Paul Preston totaled 72 goals and 12 assists last year. Stop him, some say, and Lake Clifton's offense is crippled.
The boys lacrosse season is young, but judging from yesterday's 7-3 victory over Mervo, opposing city league coaches had better include Nate Moyd in scouting reports.
Moyd scored twice and assisted Preston as many times as the Lakers -- 3-2 leaders at halftime -- pulled away after Moyd came through at critical moments.
Moyd found Preston for a 4-2 lead with 6:20 left in the third period, and made it 6-2 with his unassisted goal with 5:56 left in the game. It was 7-2 after Moyd split two defensemen and assisted on Preston's final goal.
"Nate's my best friend, and when we're both on, things work more beautifully," said Preston, who finished with five goals and an assist. "I think we might have taken them a little lightly at first and weren't communicating. We got it together, though."
The loss is part of three tough outings for Mervo (1-1), which -- despite returning just four starters from last year's 3-9 squad -- has performed remarkably under new coach John Hammond.
In Tuesday's season-opening 7-3 victory, the Mustangs surprised Edmondson, which last year whipped Lake Clifton (10-3) and Poly (12-2) to win the 4A regional crown.
The Mustangs, who next face last year's city runner-up Poly, appeared primed for another upset yesterday after junior Kenny Brown put them up, 1-0, with an excellent effort two minutes before the second period.
Brown roll-dodged two consecutive defenders before crossing midfield and bouncing a 30-yard bullet to the right of All-City keeper David Fulgham.
But the Lakers (2-0), who out-shot the Mustangs, 22-16, rallied for three goals behind Preston. He scored with 20 seconds left in the first period and again early in second, and assisted Moyd for a 3-1 lead five minutes before halftime.
Brown scored for a 3-2 margin at halftime before Moyd and Preston took over.
"Our defense was a little suspect, so we were still looking fosome combinations," said Hammond. "We didn't recognize a couple of situations, and, as a result, we didn't clear the ball well."
The Lakers' defense responded, however, as All-City defenseman Tory Gilliard (6 feet 3, 280) and Cameron Battle and Darnell Pearsall scattered Mervo's chances.
Fulgham made seven of his eight stops in the fourth period when the Mustangs peppered him with nine shots -- the last by freshman Aaron Brown (270 pounds) for the Mustangs' final goal as time elapsed.