AUBURN — Mt. Blue boys lacrosse coach Matt Reynolds wanted his team to establish ball control against Edward Little, and that’s what the Cougars did during Tuesday’s game.

Using an advantage in time of possession and Chase Ranger‘s six goals, the Cougars defeated the Red Eddies 11-5 at Walton Field.

“Today was a much-needed win to start getting the ball rolling in the right direction,” Reynolds said. “Today, we were really focused on possession of the ball and winning the ground balls first, doing the little things, the fundamentals. If you are making a pass, make it a clean pass. If you are about to score, you catch the ball first.”

The defense played a factor in the Cougars’ (1-2) win, only allowing 16 shots by Edward Little (0-1).

“Our big thing was just communicating, who has first slide, who has the second slide, where was the support coming from,” Reynolds said. “We have been focusing on it all season, and today it just clicked.”

Defense will be something Edward Little coach Thomas Smith said the team will work on.

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“We learned what our defense is weak at, and we will be definitely doing some drills to tighten that up, and we will reinforce that aggressive offense,” Smith said.

Smith added the Red Eddies will focus on working on the second slide on defense.

After an early timeout in the first quarter by Mt. Blue, the Cougars jumped out to a 2-0 lead when Ranger and Dustyn Hinkley each found the back of the net. The goals came 20 seconds apart from each other.

Edward Little’s Garrett Pray made a pass from behind Mt. Blue’s net to Tyler Smith, who put the Red Eddies on the board with about four minutes remaining in the first quarter.

Josh Smith added Mt. Blue’s third and final goal of the first quarter.

“The more people we get involved, the more it confuses the defense and makes them have to guard other people,” Ranger said. “It doesn’t matter if you score; it matters that we win.”

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The Red Eddies had five unanswered shots to start the second quarter, but Mt. Blue goalie Brady Bickford (11 saves) stopped them all.

Ranger, a sophomore, scored two straight goals in the second quarter for a 5-1 Mt. Blue lead.

“I just saw the openings, and I took them,” Ranger said. “Teammates got (me open), they pulled (the Edward Little defense) far out, and we found the seams; I just happened to be there.”

Austin Sellinger’s bounce shot beat Bickford to cut the Red Eddies deficit to 5-2.

Ranger scored his fourth goal of the half to give the Cougars a 6-2 lead at halftime.

Ranger switched from the attack position to the midfielder for Tuesday’s game.

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“Today for personnel reasons, we had to move him to midfield, an offensive midfielder; he just found his range (today),” Reynolds said. “It was awesome.”

The Red Eddies started to chip away at the deficit in the third quarter. Tyler Smith and Milo Small scored, and Edward Little was within 6-4. Reece Shanaman had an assist on both goals.

Sellinger later fired a shot past Bickford, putting the Red Eddies within one.

“We were more aggressive on offense,” Thomas Smith said of Edward Little’s third quarter. “We were making dodges and beat (Mt. Blue’s) first guy to get a shot on goal. That seemed to be pretty successful for us.”

Mt. Blue answered with a three-goal spree of its own. Hinkley scored his second of the game, while Aaron Whitley’s shot beat Edward Little goalie Daulton David (26 saves), and Ranger scored his fifth goal of the game with 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter for a 9-5 lead.

“We came out cold out of halftime, but we brought (our momentum) back,” Ranger said.

Ranger scored his sixth goal early in the fourth quarter. Whitley scored late in the period to round out the scoring.

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