The Patriots rolled past the winless Wheeler Warriors 16-3 late Friday afternoon in a boys lacrosse clash at Pilgrim High School.
Kyle St. Jean led the Pats with seven goals and two assists.
“Kyle is one of our captains,” Pilgrim head coach Alex Gregson said. “He’s a senior leader of this team, an attackman, a four-year guy. We’re counting on him.”
Pilgrim was without one of its top offensive weapons in senior attacker Matt Pacheco, who was out with the flu.
Also, chipping in on offense for the Pats was Tyler Brown, who tallied four goals, plus two assists.
“Tyler is phenomenal,” Gregson said. “He’s a freshman. And we knew from the first couple of practices that he was going to be an attackman. When I threw him out there on varsity as a freshman, he didn’t even flinch. So, we know this kid is going to be big-time stuff moving forward.”
Pilgrim’s junior goalkeeper Hunter Sutcliffe, registered five saves during the contest. It is Sutcliffe’s first season starting after backing up graduate and 2017 Lance Corporal Eric P. Valdepenas Unsung Hero Award winner Tyler Balutowski the past two seasons.
“Hunter, he’s kind of been the Tom Brady,” Gregson said. “He’s the guy that had to play backup for a couple of years and really learned how to hone his game, playing a bunch of JV, and getting some varsity minutes here and there last year. And now he’s stepping up, and he’s the guy for the next two years. So, we’re counting on him big, and he makes some crazy saves.”
Jacob Wassouf, a senior, topped the Warriors with two goals plus an assist, and Max Adelstein, Wheeler’s freshman keeper, finished with 22 saves.
The Pats went up 1-0, two and a half minutes into the first quarter, when St. Jean buried a shot into the cage from in front, following an assist from Adam Ferrara.
A little less than six minutes later, Pilgrim upped its edge to 2-0 when Connor Widmer, a freshman, assisted to Brown, who rocketed a shot past Adelstein.
Then, with 1:25 remaining in the frame, Wheeler got on the board, when Wassouf, who was knocked down, got up again, and then blasted a shot past Sutcliffe from 12 yards deep, which pulled the Warriors within 2-1.
One minute and twenty-four seconds into the second quarter, Pilgrim expanded its margin to 3-1 when St. Jean scored after an assist from Brown.
Next, with 4:46 remaining in the half, St. Jean struck again and ascended the Pats’ cushion to 4-1.
Fifty-six seconds later, St. Jean passed to Desousarosa, who sniped a shot into the cage and pushed Pilgrim’s lead to 5-1.
Then, with eight seconds remaining in the half, St. Jean put a leaner past Adelstein, while on the doorstep, and that gave the Pats a 6-1 lead heading into the break.
Pilgrim upped its lead to 7-1, a minute into the third quarter, when Callaway Fords assisted to St. Jean, who put a bouncer into the cage.
Next, with 8:31 left in the period, the Pats extended their lead to 8-1 when James Cook found the back of the net, following an assist from Brown.
St. Jean scored his sixth tally of the game with 7:15 remaining in the third period and put Pilgrim up 9-1.
Then, with 5:59 left, Brown put a bouncer past Adelstein, after an assist from St. Jean, and ballooned the Pilgrim advantage to 10-1.
Brown lit the lamp again with 2:13 remaining in the period, after his teammate Daniel DeRobbio stole the ball and dished to St. Jean, who left it for the freshman, which made it 11-1.
Thirty-three seconds later, Wheeler inched closer when Aiden Pastora passed across to Aidan Beckett, who rifled a shot past Sutcliffe and pulled the Warriors within 11-2.
Then, with 1:09 left in the third frame, Pilgrim went up 12-2 when Brown scored during a breakaway.
The Pats increased their edge to 13-2 with 8 seconds left in the quarter when St. Jean scored after an inbound pass close to the cage.
Thirty seconds into the final frame, Pilgrim’s Carlos Battison, a senior midfielder, fired past Adelstein, after an assist from Fords, and that put the Pats up 14-2.
Then, with 6:44 to play, Wheeler got a goal from Wassouf and pulled within 14-3.
Thirty-six seconds after that, the Pats went on a fast break where Cook lit the lamp and extended Pilgrim’s margin to 15-3.
Lastly, with 2:18 remaining in the contest, Danny DeRobbio, a sophomore, passed to Battison, who scored and put the Pats up 16-3.
With the victory, Pilgrim improves its record to 4-1 on the season and plays its next game at Chariho at 6 pm on Tuesday.
Though, the Pats are off to a strong start, the most difficult part of the season is still to come.
“We got moved up from D-III to D-II and most of the teams we’re playing here are teams that moved up with us,” Gregson explained. “So, they’re former D-III teams. So, we kind of got lucky with the schedule, in that, we are playing these old D-III teams,” Gregson reiterated. “We’re getting a chance to really work on some stuff. Especially, when the score gets lopsided like this. We’re honing our game, but the schedule from here on out is vigorous. We have Chariho on Tuesday and Coventry on Friday, and it’s going to be tough. This is almost like preseason to us. And now we’re getting into the D-II teams and it’s going to be a real challenge moving forward.”