The Hendricken lacrosse team played La Salle better than anybody has so far this season on Friday night, but that still wasn’t quite good enough to knock off the Rams.
The Hawks overcame a tough second quarter to tie the game at seven midway through the third quarter, and they trailed by only a goal early in the fourth before La Salle pulled away for a 14-9 victory.
The Rams had outscored their first two opponents this season 41-6, but they weren’t able to put together that type of performance against Hendricken. And even as somebody not usually searching for moral victories, Hendricken head coach Kevin Murray was pleased for the most part with how the Hawks played.
“I’m not one of those guys that says we’re going to get better as the year goes on, because I want to be better now,” Murray said. “But I think we need a little bit more maturing, and the guys are playing hard.”
Hendricken is now 1-1, as it opened the season with a 14-7 victory over Portsmouth on Wednesday. La Salle is 3-0 – 2-0 in Division I – and is the only unbeaten team in the division. Everyone else is 1-1, except for 0-2 Portsmouth.
In fact, the Rams haven’t lost a game since 2011. They went unbeaten last year and won the state championship. The Hawks, though, gave them a run.
“We’ve got some talented guys across the board,” Murray said. “I think it’s just a matter of us getting a little bit on the same page.”
The first quarter was even across the board, as the score was 2-2 and possession was fairly equal. The Rams took the early lead on a man-up goal by Brady O’Donnell, before Hendricken’s Alex Perreault tied it on a hard shot from deep. The Hawks then took their first – and only – lead of the night on a goal by C.J. Marrinan who spun his way to the net on the left side, but La Salle came right back to tie the score on another goal from O’Donnell.
In the second quarter, things didn’t go quite as smoothly for the Hawks. Tyler Williams scored on an underhand shot from right in front at the 8:58 mark, and the floodgates suddenly opened. The Rams added four more goals in the period, as O’Donnell scored his third of the game, and Christopher Jaquith, Michael Catarina and Joe Manown all found the net. To make matters worse, Marrinan – one of the Hawks’ senior captains – was injured, and Hendricken couldn’t score to end the half despite holding the ball for nearly two full minutes.
“We can’t bury ourselves like that,” Murray said.
But the third quarter – and the first five minutes, specifically – showed just how good the Hawks can be. Two minutes in, Jonathan Finelli drove around the net, leaped in front and scored to make it 7-3. Off the ensuing draw, Perreault took the ball from half up to the left side, made a couple of spin moves and fired home a left-handed shot to cut the deficit to three goals. Another faceoff win gave Hendricken possession again, and Perreault scored from the right. Suddenly it was only 7-5.
La Salle quickly called a timeout, but it did nothing to slow Hendricken’s momentum. The Hawks lost the draw out of the timeout, but stole the ball. Darius Jagminas found Conor Garrahy open in front of the net moments later, and Garrahy scored on a turnaround shot.
On the next draw, Finelli picked the ball up amidst of a scrum in the middle of the field, ran it toward the goal and then found Andrew Fera next to the post. Fera buried his shot, tying the game.
In the first 4:47 of the quarter, Hendricken scored five times.
“I’ve coached here for 13 years or whatever, and this is probably the tightest group we’ve ever had as far as guys who want to play for each other, play hard,” Murray said. “I think that it shows.”
La Salle finally found its footing though, and got back on track. Manown bullied his way to the net just over a minute later and gave the Rams the lead back at 8-7, and Peter DeSimone scored off his own rebound a minute after that. With three minutes left in the quarter, Manown hit the post and O’Donnell corralled the rebound, scoring to give La Salle a 10-7 lead.
The score could have gotten slightly out of hand if not for the play of Hendricken goaltender Jonathan Petterutti, who made multiple saves at the tail end of the quarter to keep it a three-goal game.
Then, Hendricken came back once more. Garrahy scored on a fast shot from directly in front of the goal, beating La Salle goalie Matt Andrews, and Tyler Williams scored on a left-handed shot with just 11 seconds left in the half.
The Hawks went into the fourth down by just a goal.
“They kept their starters in because they knew we were going to come back, because that’s what we do,” Murray said.
From there on out though, Hendricken seemed tired, and La Salle went in for the kill. O’Donnell scored with 10:40 to play on the man advantage, and Catarina got free on a full breakaway with eight minutes left and finished to make it 12-9.
Off the ensuing draw, O’Donnell scored again just 17 seconds later. With 4:55 to play, O’Donnell scored one final time – his seventh of the game – to provide the knockout blow. The Hawks struggled to maintain possession, and the clock finally ticked out.
“We just didn’t hit the cage, and they’re a good team obviously,” Murray said. “I thought we played hard today, but we had some mental lapses here and there. I told them I was happy with the effort. We played hard until the end.”
It won’t get a lot easier for Hendricken, as its next game is today at defending state runner-up Moses Brown at 4 p.m. Then, it will take on a strong Barrington team at home on Friday at 6 p.m.
“I told these guys that we’ve got a tough Moses Brown game on Tuesday, then we’ve got Barrington,” Murray said. “There’s some parity in the league, and those are two good teams.”