THE FIRST ‘BATTLE OF THE BRIDGE’ boys lacrosse game of the season was held at Bowdoin College’s Ryan Field on Thursday afternoon. Brunswick High School punched in three early goals and went on to defeat Mt. Ararat, 16-2. In the photos, beginning on the left, Eagles’ senior Mark Abreu (18) chases down Brunswick ball-handler Aaron Carlton (4), and in the right photo, Dragon Max Burtis (22) is pursued by Mt. Ararat’s Hayden Libby.

THE FIRST ‘BATTLE OF THE BRIDGE’ boys lacrosse game of the season was held at Bowdoin College’s Ryan Field on Thursday afternoon. Brunswick High School punched in three early goals and went on to defeat Mt. Ararat, 16-2. In the photos, beginning on the left, Eagles’ senior Mark Abreu (18) chases down Brunswick ball-handler Aaron Carlton (4), and in the right photo, Dragon Max Burtis (22) is pursued by Mt. Ararat’s Hayden Libby.

BRUNSWICK

 

 

It certainly didn’t look like the first game of the season.

Due to recent weather, the Brunswick High School boys lacrosse team had to postpone its season opener with Edward Little, moving the first game of the new campaign to Thursday at Bowdoin College against “Battle of the Bridge” rival Mt. Ararat. After working almost solely indoors the past few weeks, coach Don Glover expected some rusty possessions or some sloppy decisions, but they were few and far between.

The Dragons punched in three early goals and dominated the ball en route to a commanding 16-2 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference win.

Sophomore Aiden Glover got the scoring going just 33 seconds into the game when he ripped one into the net. Twenty-two seconds later, his brother Christian Glover knocked a ball loose at midfield, ran it all way down to the other end and finished low on a big wind-up to double the lead.

Nate Girardin slid into space and added Brunswick’s (1-0) third goal 21 seconds after that, and before Mt. Ararat (1-2) even got a shot off, the score was 5-0.

“Just some spacing,” Coach Glover said of what was working so well. “It’s kind of ironic that this is probably our fourth day outside on the season and they were that comfortable with that much space. Taking their time, initiating their offense with space, being athletic and not making as many silly decisions as I thought they would have.”

Hank Gilson finished point-blank to get the Eagles on the board at 1:22 in the first quarter, but Andrew Eno responded with a Brunswick score a mere 30 seconds later. Then in the second frame, attacker Josh Dorr completed his hat trick on top of goals from Aaron Carlton and Max Gramins and the lead was 11-1 at the break.

“They’ve got a lot of weapons,” Mt. Ararat coach Matt Haskell said. “You’ve got to have that first and second slide ready to go. If you don’t play great defense up front, you have to slide and once you slide, you’re playing right into their hands.”

“We were starting to pick up that flow that we had last year,” Dorr said. “We have a lot of returning shorties (short-stick players).”

It was cruise control from there for Brunswick, which got a goal apiece from the Glover brothers inside the first two minutes of the third to push the lead to 13. Henry Doherty moved into the crease and finished low for his second goal of the game before Girardin ran all the way around the net to complete his hat trick and round out the scoring late in the fourth.

The Dragons fired 19 shots on goal and watched a handful more sail just wide or high of the cage.

Face-off

Much of the offensive onslaught started in the middle, where Brunswick controlled the circle on faceoffs. Most were won by senior Christian Jensen, who, as a wrestler, has settled comfortably into the role. The Dragons won 16-of- 20 on the afternoon.

“He turned it on last year. He was great for us last year,” Dorr said of Jensen. “He’s just carrying over. He stepped right in and he’s just been amazing for us.”

“Christian Jensen, we want him in the mix of everything, but his number one job description is passion,” Glover said. “He really loves face-offs. We’ve been fortunate over the years to have certain players that like that chest game of being a face-off midfielder. Christian gave us probably 75 percent of the ball play.”

When it wasn’t a clean win and pass-out, allowing Jensen to run off the field for a sub, he stayed on and helped win critical ground balls in the midfield.

“There was a few 50-50 ground balls that they came up with and I thought we had a shot on and just didn’t execute,” Haskell said. “The possession really hurts you there.”

Offensively, it was tough for the Eagles to get anything going because they simply didn’t have the ball. Brunswick held them to just four shots on goal in the first half and capitalized on multiple turnovers. Brunswick goalie Connor Pendergast (seven saves in three quarters) faced five shots in the third, but just one found the back of the net.

“On the defensive end, countered that with the idea that they played tight inside and they made sure they took advantage of helping each other out,” Coach Glover said.

“We lost our defense, but they’re picking up fast,” Dorr said. “We didn’t know who was going to play. They’ve just stepped up tremendously with the one or two weeks we’ve had in the gym. We started to get outside this week, so they’ve definitely picked it up huge.”

Sawyer Watson was Mt. Ararat’s other goal scorer at 6:23. Jeremy Vuong came in to cover the cage in the fourth quarter for Brunswick and blocked two shots. On the other end, Parker Lacey (3) and Dan Jackson (1) combined for four saves.

“You learn the most things from losses like this,” Haskell said. “We know to go right back to the drawing board to where we need to work.”

The Dragons will now face Edward Little on Monday at 7:30 p.m. in game two of what they hope will be another long season.

“We’re trying to make it four straight to finish on the last game of the year,” Dorr said. “That’s our goal.”

“Get better,” coach Glover said. “We keep saying to the guys ‘Once you put the chin strap on, just get better.’ Our goals are always to be playing in the last game of the season. Regardless of the outcome of that, we always aspire to the idea of ‘OK, let’s just get better every practice, get better every game, fine tune things, the season will take care of itself.’ And hopefully we’re playing on the last day.”

Brunswick 16, Mt. Ararat 2

At Bowdoin College

Mt. Ararat 1 0 1 0 2
Brunswick 7 4 3 2 16

Goals — (MtA) Hank Gilson, Sawyer Watson; (B) Aiden Glover 2, Christian Glover 2, Nate Girardin 3, Josh Dorr 3, Henry Doherty 2, Aaron Carlton, Andrew Eno 2, Max Gramins. Assists — (MtA) Jake Sargent; (B) Aiden Glover, Christian Glover, Henry Doherty, Max Gramins. Shots — Brunswick 19, Mt. Ararat 11. Face-offs — Brunswick 16, Mt. Ararat 4. Records — Brunswick 1-0, Mt. Ararat 1-2. Up next for the Dragons — Monday at Edward Little, 7:30 p.m. Up next for the Eagles — Wednesday at home against Messalonskee, 6:30 p.m.


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