After a humbling loss to our rivals form Hebron the Phoenix boys took to the road this past weekend for Epping New Hampshire. Back to back games they faced two new opponents never before seen on the lacrosse field; Dublin on Friday and Winchendon Saturday.
The Dublin matchup took place on a cold wet Friday and as misery tried to set in on the boys they muscled it away. On top of the depression conditions, the depth of the teams roster took hits from missing a starting attackmen and two guys from midfield. Thus the workload was placed on the backs of our midfielders whom took their short lived breaks not on the bench, but on the offensive side of the field. Action happened quickly for the Phoenix when Adian Bristow (’16) found the first goal on a great backdoor cut within the first few minutes of tipoff. Second to join the scoring ranks was captain Mike Harris (’15) whom finished with 6 tally’s on the day.
Protecting our net a new defensemen took the field, Upham Davis (’16), snatching two groundballs to hit stats and helped keep the opposition form starting to establish momentum. Andrew Davis (’15) showed legs in the transition game traveling all the way from our end on a clear and earned an assist on a fast break goal from Harris. Top groundball from the defensive end goes to Jesse Higgins (’16) notching 5, with key plays also within the clearing game of the Phoenix. In net Noah Horning (’15) saved 10 shots on the day.
To our workhorses in the midfield there were several standout performances. No longer looking new to the game of lacrosse Brandon Nelson (’17) saw lots of playing time and even scored his first goal ever in his career on the field. Groundballs were sucked up by vacuums Adian Sperry (’15) and Sam Zanta (’15) combining a total 16 of the teams 41 on the day. Zanta also had an impressive day at the faceoff winning 14 of 20 draws. Finishing the day the boys walked off the field with a 17-2 win. Glimpses of the teams’ potential showed throughout the game and there was a fever to attain and execute it in the next days matchup against Winchendon.
Saturdays’ forecast looked more promising than Friday as the boys rose from overnight stays at the Adelmans and Morans; partly sunny, and high of 55. Spring seemed to have actually arrived, yet it was stifled with gusting winds that chilled the players, coaches and spectators alike. Again the team was having none of flak Mother Nature was dishing them and got their minds right during warm ups for another match up against a new opponent; Winchendon.
Stronger in numbers from Friday the team went in with all of the starting attackmen and a full bench at midfield. Right out the gate off a faceoff win from Sam Zanta (’15) captain Adian Sperry (’15) took the first goal of the game with a beautiful overhand shot. Leading the team again with 5 groundballs Sperry was key in the transition game keeping control on the offensive side of the field. Poised possessions on offense quarterbacked by our other captain Mike Harris (’15) along with quick ball movement shifted the momentum of the game to the Phoenix. No longer just seeing glimpses of the teams’ potential, it was clear the boys were playing as the family and firing on all cylinders. Dylan Budd (’16) another newcomer to the sport was a menace on the crease moving constantly and cutting to get open. His hard work paid off and he found his first ever lacrosse goal in the first half. Composed play from the offense allowed 6 different players to find the net at the end of the day.
Further proof of the teams’ gelling came from solid defensive performances by the starting poles Isacc Higgins (’15), Andrew Davis (’15) and Jesse Higgins (’16) who initiated 12 of the team successful clears. Aiding them at midfield standouts came from Brandon Nelson (’17) and Ryan Moran (’15) who shut down every opposing player they faced on the day. Between the pipes Noah Horning (’15) grabbed another 10 solid saves keeping the score to a dominating 9-1 finish.
The trip south although long and tiring proved to be a great experience for the Phoenix. Finally the team played as a family and built up confidence propelling them into the season. Big thank yous go out again to the Adelman and Moran families for opening their homes to the team to help make the trip more bearable and foster further team bonding. Next matchup takes place Monday against Mount Ararat at home.