin brothers who are committed to Syracuse University.
Both have heated up as the season has gone on.
“We’ve bonded more as a team,” Andrew Kim said. “We’ve been looking for each other. We haven’t been playing selfishly. Everyone has been playing good all-around lacrosse.”
Eight of Justin’s 12 goals this season have come during the recent winning streak. Eleven of Andrew’s 13 are from that span.
And they’ve accepted the challenge to be better in all aspects of the game.
“Just because we need more of them doesn’t mean we need more in the back of the net,” Gorman said. “They need to be the leaders they are on the field. Their assists have gone up. Their ground ball play has gone up. We’ve used them on defense. We’ve used them on faceoff wings. It’s not just that they can shoot the ball 100 miles per hour.”
The Ironmen have also been a much better defensive team of late.
When they left Crusader Stadium, they were allowing about eight goals per game.
From then on, they’ve surrendered just over four per contest.
A switch to the zone defense has worked wonders.
“It changed the whole dynamic of our game,” Justin Kim said.
The fifth-ranked Ironmen (6-3) had a challenge beating the Green Raiders. They had to overcome a two-goal deficit in the first quarter. Steve Rann had to make a save in the waning seconds just to push the game to overtime.
A rocket shot from Justin Kim sent teammates onto the field for a jubilant celebration.
The Ironmen, somehow, found a way to win another close game.
Their coach said he planned to write another line by the question that still looms in the Don Bosco locker room.
He finally had his answer.