Oxford Hills’ Jacob Mondor, left, is stopped by Morse defenders Mason Savary, back, and Ethan Pascuzzo, right, during Wednesday’s boys high school lacrosse game against Morse at McMann Field in Bath. Time Record photo by Eric Maxim

BATH — The Oxford Hills boys lacrosse team raced out to an eight-goal lead at the half and held off an energized effort by Morse to come away with its first victory of the season, 11-7, at McMann Field on Wednesday.

Both Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference schools are now 1-1.

“We’ve come a long way in five years, this is huge for us,” Vikings coach Hunter Rowell said. “We may have backed off a little towards the end, but our intensity got us through.”

About a minute into the contest, Morse’s Angus Brown scored the first goal of the game off a Sheamus Mann helper. Morse tried to tack on another goal or two but came up empty when shots went wide or above the goal.

“I liked the effort to start,” Morse coach Jay Paulus said. “We won the faceoff and controlled possession.”

Midway through the opening quarter, Jacob Lang put the Vikings on the scoreboard to even the contest, and a minute later Thomas Bancroft’s shot beat Morse keeper Alec Arsenault-Robson (seven saves) to break the tie.

After Morse killed a penalty to be at even strength, Bancroft scored off a Devin Dumais assist with 42 seconds remaining in the opening quarter for a 3-1 Oxford Hills lead. Boden Dock and Balzano each found the back of the in the final 17 ticks of the frame, and the Vikings led 6-1 after 12 minutes of play.

“It was huge, getting those goals,” Rowell said. “If we didn’t continue, I knew they were going to come back. I know their coach, I know their program, and they don’t quit, just like how we coach our kids.”

Oxford Hills kept the momentum on its side in the second quarter, dominating play and holding the Shipbuilders to only one shot on goal in the frame.

On the other end of the field, the Vikings scored four more goals, three by Balzano, to take a 9-1 lead into the halftime break. Oxford Hills outshot Morse 14-3 in the opening two quarters..

“You can’t go down eight goals. That’s kind of not like us, usually we fall apart in the fourth,” Paulus said. “I don’t know what it was, they came with all sorts of excuses, nobody was playing well.”

SECOND-HALF INTENSITY

Bancroft’s third goal of the contest opened the second-half scoring just 32 seconds in, extending the Vikings lead to 10-1.

The Shipbuilders were behind by nine goals, but coming out of the halftime break, they knew they could play better than they did in the first half.

“The first half was not our game,” Mann said. “In the second half, it was all about possession. We wanted to try to get the ball up and play more of our game, get high-percentage shots.”

Oxford Hills’ Thomas Bancroft runs up the field during Wednesday’s boys high school lacrosse game against Morse at McMann Field in Bath. Time Record photo by Eric Maxim

The junior began playing the Shipbuilders game, tallying his first goal of the day, beating Plourde five minutes into the half. He scored another minutes later, but Dock answered with his second of the game.

After three quarters of play, the Vikings still held an eight-goal advantage, despite being outshot, 9-3, in the quarter.

Morse maintained the intensity to start the fourth quarter, continuing to challenge Plourde by putting four quick shots on the keeper.

“We have two quality goalies this year, so we’ve been blessed with that,” Rowell said. “He had a stellar first half, so we wanted to keep him in. He certainly kept us alive. I can’t thank the defense enough, they were peppering him down there.”

Mann scored his third goal and Mason Savary added another as the Shipbuilders pulled with six,11-5, with eight minutes to play.

Morse capitalized on the man advantage after a Vikings penalty, as Mann put in another goal midway through the frame.

Ethan Pascuzzo scored with a little more than four minutes on the clock to pull within four goals.

That was as close as the Shipbuilders were able to get to the Vikings, as Plourde and his defense kept the hosts off the board the final four minutes to seal the victory.

“I felt good today,” Plourde said after finishing with 14 saves. “My defensive line is fantastic, they’re one of the reasons why the score is what it was today. They listen so well as we have great communication.”

For Morse, the hole was a little too deep to come out of.

“We were flat and you can’t do that and expect to turn it on,” Paulus said. “What we will take from this is we learn from the loss and clearly we can’t go down that far and need to make those adjustments earlier.”

After a fourth quarter in which Morse garnered most of its stats, the teams were relatively close, with the Vikings holding a slight advantage in shots (21-18) and faceoffs (12-10).

Bancroft ended with three goals and two assists, followed by Lang’s pair of scores and two helpers. Mohamad Karim also added a couple of assists for the Vikings in the win.


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