Head coach Kevin Murray still feels like the Bishop Hendricken lacrosse team has a ways to go, but if Monday’s rematch with Portsmouth is any indication, the Hawks have already come a long way.
On April 28, the Hawks traveled to Portsmouth and lost 16-7, falling to 1-3 on the season. On Monday, just over two weeks later, the Hawks welcomed Portsmouth to town and took control immediately on their way to a 14-4 victory.
It was the third win in four games for the Hawks, who improved to 4-4 and looked capable of putting things together in time for a playoff run.
“They stuck it to us the last time we played them,” Murray said. “I think we had that in our minds a little bit. The guys came ready to play tonight. We played with some intensity, which was good to see. I think when we play with intensity, we can be alright.”
The loss to Portsmouth on April 28 could be labeled as the season’s low point. Before that, the Hawks had lost close games to Barrington and La Salle, but they were blown out of the water by the Patriots, who were 1-2 at the time.
Since then, the Hawks have started to find their way. They bounced back from the loss with an 8-7 victory over Moses Brown and then beat Barrington 9-5.
On Saturday, they lost to first-place La Salle by an 11-7 score, but Monday’s victory represented another step in the right direction.
“We had figured it out a little bit, and then I think we took a little step back the other day against La Salle,” Murray said. “I give La Salle credit, but we didn’t play well. Today, we didn’t play well in the first half again. The defense played well. I think the offense didn’t play well. The good thing is, they’re a good team and they gave us a beating last game. We were able to take it to them today.”
The Hawks took control quickly against the Patriots, dominating possession in the early going and taking a 1-0 lead on a goal by Conor Garrahy with 7:15 left in the first quarter. Tyler Williams assisted.
Just 13 seconds later, Portsmouth went a man down and Hendricken took advantage. Garrahy scored again with 6:38 left, taking a pass in front and burying a shot for the 2-0 lead.
Later in the quarter, Jack Hendrickson scored on a bounce shot from near the edge of the box. Then, with 22 seconds left, Chris McKay carried the ball past the front of the net and whipped a left-handed shot past goalie Jacob Towers to make it 4-0.
While the Hawks were happy to have the early lead, they also felt it could be a lot bigger based on how many looks they were getting.
That’s where junior standout Alex Perreault came in. After Hendricken’s C.J. Marrinan and Portsmouth’s Brian Hillenbrand traded goals to make it a 5-1 game, Perreault torched the Patriots for three goals in a 44-second span.
The first came after Andrew Fera scooped the ball off a draw and found Perreault. He sprinted into the zone at full speed and ripped a shot on net that Towers had no chance to stop, making it 6-1 with 6:24 left.
Perreault then won the ensuing draw, carried the ball ahead, faked a pass and buried another goal just eight seconds after his previous tally. Then, with 5:40 left, Perreault sniped a shot between Towers and the near post to make it 8-1.
Just like that, the Hawks were firmly in control.
“When we make the extra pass, when we move the ball, we’re successful,” Murray said. “When we put the head down a little bit, then we’re not successful. If we make the passes, that’s where we excel. When we don’t have a lot of assists in games, we don’t win.”
Portsmouth made it 8-2 just before halftime, but the Hawks continued to stay in control. Playing with a two-man advantage early in the second half, the Hawks made it 9-2 on another goal by Garrahy. Later in the third, Hendrickson cut across the middle, took a pass from Scott Henry and scored for the 10-2 lead. Henry made it 11-2 with a goal at the 2:30 mark.
Dakota Hersey added two goals in the fourth quarter and Paul Trask had one as the Hawks put it on cruise control.
“It’s a nice win,” Murray said. “I’m not a celebrator at this point with the record we’ve got. I’m a realist. We’ve got some work to do. We’ve still got some young guys finding their way, but we’re getting better.”
Garrahy and Perreault led the offense with three goals each. Hersey had two goals and two assists, and Hendrickson also scored twice. Marrinan and Henry had a goal and an assist each, while McKay and Trask each scored once. Fera had two assists, while Williams, Jon Finelli, Dan Nolte and Billy DiGiuseppe had one apiece.
In net, Jon Petteruti made nine saves, and Chris Cesario came off the bench to make two saves in the late going.
The win kept the Hawks in third place in Division I, behind La Salle and Moses Brown. They were scheduled to play Moses Brown on Wednesday, with results unavailable at press time. After that, the Hawks host North Kingstown on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the season finale.
“If we win out, we probably end up in second, so we’ve still got it all in front of us,” Murray said. “We’re still a work in progress, but we tend to be there at the end, so we’ll see what happens. All you’ve got to do is give yourself a shot.”
The playoffs are scheduled to begin next Thursday.