High Schools: Seniors help Kearsarge boys’ lacrosse team to first-round victory
In their final game on their home field, the seniors on the Kearsarge boys’ lacrosse team stepped up. The No. 7 Cougars (10-6) didn’t put No. 10 Trinity (7-8) away without a battle, but they made a four-goal halftime lead stand up as the Pioneers remained relentless in the second half, pushing Kearsarge into the quarterfinals of the Division III tournament with a 12-10 victory.
Thanks to great offensive production from seniors Ollie Gallo (six goals) and Peter Allen (two goals, four assists), the Cougars tallied seven goals in the second quarter to take a 10-6 halftime lead. But when Kearsarge managed only two goals in the second half and Trinity put together a comeback, it was possession that made the difference. Senior attackman Alex Wilson contested every Pioneer that came his way, playing a tight man-to-man defense and allowing his teammates to scoop up ground balls.
“Every ground ball was important. They contested every ball in front of the net and behind the net,” said Cougars Coach Mike Heffernan, acknowledging the play of Wilson and junior attackman Tom Barss, who collected five ground balls in the victory.
Another key to the Cougars maintaining possession was the play of senior Robbie Lutz, who scored a goal but more importantly won 10 faceoffs and three ground balls.
Despite their shortage in possession time, Trinity made the most of its opportunities, led by star attackman Tyler Tanbouris, who scored four goals in the first half to lead the Pioneers.
“We knew he was a good shooter,” said Heffernan, adding that fellow Pioneer attackman Tristan Theroux (three goals) gave the Cougars defense all it could handle.
Although Trinity outscored Kearsarge, 4-2, in the second half, senior defenders Ben Gambino and Jordan Barthol were equal to the task, not allowing a single Tanbouris goal after halftime, but they still faced stiff competition from Pioneer attackers Will Sheppard, Matt Beals (assist) and Will Towner, who scored once apiece.
“They didn’t stop them, but we neutralized them,” said Heffernan, crediting Tanbouris for playing the entire game, not an easy feat considering the hot weather. “They played a great last final game of the season ... We just got a couple more goals than they did.”
Heffernan also praised the outstanding play of his goaltender, Will AuFranc, who made seven of his nine saves in the second half, including five in the final quarter. “When we needed him, he stepped up. When we stopped scoring goals, he was stopping them.”
Andrew Van Hooydonk, Matt Pickman and Travis Newman each found the back of the net once to complete Kearsarge’s scoring.
Kearsarge next faces undefeated No. 1 seeded Hopkinton (15-0) in the quarterfinals tomorrow (5 p.m.) on the Hawks’ home field. Although the two teams did not play each other during the regular season, they did face off in a preseason scrimmage, so they are familiar with each other. Coach Heffernan expects it to be a challenge, but one his team will gladly accept.
“They’re athletic. They can score from everywhere. They have a top faceoff man (Ned Metcalf) and one of the best goalies in the state (Matt French). We have great respect for them. We will gladly play them,” he said.
D-III BOYS’ LACROSSE
No. 2 Hopkinton 8,
No. 15 Con-Val 4
Hopkinton rattled off seven straight first-half goals to take a 7-1 halftime lead, but Con-Val (5-10) was able to make things interesting in the second half, outscoring the Hawks 3-1, but it couldn’t spoil Hopkinton’s undefeated season (15-0).
The Cougars took advantage of Hawk penalties in the second half, including a three-minute stretch in the final frame during which Con-Val put two more goals on the scoreboard, and of poor shooting in the second half.
“One of the biggest factors was our shooting percentage in the second half was very poor. We shot better in the first half than in the second half,” Coach Doug Maynard said.
Despite the relatively close score given the difference between the teams in the standings, Hopkinton took away some positives. Ned Metcalf won 14 of the 17 faceoffs he took, a 78 percent rate.
“That’s just a normal game for Ned,” Maynard said. “He has been outstanding all year.”
Metcalf added two goals, as did Henry Merrow and Austin Cowan. Bennett Mosseau and Peter Sawitsky notched single tallies. Matt French made 10 saves, including seven in the first half after Con-Val tallied the first goal of the game.
According to Maynard, possession, shooting percentage and ground balls will be the keys to defeating the Hawks quarterfinal opponent, Kearsarge (10-6), whom they will face at home tomorrow.
No. 8 Kingswood 12,
No. 9 John Stark 8
The Generals (8-7) concluded their season with a loss to Kingswood (9-6) in a battle between two teams that previously had the same records. No details were reported.
No. 11 Windham 19,
No. 6 Bishop Brady 6
The Green Giants lost big in their first-round playoff matchup against the lower-seeded Jaguars (9-9).
The Jaguars offense exploded in the upset, as the Bishop Brady defense allowed more goals than it had in any single game in the regular season.
Windham plays No. 3 Hollis-Brookline (14-1) in the quarterfinals on Thursday. The Green Giants end the season with a 9-6 record.
No details were reported.
John Stark 3,
The Generals (10-4) lost the first two sets, 25-16 and 26-24, but rallied to win the final three by scores of 25-22, 25-22, 17-15 to win a close match over the pesky Vikings (3-11).
Highlights for John Stark in the victory were the play of setters Simon Becka (18 digs, 19 assists, three aces), Serge Boucher (25 assists, two kills) and Derek Clark (100 percent service). Ryan Sandmann (11 digs), Ryan Compagna (five kills, ace) and Brandon Dugay (three aces, five kills) also had perfect service, while fellow hitters Zach Grattan (12 kills, 10 blocks) and Carson Dunn (13 kills, four blocks, three aces) also played well.
Coe-Brown (6-9) lost to undefeated Salem (14-0) in straight sets, 25-17, 25-20 and 25-19. Leading the way for the Bears were Beau Pingree with 10 kills and 10 digs, Charlie Allan with 17 digs and Mike LeDuc with 10 digs and four assists.
Coe-Brown hosts a strong Londonderry (12-2) squad on Friday in its regular-season finale.