Boys’ lax stays red hot with wins over Medway, OABy Jay Turner
It was another winning week for the Canton High boys’ lacrosse team as the red-hot Bulldogs made it five in a row with a pair of hard-fought victories over Medway and Oliver Ames.
In both games last week the boys played one dominant half and one mediocre one, yet they never relinquished the lead in either contest, winning 7-2 on Monday and 10-9 on Wednesday.
In the Medway game, the Bulldogs led 3-2 at the half before surging ahead with four unanswered goals in the third and fourth quarters. Senior Pat Ward led the way with three goals and one assist, and senior captain Matt Lennon added a goal and an assist. Paul Swart, Kurt Leavitt, and JC Marcone also had a goal in the win, while Matt Bagley, Eric Wong, and Tommy Galvin each registered one assist.
The Canton defense, which has been a strength of the team all season, turned in another dominant performance behind starters Bagley, Connor O’Brien, and Quinn Merrigan. New goalie Ben Lodge was also stellar in net, turning away 17 shots in what was arguably his best performance to date.
“I think he’s one of the best goalies in the league,” head coach Bill Bendell said of Lodge, who is brand-new to the defensive side of the field. “We certainly weren’t expecting that. We just wanted somebody who was solid, but at this point I’d say he’s the best goalie we’ve seen so far.”
And while there are still plenty of games to be played, Lodge and the defense have opened with an impressive streak, as they have not allowed a single team to score double-digit goals — including their latest opponent, Oliver Ames, which fell just short of that mark last Wednesday at Memorial Field.
Against the Tigers, unlike in the Medway game, Canton jumped out to a big early lead and appeared to be headed toward a blowout when OA suddenly seized the momentum in the second half, scoring seven of the game’s final 10 goals. The Tigers even had a chance to tie it late in the fourth quarter, but Canton was able to thwart the attempt and hang on for the 10-9 win.
“We certainly escaped with a victory there,” noted Bendell afterwards. “But I’m proud of our guys. We battled some adversity but we held on and we persevered.”
Ward once again paced the Bulldogs with four goals, and he now has a team-high 18 goals through the first five games. Fellow attackman Marcone currently holds the edge in total points, and he had another big game against OA with three goals and one assist, giving him 13 and nine for the season.
Swart and Leavitt also had a goal in the win, as did freshman Ben O’Neil, who is part of a group of young attackmen who have caught the eye of their coach, along with sophomores Shane Walsh and Jack Rooney.
“All three have scored their first varsity goal,” Bendell said. “I’ve been rotating them in that third attack spot alongside [Ward] and [Marcone] and they’ve all played well as they try to carve out a role on this team.”
Looking at the team as a whole, Bendell said the Bulldogs are “right where [they] should be,” which in his opinion means battling with Foxboro for the Davenport Division lead. Both squads were 5-0 entering this week and were due to face off yesterday afternoon in Canton.
The Bulldogs also had two more games on the docket this week: home versus Sharon on Monday and at Bishop Connolly tomorrow afternoon beginning at 4 p.m.
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