The Vikings had their home turf, their home fans and didn’t have to sit on a bus for more than an hour for a 10 a.m. start.

Noble had depth, and an offensive juggernaut in Collin Harrigan, who helped the Knights collect their first victory of the season.

Harrigan scored six goals, set up two more and ran the offense for the better part of three quarters Saturday, lifting Noble to an 11-5 win over Oxford Hills in an East-West crossover boys’ lacrosse contest at the Gouin Athletic Complex.

“We’re going to go home happy,” Noble coach Matt Begin said. “We’ve had a rough start to the season, just like this team has, and it was a good confidence-builder for us to come in, get some goals early.”

Two of those early goals came from Harrigan, who had a knack for getting in tight on Oxford Hills keeper Zach Rideout.

“He’s a captain, he’s a leader, by heart, by example,” Begin said. “He definitely has the physical skills and the talent. We give him control, put him behind the net and say, ‘Run the offense.’ He looks for those open lanes and the passes, and he also likes to drive to the net from behind the net. He’s got good control and a good, accurate shot.”

“He was exceptional,” Oxford Hills coach Matt Brunsen added. “We tried to have our kids put an emphasis on footwork, staying goal-side and not extending. But he has good hips, acceleration and agility. He could ride the pressure, wait for that over-extension and just rip a shot.”

Chad Rumney, Ryer Smith and Bryce Aldrich also scored in the first half for the Knights (1-3), who took leads of 3-0 after the first quarter, and 7-1 at the half.

“When we had the ball, we were down,” Brunsen said. “And kids, especially at this age, they’ll try to tie the score up on one possession. We just need to show a little more composure, not force the pass to the crease when it’s not there.”

Despite the three-goal deficit in the first quarter, the Vikings (0-6) maintained most of the possession and took most of the shots in the frame.

“They played us well, too,” Begin said. “It’s not like we came in here and dominated. They maintained possession for most of the first quarter.”

When Noble did wrest the ball away, it was efficient, scoring on three of its four shots, all on fast breaks.

“Those are great, but you can’t count on them,” Begin said. “I’d rather see time of possession with more of a structure. “We capitalized on those fast breaks, but what I was really trying to emphasize to our guys, let’s not just jam it down there, let’s cycle it around, establish an offense and see how their defense reacts to it. Our guys were able to do that more in the second quarter and beyond.”

The statistics bore that out. Noble outshot Oxford Hills 13-2 in the second quarter to build that 7-1 halftime lead. The only blemish on Noble keeper Jordan Armenta’s slate was an Ian Lejonhud strike at 10:39 of the second.

Harrigan added another pair in the third quarter, Lejonhud struck again for Oxford Hills and James Hogg added a third in the third for the Knights as they ran the lead to 10-2.

The Vikings rebounded a bit in the fourth with three goals — two more from Lejonhud and one from Deven Rogers — while the Knights added one more out of the cross of Ryer Smith to cap the scoring.

“In all fairness, they put their second string in there, and we tried to mix things up a bit, too,” Brunsen said, “but the game is still 48 minutes, not 12 or even 30 seconds. You compete to the final whistle, and we did that.”

Noble’s next three games are against teams currently in playoff position — Cheverus, Westbrook and Gorham — while Oxford Hills will next see 5-1 Messalonskee before a pair of Class B teams, Mountain Valley and St. Dom’s.


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