Leominster Shakes Off Rust, Routs Fitchburg
LEOMINSTER -- There aren’t many ways to start off a season better than the way the Leominster boys’ lacrosse team started its spring Thursday evening.
An eight-goal explosion in the second quarter gave the Blue Devils necessary separation against visiting Fitchburg, and they coasted the rest of the way en route to a 16-2 win over the Red Raiders at historic Doyle Field.
Anthony Larson and Zach Moran each recorded hat tricks for the Blue Devils, with Larson adding four assists. Nathan Taylor, Zane Dawson, Cam Dewolf and Therron Glynn each potted two for LHS.
Leominster, which will host Marlboro here on Tuesday, held a 2-0 lead after the first, but didn’t have the ground ball battle won. Fitchburg, which also had a solid amount of possession after Taylor’s opener, just couldn’t seem to get anything going as Leominster’s Connor Marchand pestered Colin Dudek (goal) out on the wing.
But in the second quarter, the script flipped: Leominster out-ground-balled the Raiders, 13-1, in that quarter, and saw six different players score for the Blue and White.
“I think we would have preferred to be a little bit better in the first quarter, but we got it fixed before halftime,” said longtime Leominster coach Colin Davis. “Second quarter was very good defensively. You know, I thought we played great all night. I thought all three of our goalies played great, all of our defensemen.
“And then we’re really good as the faceoff X, too. That helped us dominate possession, helped us wear out their good players. We were just dominating possession between Larson and Lucas Taylor and all our wings getting in there on the ground balls. It was great to see. Great to see a lot of guys scoring tonight.”
Fitchburg coach Gaetano Giambrocco explained how he saw things.
“We were winning the battle (in the first), and if you win the ground-ball battle, you win the time-of-possession battle -- and sadly we weren’t getting the shots on net. If you win those three phases, it’s going to be closer game,” he said. “But after the first quarter, the wheels kind of fell off.
“Everything kind of runs through our attack, and their defense, credit to them, they were physical, they were fast, they were on our hands, and on a cold night that plays right into their into their strength, so it was a tough day.”
Larson opened the scoring 1:11 into the second on an interception -- something he did twice during football season against Fitchburg on Thanksgiving Eve here -- which saw him race in and dump it in beyond FHS goalie Austin Manning (6 saves).
Dewolf then scored his first of two nearly two and a half minutes later, coming around from Manning’s right shoulder and popping it in from a rather obtuse angle.
Moran then fed Glynn 64 seconds later.
Leominster then pulled off two goals five seconds apart, as LJ Van Molle scored off a Larson pass, before DeWolf won the ensuing faceoff, raced in through the sleepy FHS defense and popped in the Blue Devils’ seventh.
Larson would score off the 10th ground ball of the second, before Dawson rounded out the second with a pair of goals, the first off a Ryan Aiesi pass, the second from Larson.
“Part of (the second quarter) was just waking up, shaking the rest off. But the other part of it was getting back to fundamentals: getting low, scooping through, exploding through the ball, and using that momentum to carry us into offense. And once we started doing that, everything else just fell into place,” Davis said.
Leominster added five goals to the tally in the third, with Kenny Aubuchon moving into the cage for LHS in lieu of starter Evan Falandys, who had made two saves in 24 minutes. Aubuchon had one save, but let in both Fitchburg goals by Dudek and Kobe Louangsabouth (goal, assist).
Fitchburg takes on Oakmont Regional Tuesday at Nikitas Field.