Eagle boys’ lax opens with two losses vs. D-II opponents

MAV SENIOR ATTACKER Andrew Nolan absorbs a check from a Hartford defenders during the boys’ lacrosse game at Mount Abraham Tuesday afternoon. Independent photo/Steve James

BRISTOL — The Mount Abraham-Vergennes boys’ lacrosse team opened its season with high hopes for a run at the Division III title — and with two home games against tough D-II competition, in both of which the Eagles came up short. 

On this past Saturday, Stowe edged MAV, 13-12, in overtime. On Tuesday, Hartford, winner of two of the past three D-II titles, pulled away in the second half for a 13-5 victory. 

The Eagles will look to break through for their first win on Friday, when they visit another D-II team, St. Johnsbury. 

Eagle Coach Ed Cook found positives in the setbacks, including a rally from five goals down in the fourth quarter to force overtime vs. Stowe, and the ability to compete for long stretches on Tuesday with the defending D-II champs, undefeated a year ago and returning most of their key players. 

“They’re (Hartford) a great team. They’re coached really well,” Cook said. “And we hung with them for a half.”

MAV SOPHOMORE DEFENDER Cooper Cook moves up the field with two Hartford players in pursuit during Tuesday’s boys’ lacrosse game at Mount Abraham.
Independent photo/Steve James

Still, Cook acknowledged, as might be expected early in a season, the Eagles have some work to do on moving the ball up the field cleanly, winning ground ball battles, and taking better care of the ball in general. 

“I’m happy with their effort, but there are a lot of little things. Early on there were three or four failed clears in a row that led to probably two goals,” he said. “We played so well against Stowe in all of that stuff. We cleared the ball really well. We settled on offense.”

Cook also again credited Hartford:

“Today I think we just came in, and I think Hartford was in our heads from the beginning. When we did settle down we got good shots.”

The good news is the Eagles should be strong on defense this year in front of returning senior goalie Walker Forand, who made nine saves on Tuesday. Seniors Jordan Schroeder, Connor Kelly and Olin Kidder and sophomore Cooper Cook all had good moments on low defense, as did junior Spencer Gebo and freshman Levi Smith at long-stick middie and seniors Jamison Couture and Samuel Mangini and junior Jacob Prouty with short sticks defensively.

Especially given the constant pressure the Eagle back line faced vs. Hartford, the defenders held their own.

“I think our defense is going to carry us through a lot of games this year,” Cook said.

MAV SENIOR CONNOR Kelly defends Hartford attacker Ryan Spaulding during Tuesday’s lacrosse game at Mount Abraham.
Independent photo/Steve James

The tough early schedule should help MAV in the long run, something the team discussed on Tuesday, Cook added.

“Everything we do early in the season is to be able to be better in the playoffs,” he said. “I don’t see anyone in D-III having the D guys we have. Once our O guys get settled, I think once we get into the playoffs and into later in the season, we’re going to be a different team.”


Things started well enough during Tuesday’s 13-5 setback. Junior Lorenzo Atocha won the faceoff, the Eagles bolted down the field, and senior attacker Noah Ladeau bounced home a shot 22 seconds into the game. 

But the Eagles started to have trouble moving the ball up the field, and the Hurricanes scored the next four goals. At 9:44 Hartford attacker Ryan Spaulding scored directly after an Eagle turnover, and then Cavan Benjamin, Austin St. Peter and Brody Tyburski all found the net in the next eight minutes, and it was 5-1 with 3:11 left in the period.

The Eagles adjusted defensively and did not allow another score for 16 minutes, and they worked back into the game. Atocha won the faceoff after the fifth Hartford goal and bolted in to score himself, and with less than a minute to go in the period the Eagles scored a man-up goal. Junior Chase Atkins, stationed off the left post, deposited senior Andrew Nolan’s slick feed from the right sided, and it was 5-3 after one period.

Defense dominated most of the second period. After the Eagles failed to take advantage of two Hartford penalties, Atocha struck again with a nice dodge to make it 5-4 at 5:42.

But critically MAV did not score during another two-minute Hurricane penalty, and then Spaulding fired in two goals in the final 35.4 seconds, the second just beating the final horn to make it 7-4. 

EAGLE SENIOR ANDREW Nolan gets off a shot despite tight defense during Tuesday’s boys’ lacrosse game at Mount Abraham.
Independent photo/Steve James

And in the second half the Eagle offense continued to struggle, producing only a strong solo effort from Nolan in the fourth quarter. But that goal only closed the gap to 12-5, as Hartford had spent most of the half wearing down the Eagle defense. 

Ezra Mock tossed in all four of his goals after intermission to lead Hartford, adding an assist, and other major contributors for the visitors were Spaulding (three goals, assist), and Tyburski and Benjamin (two goals apiece). Goalie Graham Thompson finished with five saves for the Hurricanes.


On Saturday Stowe prevailed in overtime when Raider Liam Newhouse buried a rebound for the game-winner after Eagle goalie Conor Nason, filling in for Forand, had blocked two consecutive Stowe shots. 

That sequence came after Raider goalie Carter Getty denied two Eagle bids for the game-winner in the initial possession of overtime.

All that action came after MAV scored five straight goals in the fourth quarter to erase Stowe’s 12-7 lead and force the extra session.

EAGLE SOPHOMORE MIDFIELDER Joseph Sullivan fires at the Hartford goal during the boys’ lacrosse game at Mount Abraham on Tuesday.
Independent photo/Steve James

Ladeau and Nolan led Mount Abe with three goals each, Atocha scored twice, and Atkins, Lincoln Painter, Asa Pratt and Joe Sullivan chipped in a goal apiece for the Eagles. Couture added three assists for MAV, and Nason finished with 11 saves. 

Wyatt Sigler sparked Stowe with five goals and two assists, Newhouse scored three goals, and Leander Pinkham added a pair. Getty finished with six saves.

Cook was pleased with the effort and comeback against a good opponent.

“It was a great first game out,” he said. “We are picking up right where we left off last season.”

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