PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Sam Mitchell, left, steals the ball from Swampscott’s Jack Leahy during Friday afternoon’s contest.
By SCOT COOPER
PEABODY — The rain held off Friday afternoon, but Swampscott couldn’t hold off Fenwick’s
Chris Napolitano, who led the way for the Crusaders in their season-opening 7-4 win over the Big Blue. The senior co-captain scored five goals and spurred Fenwick’s comeback after falling behind, 3-1, early on.
“I think we were a little nervous, a little sluggish at first,” Napolitano said. “It’s the first game of the season and we weren’t clicking. …We came back and put the pressure on. Their goalie (freshman Tim Perlin) really played well, but we got to him. Our goalie (Deven Fiandaca) played great too. It’s good to open up with a win.”
After Swampscott took a 3-1 lead on two goals by Andrew Dove and one by Jack Herlihy, the Crusaders scored six unanswered. Dan Hannon and Jake Mitchell each chipped in a goal for Fenwick. Dove picked up the hat trick in the third quarter, but Fiandaca and Perlin held both teams scoreless throughout the fourth.
Crusaders’ coach Steve Driscoll said it was great to open the season with a win at home, especially after a tough outing against Hamilton-Wenham in a scrimmage prior to Friday’s opener.
“We came out slow early on. We only had about six practices before the season started,” Driscoll said. “We got our butts kicked by Hamilton-Wenham to finish up the pre-season, so it was good to rebound with a good one today.”
Driscoll and Napolitano agreed that Swampscott had too much possession time in Fenwick’s zone early in the game.
“It was great to see us respond after some adversity early on,” Driscoll said. “I’m brand new this year; the coaching staff is brand new. We’re a young team and we’re trying to change the culture here a little bit, and this was a good step in the right direction for us.”
“We picked it up quite a bit after the rough start we had,” Napolitano added. “Coach said ‘work harder, find the open man and cover their guys a little better.’ We did what the coaches said and we were able to win.”
Swampscott coach Todd Pierce said it was disappointing to drop the opener, but he was thrilled to finally be outside after two weeks in the gym.
“The first quarter we did really well, and then we kind of started trying to do too much,” Pierce said. “I think in the whole game we had over 17-18 turnovers, and you’re not going win games with so many turnovers.
“We’re finally outside, ready to play. We started well then faded. We have to play smarter next time out and take better shots.”