FARMINGTON — Mt. Blue stepped up in class but wasn’t outclassed Friday.

The Class B Cougars snapped a two-game losing streak by beating Class A Portland 11-3 in a boys lacrosse matchup at Caldwell Field.

The Cougars (6-4) were led by senior captain Chase Ranger’s hat trick and assist and a pair of goals each from juniors Tyler Abell and Bode Markham.

“It feels good. It was a win that we, I think, we needed at this particular point in the season,” Mt. Blue coach Matt Reynolds said. “We dropped a couple games unexpectedly, I guess you could say, so this is hopefully going to build momentum as the season goes on.”

The first quarter was a slow start on both sides, with Abell scoring the first Cougars goal off an assist from Julien Reynolds. Finley Ward added the second, carrying the ball from the defensive restraining line down the field to Portland’s goal.

“Finley had a great game. He had one goal (tonight), but it’s his third of the season,” Reynolds said. “He’s been trying for that, and we’ve been working that into practices. He’s got really good stick handling, just the odds of getting it all the way down and getting the shot isn’t always there.”


Louis Thurston scored his first of two goals for the Bulldogs (3-5) off an assist from Matthew Frost in the first quarter, and the two later switched for a goal by Frost off an assist by Thurston in the fourth quarter. Thurston capped the Bulldogs scoring with his second goal of the game in the fourth quarter off an assist from Walter Hettenbach.

“We just couldn’t get the ball going on offense,” Portland coach Mike DiFusco said. “We did a good job on the defensive end on our attack, but we ran out of legs today and they played a good game.”

DiFusco said Mt. Blue was able to capitalize on transition and man-up situations, despite Portland’s solid defensive effort. He said the Bulldogs “ran out of gas and ran out of legs,” especially in the second and third quarters when the Cougars scored nine of the 11 goals.

DiFusco called Frost and Thurston “two of the leaders out here,” who “always set the tone for us and do a good job.”

The team leader honors for Mt. Blue, also known as the team’s “Gatorade Player for Grit,” went to senior defender Charles Stevens, who Reynolds said had an “awesome breakout game.” With seven different Cougars players contributing to the 11-goal game, Reynolds called the entire attack line standout players of the game.

“The other thing is tonight, we switched some guys into new positions and they had to kind of figure it out on the fly,” Reynolds said. “It really worked for us, it was pretty awesome.”


Abell said most of his goals scored on Friday were off of dodges in the middle of the 8-meter. He said he was able to get open and create scoring opportunities for himself. Dodging was the difference for the Cougars in the second and third quarters, according to Abell, because the team started playing with more aggression, dodging more and looking for goals off the inside lanes.

“Finley had a lot of great clears, as well as Levi (Bogar),” Abell said. “It just helps to be able to transition the ball and get fast breaks, especially when we’re down a man.”

Ranger said most of his goals came off shots in the outside lanes, after his team helped create offensive opportunities for him through passes.

“It’s hard to dodge on this field, it’s super slippery,” Ranger said. “So, with the ball movement and coming off an intense practice — we definitely picked it up in practice, which I think helped a lot, with teammates moving the ball.

“I’ve mainly been a dodger. Throughout my career, I was an attacker like all the way up to freshman year, I switched to (midfielder) and then I started just sweeping over the top, down the alley coming back — it’s my outside shot that really makes me as a player — but we can finish inside too.”

One of Ranger’s three goals was scored off a behind-the-back shot, which he said was a personal moment of pride after a couple of failed attempts in past games.


“I attempt one of those at least once a game,” Ranger said. “If I get open in the middle and don’t have an angle, I’ll just throw it behind my back, see the goal for a second and let it fly.”

Reflecting on this game compared to the last few, Reynolds said the key difference for the Cougars was the cohesiveness of working as a unit while also having fun.

“The last couple of games, they’ve been grinding it out and working as a team, but I don’t think it’s been as fun,” Reynolds said. “Tonight, things were clicking, and it just made it that much more enjoyable to watch, and they were having fun.”

Other Cougars goal-scorers were Mason Willett, Julian Reynolds and Bogar with one each. Reynolds, Ranger, Bogar and Markham each added an assist, and Abell and Willett tallied two assists each.

Mt. Blue heads to Auburn on Tuesday to play Edward Little (6-2) while the Bulldogs will face Westbrook (0-8) at home.

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