AVON LAKE — Avon Lake knew 2014 would be a season of firsts as the lacrosse team makes the transition from a club sport to full varsity status, but even the most optimistic of the Shoremen may not have expected the first win of the year to come this soon.
Avon Lake scored five first-quarter goals and goalkeeper Matt Schneider and the Shoremen’s defense put up an impenetrable wall in the second half, allowing just one Hawken goal over the final 24 minutes in a stunning 9-7 home win over the experienced Hawks.
The Shoremen scored exactly two minutes into the game on a goal by Trent Glasser. It was just the beginning of a big night for Glasser, a junior attacker, who finished with two goals and two assists.
“We’ve been working some plays in practice and we were able to execute them and get some nice early goals,” Glasser said. “I think we were able to surprise them with our fast start. Hawken probably expected to come up and easily beat us, but we stepped up and showed them what we could do.”
Hawken committed four time-serving penalties in the first quarter and Shoreman junior midfielder Michael Morrisson made them pay, scoring two goals in man-up situations to extend the lead to 4-2.
The Hawks (0-1) answered with four second-quarter goals, including one from Adam Stilson with :03 left in the half to pull to within one, 7-6. Hawken never led in the game.
“We were able to create space on the man-up and that allowed our shooters to get their hands free and get off some good shots,” Glasser said.
The Shoremen were 2-of-6 in man-up situations while Hawken was 0-of-3.
Midfielder Justin Rinaldi scored 34 seconds into the third quarter to give the Shoremen a two-goal lead and then the defense did the rest.
Schneider made numerous saves early in the fourth quarter on wide-open shots from the edge of the crease to preserve the lead and set the tone for the remainder of the game.
“I just went back to basics of defense. Get my body in front of the ball and my defense did the rest,” said Schneider, who had 12 saves for the game. “I didn’t let the pressure of the game get to me. I forget about the goals that I let in and always act like the score is 0-0.”
Chandler Anthony, Nicholas Alonso, A.J. Outcalt and Connor Schraff also scored for Avon Lake. Schraff also had two assists.
“Our coaches told us that Hawken is a more skilled team and we know about the tradition of lacrosse at their school,” Schneider said. “But we controlled the things we could control. Running hard to every loose ball and playing hard defense. That was all we need to do.
“It’s incredible to be able to go out and do this in our first game of the year.”
The Shoremen were able to control all facets of the game, winning 11 faceoff to Hawken’s nine. They were also able to control the ball in the box for the final minute of the game, avoiding a turnover or a stalling call that would have given the Hawks at least one more possession.
“We’ve learned from our coaches that possessions win games. The team that is able to maintain possessions usually comes out ahead,” Glasser said.
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Avon Lake 9, Hawken 7
Hawken 2 4 0 1 — 7
Avon Lake 5 2 1 1 — 9
Goals: (H) Zach Goodman 2, Charlie Hruby 2, Adam Stilson 2, Josh Weil; (AL) Trent Glasser 2, Michael Morrisson 2, Chandler Anthony, Nicholas Alonso, A.J. Outcalt, Connor Schraff, Justin Rinaldi.
Shots on goal: H – 19, AL – 18. Faceoffs: H – 9, AL – 11. Goalkeepers: (H) Eddie Wilde 9 saves; (AL) Matt Schneider 12 saves.