AUBURN – Growing pains can be tough to handle, and at no position is it tougher to battle as a newcomer than at goalkeeper.
Mountain Valley attacks fired a full-scale barrage of shots at Edward Little goaltender Derek Racine in the first half of Wednesday afternoon’s game between the Falcons and the Red Eddies, giving Mountain Valley an early lead that it would never relinquish.
Craig Hamann netted two of the Falcons’ five goals and helped foil a solid, 13-save effort by Racine to lead his team to a 5-2 win over the upstart Red Eddies at Central Maine Community College.
“I just had to rely on the bounce shot,” said Hamann. “As good as he played, I just had to hope the ball had a good deflect off the ground and hit one of the corners.”
The Falcons (3-3) have a tough schedule under the new class system in lacrosse this season, with the Eddies only one of several Class A KVAC teams on the list. Every win over one of those opponents, then, has added significance.
“We have these guys twice, Cony and Oxford Hills,” said Mountain Valley coach Jeff Gilbert. “It’s a good schedule for us.”
For Edward Little (1-4), fledgling would be a good word to describe not only the program, but the players on the field.
“We’re heavy on freshmen and sophomores,” said EL coach Tony Burgess. “We’re only going to graduate four starters, and I have a good core of freshman that have been playing together since the fourth grade.”
Still, the Eddies hung tough despite an early deficit. In fact, that deficit is likely what sparked the EL offense at all.
“Sometimes we do need to have that extra sense of needing it,” said Burgess. “Sometimes it seems like they don’t take it seriously in the first quarter until they do get down a little bit and then they seem to pick up the intensity.”
Hamann notched his two goals in succession early in the second quarter, putting the Falcons ahead 2-0.
“The offense moved the ball well, and the defense was playing really well (in the first half),” said Gilbert. “We were working to get the ground balls, and we were down in the offensive end most of that first half.”
Steve Lizotte, wielding a longstick, made a long run and fired a shot past Racine just 1:37 into the second half to put Mountain Valley ahead 3-0, but from there the Eddies responded.
First, it was Levi Lane who curled in from behind the net with 4:21 to play in the third quarter to pull EL within two at 3-1. Then, 2:31 later, Zach Ward capped off a long run up the right side with a bouncing shot that skipped in past Mountain Valley keeper Jeff Pelletier.
In the fourth, though, despite steady EL pressure, the Falcons pulled away. Chris Lowell and Alex Lawlor scored less than three minutes apart late to seal the team’s third win.
In the final quarter, EL took 10 shots, but only one prompted a save from Pelletier.