SHARON, Mass. – Heading into halftime of Tuesday morning’s game, Sharon had answered back from a Medway run and had managed to tie the game on Mark Bloom’s third goal of the half. The momentum was with the home team at the break, although the Mustangs started the third quarter man-up thanks to a penalty at the halftime whistle.
Medway scored on that man-up situation, then a minute later added a second. Then it was another EMO goal for the Mustangs to make it 10-7 and then another on a locked in, two-minute penalty. When the dust settled on the third quarter, Medway had broken open a tied game and taken a six-goal lead.
“In the first half, we played with a lot of heart and a lot of intensity and I’m not really sure what it was…they popped in a couple of quick ones and the wheels kind of fell off,” said Sharon coach Peter DeSisto.
The third quarter run was enough to hand Medway a 15-9 road win and continue Sharon’s struggles at the start of the season.
DeSisto said, “It just kind of snowballs. Defense is getting beat, offense is trying to go to the cage every time we touch it, so we just need to get better at our mental toughness.”
The Eagles showed resiliency in the first half. Bloom scored a pair of goals in the opening three minutes of the game to give Sharon a lead and Matt Cancian scored the first of his three goals to make it 3-1, but then Medway answered right back with five straight to lead 6-3 with 4:38 left to halftime.
The Eagles did not panic and started chipping away at the lead. Sophomore Brett Litner received a pass from Craiog Titus in the heart of the Medway defense, spun, and scored to make it 6-4. Thirty seconds later, Cancian scooped a ground ball in the attacking zone and drove at the cage before finishing past Medway goalie Tanner Pearl.
With 1:09 left in the half, Titus had his shot blocked by a defender in front, but the ricochet took it right to Cancian and the senior fired it home to tie the game. Evan Rackliff regained the lead for Medway but again Sharon had a response with Bloom taking a pass from Spencer Hall and taking his time to line up a rip and make it 7-7.
“It’s definitely there,” said DeSisto. “We have flashes where we’ve played as one team and when we do that we’re a dangerous team but when we don’t, just like any other team, we’re not a very good team when we play as individuals.”
Coming out of the break with an EMO, Medway took its time and scored with three seconds remaining on the penalty. Junior Jeffery Wenzel then added a third quarter hat trick to turn the lead from one goal to four. After a 2:00 penalty against the Eagles, Ben Steinhoff added his second of the quarter to make it 12-7.
“It absolutely kills us,” said DeSisto about the penalties, “and it just adds on to that discouragement that guys feel when we can’t possess the ball for a minute at a time because of all the penalties. That goes along with mental toughness; guys are getting frustrated and they start taking stupid penalties.”
Offensively, the Eagles started to grow impatient as the deficit widened. Cancian, Bloom, and Josh Rotman continued to get into decent positions but were not able to beat Pearl from distance. As the Mustangs continued to tack on goals, Sharon’s offense grew increasingly one-on-one.
“That’s one of our toughest challenges,” said DeSisto. “We do have a young defense, so it’s not unusual for us to go down a couple goals ion a short amount of time, but we just need to learn that it’s okay, it’s lacrosse, it’s the nature of the game, and we just need to be patient and play our game.”
The defensive unit, including freshman Coleman Loftus, sophomore Zach Reingold, junior Jared Zunenshine, and freshman LSM Sam Spencer, lacks varsity experience and the Medway attack took advantage.
Medway added a goal late in the third and Jake Tomsik turned and beat junior goalie Dan Spelfogel (six saves) to make it 14-7 early in the fourth. Titus scored with a lefty rip to end the run for the Mustangs, but Ross Cooperstein came right back with another goal.
The Eagles would wrap up the scoring with 1:59 remaining on arguably the prettiest goal of the day, even if it was only a consolation. Rotman played the ball to the edge of the crease and Jack Lesser took a quick touch before depositing a low-angle, behind-the-back shot past Pearl.
Sharon (1-4) will try to get on track on Thursday against Taunton.
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.