University of New England’s Alex York of Gorham had three goals and two assists in last week’s match-up with the University of Southern Maine. Courtesy of Tristan Durgin

BIDDEFORD — The Nor’easters men’s lacrosse team stormed past visiting USM 24-10 on March 4: Garett Bozek (Nashua, New Hampshire/Bishop Guertin) led the UNE attack with five goals and three assists, while teammates Noah Luccini (Hopedale, Massachusetts/Hopedale) and Alex York (Gorham/Gorham) respectively kicked in four goals, two assists and three goals, two assists.

The bout kicked off USM’s season.

“This was our first game of the year,” Huskies head coach Sam Manders said. “Since it’s my first year, I wanted as much time as possible to build a relationship with my players, so we didn’t schedule any preseason games.”

The start of the game rolled back and forth, each side owning the lead at different times. Luccini and Zach Bossi (Amherst, New Hampshire/Souhegan) paired up to put UNE out front 6-4 as the first quarter waned, but USMers Colin Kinney (Belgrade/Messalonskee) and Misqueias Biasuz (Augusta/Cony) both answered. The second dawned on 6-6.

The Huskies briefly took control then: Joe Cullinan (Contoocook, New Hampshire/Hopkinton) notched for a 7-6 USM upper-hand. The Nor’easters, though, flexed their experience after that, seizing the momentum and running away with the scoreboard.

Luccini and Bozek struck twice each in the second and UNE owned a 12-7 advantage at the break.

Manders figured the Huskies really needed a real uphill battle to begin their spring.

“I wanted to play a dominant opponent in the first game,” he said. “This ensured they’d expose our vulnerabilities and provide us with high-quality learning experiences. I expected us to lose the game; how we reacted to that failure was important. We were able to keep composure and not implode emotionally.”

The Huskies managed just three goals through the entire downhill half, while UNE hashed another dozen. UNE spread its offense out well: Numerous players found the back of the net, including York, who scored twice for the team in the third.

“UNE has a very mature program,” Manders said. “They have veteran players all over the field and have a great coaching staff. So we knew they were the heavy favorite, and that we would probably lose the game. The question was if we were going to roll over in the first few minutes, or if we were going to come out strong and make them play hard.”

The Nor’easters’ dominance shows up in the game’s numbers: UNE outshot USM 66-28, scooped up 56 ground balls to the Huskies’ 32, committed 17 turnovers vs. 19, won 26 faceoffs vs. 12 and so on and so forth.

Still, that much was to be expected, from Manders’s p.o.v., and he’s not entirely dissatisfied with the result.

“I felt like we accomplished both our goals,” he said. “One: don’t roll over. Two: don’t implode emotionally.”

USM slid into the W column in their second outing of the season, their home-opener, a 17-13 triumph over Husson on Saturday. They defeated Thomas at home Tuesday, 25-8, with Nick James scoring a school-record eight goals. USM also matched its record for goals in a game. The Huskies were scheduled to travel to Norwich on Saturday, March 14.

UNE is now 4-1 so far this spring, having begun their schedule with a 20-2 victory vs. Husson, a 21-9 thrashing of Wheaton, a 13-8 W against Plymouth State and the win vs. the Huskies. The Nor’easters dropped a contest to MIT on March 7, 11-9; they hosted Emerson on March 11.

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