Tiger boys’ lax outlasts Lakers

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury Union High School boys’ lacrosse team did enough on Tuesday to get past visiting Colchester, bolting to an early five-goal lead and putting it on cruise control to come away with a 10-7 victory over the Lakers.
The Tigers improved to 5-2 heading into more challenging home games, one against undefeated Champlain Valley that was played on Wednesday after the deadline for this issue, and another against 6-1 Essex on Friday.
Coach Brian Carpenter acknowledged the Tigers, who this spring have consistently won the games they should win, were probably thinking ahead to those matchups as much as they were focusing on the 1-6 Lakers on Tuesday.
As a result, they probably didn’t play their best, Carpenter said, while also crediting Colchester for playing hard and showing some talent.
“I think the guys were looking past the game,” Carpenter said. “The record for Colchester is worse than they are as far as their athleticism. They’ve got some really athletic kids.”
Still, the result moved the Tigers into fifth place in Division I, and Carpenter said the Tigers’ overall trend is pointing upward.
“A win is a win, and the team continues to improve,” he said.
Senior MUHS attacker Jack Donahue put on a show in the first quarter, scoring four times, one on a bang-bang assist from junior attacker Kolby Farnsworth with the Tigers a man-up, as MUHS took a 4-1 lead.
Laker middie Alex Daigneault beat Tiger first-period goalie Cam Devlin midway through the period, but Devlin stopped the other three shots he faced before giving way to freshman Jack Rizzo (10 saves) for the rest of the game.
Donahue struck again early in the second with another strong solo move, but the Tiger attack began to bog down a bit, and Laker goalie Camden LeClair made a couple of his 13 saves. The only other goal in the quarter came from Laker Brayden Wilkins, who whipped home a laser from the left side at 5:47 to make it 5-2.
The scoring pace picked up again in the third, when the Tigers threatened to pull away. Goals by Farnsworth, on a crease roll, and junior middie Ben Crawford, a man-up strike from the top of the box, made it 7-2 at 9:36. Laker Patrick Flaherty cashed in on a Tiger penalty at 8:40, but Donahue responded with his sixth and final goal, another slick move on the right side, at 6:31, to make it 8-3.
Again the Tiger offense slowed, thanks in part to penalties and to a point-blank save by LeClair on freshman Logan Pierson-Flagg, and Daigneault’s second goal made it 8-4 after three periods. It could have been closer, but the Lakers twice hit posts late in the quarter.
At 10:16 of the third Laker middie Luke Matthews ran unmolested in from midfield to make it 8-5. The Tigers then got a key goal from Farnsworth at 6:30 with the Lakers a man down. Donahue hit Farnsworth from the top of the box cutting left to right across the crease, and Farnsworth went behind the back for the four-goal lead.
Down the stretch Wilkins tossed in another bomb to cut the lead to 9-6 at 4:18, but Tiger sophomore middie Ethan Kent’s goal in the final minute made it 10-6 before Laker Devin Mulac beat the buzzer from a Flaherty feed to create the final score.
Despite the closer-than-expected final the Tigers still controlled much of the play and earned edges of 45-22 in ground balls (senior middie Sam Hodges led the way with seven) and 11-7 in draw controls (freshman Mason Kaufmann won six of nine).
Carpenter said Donahue and Farnsworth have been productive on the attack; Devlin has been solid in goal; the veteran low defense of senior Fyn Fernandez, junior Derek Felkl and sophomore Quinn Berry, plus senior long-stick middie Tyler Giorgio, has been steady; and the midfield has held its own.
“We’ve got two solid midfield lines. They’re running the field with any team, and they’re working hard to generate some offense,” Carpenter said. “We got a couple goals from them today.”
Intangibles have also helped, he said.
“They have a really good esprit. There’s really good support from the bench. All the guys are cheering each other on,” Carpenter said. “This team’s got a lot of potential.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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