PEABODY — Things are looking up for the Peabody boys lacrosse team. Since starting the season 0-2, losing by a combined margin of 32-10, the Tanners have won five of their last seven games, including the last three straight, to climb above .500 at 5-4.
Saturday, the Tanners took on a tough Gloucester team at home and came away with a 13-9 win.
“Gloucester is a good team so we knew it would be a battle today,” said coach Greg Welch. “We knew any mistakes we made they would take advantage of, and they did. We had to limit our mistakes to win and that was the key to coming out victorious. I feel real good about the way we are playing . It’s nice weather now and our sticks are getting better, so it’s nice little run we’ve had.”
Peabody jumped out to a 5-1 early lead on a pair of goals by Stephen Ell and solo tallies by Connor McCarron, Nick Patturelli and Mason Zeuli, but Gloucester scored three unanswered first half goals to close to 5-4 at the half.
The action was back and forth in the third, with Gloucester hanging close, down 9-7.
The Tanners turned up the defense in the final quarter, outscoring the Fisherman 4-2 to seal the win.
The turning point of the game came with 7:11 to play. Gloucester had closed to within three, 11-8 after a man-up goal with 8:41 to play and nearly made it a 2-goal game about minute later, but Peabody goalie Austin Leggett came up with a huge save. Freshman Drew Lucas came up with steal and cleared to Colby Therrien, who in turn found McCarron, streaking in alone on the left side. McCarron buried the shot to give the Tanners some breathing room, 12-8. Therrien capped the scoring and gave Peabody its largest lead of the game, 13-8, with 3:47 to go.
Leggett finished with 18 saves, many of them at critical times.
“Once again, Austin had some very timely saves when we needed them,” said Welch. “He just makes the timely saves. It’s not the amount of saves, it’s the timing of them, and those were key today. He’s been doing that all season, especially in the fourth quarter, so he’s been huge for us.
“Connor’s goal, that’s just fun lacrosse, getting up and down like that and putting the goal in the back of the net.”
Ell and Patturelli finished with hat tricks, while Therrien and McCarron had two goals each and Zeuli had one.
Welch said one of the keys to the Tanners’ current run has been the ability to put mistakes in the rear view mirror.
“We came out fast at 5-1 and they came back and made their run, but you just have to weather the opponent’s runs,” he said. “No one is going to play a perfect lacrosse game and they are doing a good job of forgetting the mistakes and fixing them, on making up for it . You saw that with Pat Russo at faceoff. He made his adjustments after they won those four or five in a row and got back in the game. Our wing guys helped him out and that’s huge, that’s how you stop runs on the faceoff.”
Peabody will be at home today and looking to sweep its season series with Danvers
“We have a big week with Danvers (tonight) and then Marblehead after that, who is also undefeated in the league.
“To start the season like that, losing two games that way and to come back is good for the high school psyche. To be able to respond and to be 5-4 now and undefeated in the league is just a testament to the kids, the captains, and we are all on the same page, and that’s key.”