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Bedford’s big second half ousts Bow lacrosse in semifinals

EXETER – According to Ross Mondello, possession of the ball would be key to controlling the pace of the game. His Bow boys’ lacrosse team responded to that message. Playing with a fiery energy as hot as the weather, the No. 4 Falcons scored the first three goals of the game en route to a 4-1 halftime lead.

But Bedford showed its poise as defending champions, taking advantage of some Bow miscues in transition and very efficient shooting to take a 5-4 lead after the third quarter to earn a spot in the Division II championship with an 8-6 victory last night.

“We thought that if we could keep it low-scoring in the first half, we might have a chance in the second,” Mondello said.

For the first 24 minutes, Bow certainly accomplished that. Bedford’s potent offense came out strong in the first 50 seconds, hitting the post, but after that the Falcons (11-5) took control with patient play on offense and a strong midfield defense, led by Dan Crisman, Colby Desmarais, Alexander Reitze, Tyler Herrick and Riley Keenan, to keep No. 1 Bedford (a team that has scored 15 or more goals in 11 games) off the scoreboard until 1:51 remained in the first quarter.

“All of our middies stepped up today. As coaches, our goal was to play defense first and offense second,” Mondello said.

Matt Sanford (two goals) and Crisman (three goals) each scored to put the Falcons up 2-0 after the first quarter. Bow started the second just as strong. Keenan won the opening faceoff and four plays later scored to put the Falcons up 3-0 just 50 seconds into the quarter.

The Falcons continued to control possession of the ball and the pace of the game, with attackman Devin Calkins having several chances, until Bedford (20-0) finally put together a sustained possession with three minutes to go in the half. A flurry of activity in front of Falcons goaltender Travis Beauchain eventually paid off, with Bedford scoring its first goal of the contest after Beauchain made three saves and faced another shot that went off the post. Sanford responded in the final 30 seconds with his second goal of the game to put the Falcons up 4-1 at halftime.

After the break, Bedford showed why it hasn’t lost a game in almost two years. Bulldog attackman Kyle Jones potted two goals 50 seconds apart to bring the game back to 4-3. Bedford continued to sustain possession, working the ball around the net, scoring two more goals and giving Bedford its first lead of the game, 5-4, after three.

By the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs had Bow’s number.

“In the first half, we were able to get it out quick, and in the second half we wanted to keep that same pace,” Mondello said, referring to his team’s transitional play. “But they keyed in down low and we were forced to use poles and make long passes. But the space wasn’t there and that created turnovers.”

Beauchain (11 saves) continued to play well against Bedford’s top-quality shooting, but the offense twice found him and defenders out of position, scoring two easy open-net goals off intercepted passes.

Crisman scored two goals in the fourth quarter, including one with 1:57 left in the game to make it 8-6, but Bedford killed the clock to earn its 39th straight win and the right to play for a second straight championship.

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