The good news for the Warwick Vets boys’ lacrosse team is that the defense seems to have found its footing quickly, despite plenty of inexperience.
The flip side is that the offense hasn’t quite caught up. On Thursday, the ’Canes suffered a rare shutout, losing 4-0 to Scituate.
Vets trailed just 1-0 at halftime and didn’t give up much more in the second, but with an offense that struggled to generate shots, never mind goals, the Spartans were far enough ahead. Dan Searle made eight saves in net to preserve the shutout.
“We just couldn’t generate any offense today, not to take anything away from how Scituate played,” said Vets head coach Fred Schweizer. “Defensively, we kind of have our feet on the ground but offensively it’s tough to get anything going because we have such inexperience.”
That’s been the story of the season thus far, as the ’Canes have scored three, six, two, five and zero goals in their five games. They’re off to a 1-4 start in Division III. Their one win came over first-year team North Providence, 6-5.
“I expected for there to be growing pains, absolutely,” Schweizer said. “We don’t have experience. We have some athletes, but guys who have never played lacrosse before are starting for us.”
Chris Defreitas kept Vets in the game most of the way, as he made 16 saves in net. Garrett Champagne had two goals to lead Scituate.
The first quarter was competitive on both ends early on, but Scituate got on the board in the final few minutes when Champagne found a cutting Christian Eminger directly in front, and Eminger found the back of the net.
In the second, Champagne fired a shot off the post four minutes in, but other than that, the quarter was mostly devoid of chances. The ’Canes struggled to maintain possession, with ground balls being the biggest culprit for turnovers.
“We’re having trouble on ground balls on a daily basis,” Schweizer said. “We’re just not picking them up, and that’s a game breaker right there.”
Vets got a decent look early on in the third quarter when the team’s leading scorer, Mickenzey Pacheco, took a hard shot on net, but Searle was there to knock it away.
The odds then got longer for the ’Canes, as Pacheco had to leave the game due to a prior commitment in the middle of the third. Already struggling to score, Vets had to play the rest of the game without a player who has scored the majority of the team’s goals.
“Mickenzey Pacheco had all five goals against Tiverton,” Schweizer said. “He’s really been our offensive force. Today he left in the third because he had to go. It makes a difference. One player makes a difference. He’s a captain, he’s a leader. We’re having trouble generating anything else from the offensive end.”
Late in the third, the Spartans got a big insurance goal when Champagne scooped up a ground ball after Vets lost possession while trying to clear, and he scored low on Defreitas. That made it 2-0, and it remained that way into the fourth quarter.
“Today was disappointing, because I expect us to compete a little bit better than we did today,” Schweizer said.
The fourth quarter was heavily controlled by Scituate, which got an early goal from Champagne to make it 3-0. Midway through, Michael D’Allesandro took off from midfield and made it all the way to the goal, where he beat Defreitas for the fourth goal.
Vets didn’t mount many more opportunities before the final buzzer sounded.
That brought an end to a disappointing day for Vets, but in terms of the big picture, Schweizer isn’t disappointed at all. It’s been a slow start, but there’s been improvement too.
“They never give up,” he said. “They continue to battle, they work hard every day and that’s going to generate good things for this team.”
The thought process is that Vets will be better toward the tail end of the season than it is now. It will have a good chance to earn its second win of the season on Thursday when it hosts winless East Providence at 3:30 p.m.
Hopes are still high.
“We’ve got to compete with the guys on the bottom and then try to get that eight spot, get into the playoffs and wreak some havoc there,” Schweizer said.