FOXBORO, Mass. – When the Foxboro boys lacrosse team made its season debut on Monday, the Warriors let a lead, and a win, slip away against Medway.
The Warriors studied their mistakes with a long film session on Tuesday, ready to right those wrongs in their Hockomock League opener against North Attleboro on Wednesday afternoon.
The study session paid off as Foxboro raced out to a 4-0 lead, killed three third-quarter penalties, and pulled away with a strong fourth quarter to pick up a convincing 9-2 win over the Rocketeers.
“We needed that bad, a bounce-back win,” said Foxboro head coach Matt Noone. “We had some big mental mistakes [on Monday] like sliding up field, not trusting the offense that we run. The film was better than anything we could have done on the field yesterday…Every day we’re going to get better.
“Right now, [North Attleboro] was us on Monday. Kevin [Young] is a great coach, they will rebound. “
The Warriors wasted little time to get things going. Just under two minutes into the game, junior Aidan Stapleton connected with classmate Shayne Kerrigan in front for a close finish and a 1-0 lead. Just two minutes later, Foxboro converted its second shot on net, this time off the stick of Pete Conley, who ripped a shot from distance up high.
North Attleboro struggled to keep possession when it did get into the offensive zone as the Warrior defense of Pat Stapleton, Ronnie MacLellan, and Will Morrison played strong man-to-man defense and didn’t allow any open cuts in front of the net.
Foxboro struck for quick back-to-back goals again inside a minute span late in the first quarter. Conley grabbed his first assist when he found sophomore Charlie Baughan right in front for an easy finish.
The Warriors made it 4-0 just 27 seconds later, fresh off a face-off win by Kerrigan (10 face-off wins). Senior Brendan Tully beat his defenseman and found some space before firing a shot into the back of the net.
“It was a tough start,” said North Attleboro coach Kevin Young. “We’ve played better [in the preseason] and I didn’t expect to give up that first quarter like that. They didn’t rebound, there wasn’t a lot of team play, a lot of team blame instead. We have some young kids but we’ve played much better than that.”
The Rocketeers did improve in the second quarter, winning an early face-off and getting on the scoreboard. Senior Damien Curtis went one-on-one and was able to find some space to fire a shot into the back of the net.
North Attleboro had a chance to add to its lead with a man-up opportunity with four minutes left in the half but couldn’t convert. Foxboro then went on a man-up chance and Baughan took a feed from Conley and scored to make it 5-1 heading into halftime.
Foxboro’s defense killed another Rocketeer man-up chance midway through the third quarter but North Attleboro cut into the deficit just over a minute later when junior Ryan Rajotte ripped a shot inside the near post.
“When it’s 5-2, you’re still in it,” Young said. “But [Foxboro] held the ball well, they controlled it, and Tully made some great saves and those are momentum changers If you go 5-3 or 5-4, you get some momentum. But too much hero ball, one guy driving and five guys watching. I think they got to the point where they didn’t want to make a mistake and that’s a recipe for disaster. Foxboro played great, you have to hand it to them. They were just better than us today.”
With a minute left in the third, Big Red had a two-man advantage for 30 seconds and a one-man up chance for the final 30 seconds but North Attleboro’s offense was only able to muster one shot and Foxboro freshman goalie Matt Tully (seven saves) made the stop.
“Our man down [defense] is pretty good,” Noone said as his side killed all four of its penalties. “They’ve been playing for me for a while so they know what we expect and how to run it. They talk, their sticks are up and they fly around. And the equalizer is Matty [Tully]. To kill that is a huge lift for the team.”
On the other side, Foxboro cashed in on an extra man chance early in the fourth quarter. Just seconds before the call was set to expire, Tully found Kerrigan for a shot from the right side that found its way to the back of the net.
Four minutes later, Tully really put the game out of reach with a strong individual effort. He backed his way down against a defender, and then went to his right as the double came and unleashed a hard shot that the goalie had no chance at stopping.
“They controlled the ball and then opened up the center,” Young said of Foxboro’s success. “They got four or five goals right around the crease. They were patient with it, they waited. They pushed two guys from behind and two guys up top, and they were just patient enough for those guys to open up.”
North Attleboro (0-1, 0-1) is back on the road on Friday against Wayland.