Edward Little High School’s Spencer Frahn, left, muscles his way through Portland High School’s Max Cheever during their game at Walton Field in Auburn on Saturday. (Lee Horton/Sun Journal)

AUBURN — Edward Little’s nice start to the season continued through the first half of Saturday’s game against Portland.

But the Bulldogs stuffed all of the Red Eddies’ momentum in the second half, handing EL its first loss of the season, 9-6, at Walton School.

“As we were talking about after the game,” Red Eddies coach Jim Dock said, “(We’re) kind of glad we learned this lesson early in the season, and it will help get us focused as we move through.”

Alex Landry, Tyler Morin and Spencer Frahn scored the first three goals of the game for Edward Little, and led 4-2 after Frahn’s second goal of the game with 5:25 left in the first half.

“The first half, we were really clicking,” Dock said. “We had good offensive possessions.”

“We came out flat in the first quarter,” Portland coach Michael DiFusco said. “They were running the game the way they wanted to, their tempo, fast pace. We got rattled, but we did recover.”

Portland’s Sam Gerber scored with 4:30 left, and EL’s lead was down to 4-3 at halftime.

“We had a one goal lead at half,” Dock said, “which we knew wasn’t going to be enough for a team like this.”

The Bulldogs adjusted during the break, and that included a more patient, possession-oriented offense.

They scored all four goals in the third quarter, and six straight to take an 8-4 lead with 11:12 remaining in the game.

“We stopped forcing shots, stopped forcing bad passes,” DiFusco said. “We ended up slowing everything down, controlling the tempo, setting the tempo.”

Edward Little’s Eli Thibodeau scored twice in the fourth quarter, but Portland’s lead was too much to overcome.

“As the game went on, little mistakes, little simple mistakes, all added up,” Dock said, “and ended up getting us in the end.”

When Edward Little did advance the ball to its side of the field in the second half, the offense sputtered and struggled to set up quality scoring opportunities. The Eddies instead settled for long shot attempts.

“We just weren’t moving the ball well,” Dock said. “We lost our composure, and then it threw our game off. No matter what we did to try to get focused again, we struggled with it.”

Adding to the Red Eddies’ offensive struggles was losing midfielder Ben Feldman for the game after a hard hit in the second period.

Feldman scored one goal before leaving the game. Frahn and Thibodeau led Edward Little with two apiece.

Sophomore goalkeeper Gunner Winslow made 16 saves for the Red Eddies.

“For a kid who’s never played goal before and is relatively new to the game of lacrosse, he kept us in this game,” Dock said. “It could have easily been a blowout without Gunnar’s efforts.”

Portland’s Reilly O’Brien tallied a game-high three goals. Gerber and Sam Shaw each contributed two, while Kevin Moore and Evan Bay added one apiece.

The Bulldogs (3-0) also enjoyed a solid outing from its goalie, Aaron Hoekstra, who stopped eight of the 14 shots he saw.

“He’s our backbone,” DiFusco said. “He’s one of the best goalies around. We rely a lot on him.”

Edward Little (2-1) hosts Brunswick on Thursday.

Edward Little High School’s Eli Thibodeau, left, protects the ball from Portland High School’s Max Cheever during their game at Walton Field in Auburn on Saturday. (Lee Horton/Sun Journal)Edward Little High School’s Eli Thibodeau, left, fights through the stick of Portland High School’s Nico Leavitt during their game at Walton Field in Auburn on Saturday. (Lee Horton/Sun Journal)Portland High School goalie Aaron Hoekstra (10) surveys the action down the field during a game against Edward Little High School at Walton Field in Auburn on Saturday. (Lee Horton/Sun Journal)


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