Eagle boys’ lacrosse tripped up by Raiders

BRISTOL — The Mount Abraham-Vergennes collective boys’ lacrosse team showed flashes of sound play vs. visiting U-32 on Tuesday, but the Eagles’ lack of experience — and recent practice time — also showed as the Raiders came away with a 13-6 victory.
The Eagles graduated several key players and are relying on freshmen, sophomores and newcomers to play major roles up and down the field. And Coach Ed Cook noted Tuesday’s game was just their second of the spring and first since April 10, and it came after a vacation that saw too many Eagles away to allow regular practices.
“This is our second game and we haven’t played since the 10th, almost  a month. And we had two practices after guys were back around vacation,” Cook said. “We’re young, a sophomore and a freshman starting on D. We’re inexperienced.”
Still, for most of the game the Eagles were competitive. But the Raiders got a goal late in the first half to take a 6-3 lead, and then scored three goals in the first 2:41 of the third quarter, the first a lucky one in which a Raider near the Eagle goal missed a pass, crossing up Eagle goalie Grady Brokaw (11 saves, including several tough ones). The ball deflected off the Raider stick and bad-hopped into the net 53 seconds into the period.
EAGLE MIDFIELDER WILL Crawford and U-32’s Max Kissner both look for the ball, which had just squirted from under their sticks during Tuesday’s game in Bristol. U-32 won, 13-6.
Independent photo/John S. McCright
The Raiders then got transition goals from Luca Montore and defender Jared Vincent in the next two minutes to take a 9-3 lead and force Cook to call for time. Runs like that are not uncommon in lacrosse, and Cook wanted to remind his team of that fact.
“They got one fluky goal. It was just a pass that bounced between Grady’s legs. We haven’t played enough lacrosse yet to handle adversity well. So when we get two, three goals scored against us quickly it’s tough for us to recover from that,” he said.
The Eagles did settle in after the timeout and played competitively the rest of the way.
Early on, the Eagles traded goals with the Raiders. U-32’s Austin Bresett struck first, but senior middie Sam Paradee scooped the faceoff, raced to the top of the box and beat Raider goalie Max Kissler (11 saves) from long range.  
Hunter Solomon restored the Raider lead by curling from behind the net at 6:47, but attacker Lucas Livingston equalized at 2:08, from Paradee, who bounced a long pass from the right side to Livingston off the left post. Raider Calvin Myka-Smith then gave his team the lead for good at 1:33 of the first.
As the second opened Brokaw denied Solomon from point-blank range, but Brokaw could not stop Solomon’s man-up shot from the left side at 8:46. Montore made it 5-2 in transition at 7:05.
Both goalies made multiple saves before Eagle freshman middie Griffin Paradee tossed in a sidearm shot from long-range at 2:21 to cut the lead to two, but Josh Farber restored U-32’s three-goal lead at 1:55.
Then things went awry for the Eagles as the second half opened. Even after Cook’s time-out the Raiders stretched the lead to 11-3, although Eagle defenders Mason Wood, Jonas Schroder and Quincy Cook were beginning to sort things out.
Late in the period Livingston converted a spinning move off the left side to make it 11-4, with Phoenix King getting credit for the assist. In the fourth the Raiders added two more goals in the first five minutes, with Zachary Schneider and Trevor Day doing the honors.
But the Eagles kept plugging, and tacked on two late goals, with Griffin Paradee again finding the net from long range, and attackers Ryan Rougier (pictured, left) and Neo Weaver combining for a hustle goal in the final minute. Weaver dove to push a loose ball across the crease to Rougier at the left post, and Rougier lunged to push it home.
With more practice time and seasoning Cook believes the Eagles could surprise in the May 26 rematch at U-32. 
“I think we can be competitive with U-32,” Cook said. “We need a little time.”
One thing he might do to spark the offense is move Sam Paradee from long-stick middie to the attack. Paradee already picks up a short stick to quarterback the Eagles’ man-up unit.
“He’s got the highest lacrosse IQ on the field, but he’s only seeing half of it. So it’s in the works. We might try him on offense just to create a little bit,” Cook said. “When he’s on our man-up, good things happen.”
Cook is confident the Eagles, who like other Division III teams from this past spring were merged into D-II this season, will do well against a number of opponents on their schedule.
“As the season goes on we’re going to get much better,” he said. “We’ll settle in.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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