Week of 5/9 Lacrosse Rundown

As we enter the final stretch of the lacrosse season, there are many teams in the hunt for the top spot in New England. For the second week in a row, however, Deerfield have maintained their small lead on the rest of the pack. In other words, their fate is in their hands for if they go 4-0 to end the year, they will certainly snatch the title. In the mean time, the teams behind them will take care of their own business while hoping for a loss by the Big Green. Here’s where things stand:

#2(2) Deerfield (11-1)

Three games in one week? No problem for the Big Green who rolled through Larenceville, Hotchkiss, and NMH by outscoring them 48-14. On the home field of the #4 ranked Yale Bulldogs in the NCAA tournament, Deerfield poured in 14 goals to snap the Big Red’s three game win streak en route to their fourth straight victory. On the biggest stage they’ve played on this year, they were able to pull out a gritty 15-11 win that did not matter anywhere but the national rankings.

The Big Green will relax one more game against the 1-8 Kent Lions on Wednesday before their schedule ramps up again when they travel to Avon on Saturday. Surely, though, Deerfield is looking ahead to the critical game against Salisbury which could very much decide if they claim the New England title. If not, they have those very Crimson Knights, Brunswick Bruins, and TP Pride right on their heels.

#3(3) Brunswick (12-2)

The Bruins had to deal with a pesky Wild Boar squad in their first game of the week. Choate simply would not go away every time Brunswick seemed as if they put the game away. This was especially true when they took a commanding 13-8 lead halfway through the final frame. Choate, however, would go on to score four straight goals to cut the deficit to one with just over 45 seconds to play. With the game on the line, Brunswick won the crucial ensuing face-off to give the Bruins possession. This lead to the clincher scored by Alex Buckanavage ’16 (Michigan) for his second of the game. That goal can be seen here.

That win, coupled with their sound 11-2 defeat of Westminster, kept the Bruins in the number three spot for the third straight week as they continue to nip at Deerfield’s heels. They will need some help in the form of a couple of Deerfield losses in order to pass the Big Green as that early season 13-10 defeat looks ever-mroe prominent. But first, Brunswick faces a daunting week with three games against tough opponents. First, they host #73 Avon at home on Wednesday. The weekend then brings two away games at #10 Salisbury and #7 Trinity-Pawling on back to back days (Friday and Saturday.) Woof, they are surely kicking themselves for that scheduling now, but it certainly serves as a great task to prove they are the best team in New England.

#6(4) Taft (10-3)

Taft flexed their offensive muscles this week with back to back 20+ goal outings. That spark was lead by Kyle Salvatore ’17 and Michael Kraus ’16 (Virginia) who scored nine and eight goals, respectively. The 20-7 and 21-15 wins, however, both started from behind as they faced early 3-2 and 7-2 deficits against Kent and Berkshire.

Their offense eventually took hold, though, and the Rhinos stormed back to win both by large margins. These slow starts have doomed the Rhinos in their losses though and could be looked at as a fatal flaw this season.

Taft will face two tough Founders League rivals this week against Salisbury and Loomis. These are must win games as both teams currently sit behind them in the rankings, but not by much. They start Wednesday at home where they will look to get ahead early and stay there.

#7(10) Trinity-Pawling (9-2)

TP is rolling again after their stumble against Berkshire. Their win on Saturday was a particularly big statement as they thoroughly beat up on the defending champion Winged Beavers, coming away with an 8-1 lead at halftime. They dominated possession and face-offs as Avon was scrambling on defense on almost every play. The same was true of the game against Millbrook when they took an 8-2 halftime lead en route to a 13-3 win. The final against Avon was 11-5.

The Pride face a difficult week against Founders League rival Choate on Wednesday and the dangerous Brunswick Bruins on Saturday. The Wild Boars have given a lot of top teams trouble of late and just beat Berkshire who TP lost to. Brunswick bring their own dangers, but TP luckily gets them on the back end of two straight games where they play Salisbury in the first leg. They will certainly take any advantage they can get hosting the current third ranked team in New England.

#10(8) Salisbury (8-2)

This past Saturday, Salisbury traveled to Kent and came away with an 18-3 victory. The Knights record so far this season is 8-2.  The Knights have now won six games in a row due to a few losses in the beginning of the season. Salisbury also recently faced Northfield Mount Hermon and came out with a huge win, 15-1. Eric Zimm came out with a hat trick, and Amos Gilbert & Alex Ives each put two balls in the back of the net. A whopping eight other players also scored. Joe Newman also won all 12 face-offs that he took.

