Baltimore County, Md. – CCBC Essex opened its season at home on Saturday, as the No. 8 ranked Knights defeated No. 10 Mercer County 29-12.
The Knights – now ranked No. 6 in the nation – outscored the Vikings 9-1 in the first quarter and never looked back.
"It feels really good to see our team come together in the first game, because I really think we have a lot to show this year," said head coach Tim King. "We've been working on a lot of things during our scrimmages. To see them come together and put together a game against a solid new program is awesome."
T.J. Ross (Central York) led the Knights with seven goals and six assists. Kyle Guenther (Patriot) was right behind with six goals and one assist.
Greg Johanning (Tiverton) tallied four goals and two assists, and Mitchell Foard (Archbishop Curley) finished with three goals.
Travis Pereira (Lasalle Academy) started between the pipes for the Knights and played a marvelous first half, stopping 7-of-8 shots put on goal by the Vikings.
Dillon Fahey (Parkville) played the second half and had nine saves.
The tone of the game was set at the faceoff, as freshman Kollin Vaught (Central York) won his first nine and finished 24-28 for the game.
He even pulled the trifecta on the Knights' fourth goal, as he won the faceoff, got the groundball and scored.
"We expect [Kollin Vaught] to be good," said King. "We expect his percentage to be high. How high? We never know in a game. He has challenges, even though he's a really good player."
Mercer was completely overwhelmed by the Knight's fast and aggressive play and could not get close, despite outshooting Essex 48-44.
The second quarter was more of the same for the Knights as they continued scoring goals and being aggressive on both ends and took a 19-1 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, CCBC Essex began to play more of their second, third and fourth lines.
The Knights' starters were all but absent in the second half of the fourth quarter when Mercer went on a seven-goal run.
Mercer scored nine of the final 10 goals in the game, but by then the match was well in hand for the Knights.
Benjamin Paepcke (Calvert Hall), McKenney Box (Boy's Latin), Vaught, and Noah Stecher (Calvert Hall) all finished with two goals apiece for the Knights.
Next up, the Knights hit the road Friday afternoon and head to Batavia, N.Y., as they prepare to meet Genesee Community College on Saturday. It is the home and season opener for the Cougars and game time is scheduled for noon.