The Crimson Knights face a huge stretch now that will prove whether they are for real or not. That kicks off on Wednesday when they travel to #6 Taft. A win there would vault them over the Rhinos in the rankings. Just two days later, Salisbury welcome the even better Brunswick Bruins in a Friday night lights duel. That result will make the title picture a lot clearer.

#73(51) Avon Old Farms (8-2)

The Winged Beavers saw two tough games last week as they travel to Hotchkiss School to play the Bearcats to a 7-6 game. Avon’s Andrew Horn (Vermont) and Ryan Lanchbury (Richmond), who scored a hat trick, were both featured on ESPN’s Sports Center Top 10 as they took the top spot with an incredible behind the back pass.

Besides that play, though, the Winged Beavers struggled against a 1-8 Bearcat squad they should have been able to easily handle if they hope to compete. A win is a win, though, and Avon maintained their one loss record.

That changed when AOF  traveled to highly ranked Trinity-Pawling School. Their first real tough matchup of the year did not go in the Winged Beavers’ favor as they were outscored 8-1 in the first half and wound up losing 11-5. They continue their tough stretch on Wednesday at Greenwich, CT to play #3 Brunswick. A win there would definitely make up for the bad showing at TP, and even more so if Avon can beat Deerfield at home on Saturday. It’s an uphill battle for the Winged Beavers, can they come out on top?

#80(95) Loomis Chaffee (6-7)

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Credit: Dave Kavanaugh

The Pelicans continued their inconsistent season with a win and a loss this past week. They kept then hot Westminster School to a close 8-6 final score, but that will be a key defeat as Loomis stands at just 2-2 in Founders League play. They responded well to that tough defeat with a great showing up in Massachusetts against Andover which ended in a 15-6 victory. The 15 goals marked their third best offensive showing of the year and their first in over two weeks. They will surely hope to maintain that momentum going into the final stretch.

The Pelicans will enjoy two simpler games against Williston and NMH on Wednesday and Friday. Then, unfortunately, it ramps right back up again on Saturday on the second leg of a back to back when they host Founders League rival #6 Taft.

 

#106(107) Choate (5-4)

Last week Choate pulled of a great Upset with a win over Taft in a 10-8 victory. With two big games to make or break their season they had two tough games back to back.

Choate Traveled to Brunswick CT to play a battle testes Bruins squad. On a close game all the way through they weren’t able to pull it out, losing 13-11. Then they played Berkshire in a very exciting game.

With a OT win they have momentum going into their next slate of games. They play a very good Trinity Pawling team, and a Hotckiss team that is looking to rebound.

#109(93) Westminster (4-5)

Westminster pulled off the upset of the week last week when they beat the Winged Beavers in a close low scoring game. This week however they Traveled to Loomis and traveled to Brunswick.

The Loomis game was close, an 8-6 win. “Max Powers ’17 (game ball) made 15 saves, leading another tough defensive effort at home vs. an athletic team from Loomis on a rainy Wednesday afternoon.” “Mike Guerin ’16 and Myles Hamm ’18 each scored twice, and Smyth had two assists.” With their attack dominating the game they were able to take advantage of the slower Loomis defenders.

However their luck soon changed when they went down to Brunswick. They lost 11-2 to one of the best teams in New England. This was the Headmasters cup game, a tradition at Brunswick. Westy looks to bounce back against Berkshire and Kent.

#322(281) Hotchkiss (1-8)

Hotchkiss is having quite some trouble this season as they currently stand with a 1-8 record. More than half of the 32 boys on the team are new this year, and it seems like they just haven’t found a way to play together. Saturday they took a loss against Deerfield, 3-17. They have not been able to find the back of the net much of late as in their past three games they’ve come out with just two, six, and only three tallies apiece. Their only win of the season so far was a shutout, 13-0, against Northfield Mount Hermon. This Saturday they will travel to Choate for a 1 PM start.

#355(295) Kent (1-8)

Kent’s struggles continued this week with disappointing performances against top ranked teams Taft and Salisbury. Fortunately for the Lions, there is no relegation in the Founders League as they look ahead to next season. For now, through, they will try to play spoiler against a very talented Deerfield squad on Wednesday and then again on Saturday when they travel to Westminster. In order for them to squeeze out a couple wins the offense must improve as they have only scored above eight goals once this season.

By Jake de Saint Phalle, Henry Spearman, Bart Gardella, and Paige Madigan

Note: Featured image credited to Bob Luckey