HAMILTON — Last year, Hamilton-Wenham lost to Ipswich in the Division 3 North boys lacrosse final. Along the way, the Generals bounced St. Mary’s from the tournament.
This is one reason why both coaches were anxious to play each other this season. And although the Spartans came on the short end of a 14-4 thrashing, coach Josh Field wasn’t all that unhappy.
“A game like this,” he said, “is better than two practices. It gives you an idea of who you are, and what you have to work on.
“They are one of the elite teams in Division 3,” said Field. “I’m proud of our guys for the most part. I thought we hung with them for a good part of the game, and maybe if some of the chances we had had found the back of the net, it would have been a different game.”
Barlow Griffin, who scored five goals, got the first two for the Generals before Brendan Laundry managed to wedge himself in among a gaggle of Generals and swat one that bounced on its way in to put the Spartans on the board.
Still, they trailed 2-1, and it would be quite a while before the Spartans’ number changed.
Before that happened, however, the Generals scored the next five goals, from Cole Dwyer, Kit Shaw, Andrew Riccio, Barlow and Callen Strong.
The Generals seemed to have a much easier time penetrating the St. Mary’s defense than the other way around. On more than half Hamilton-Wenham’s goals, the scorer was able to move freely in front of the net and shoot dead on at St. Mary’s goalie Kaden Quirk. But Field was quick to give his keeper a shoutout.
“I give him a lot of credit,” said Field. “To stand up in the face of what they do, I thought he did pretty well.”
Finally, with 3:12 left to go in the second quarter, the Spartans scored again — this one by Colin Jackson on a shot that looked like it belonged on a sheet of ice more than a lacrosse field. It would have made a pretty good slap shot.
Moments later, however, the Generals had the lead back up to six (8-2) on another goal by Strong.
The Spartans came out strong at the beginning of the third quarter, with Davis Kinne scoring just 35 seconds into the period. It was one of the few times the Spartans got within 10 yards of the goal with the ball all afternoon. He took a pass from behind the net and parked himself to the right of Hamilton-Wenham goalie Mayo Amorello and blasted one by him.
The hits kept coming for the Generals. By the time the third quarter ended, it was 11-3. The Generals scored two more goals to open the final period before Nick Napolitano scored St. Mary’s final goal.
The game was physical throughout, and with just over five minutes left, a brief fracas broke out that resulted in a pair of ejections.
“They have a lot of hockey players on their team,” joked Hamilton-wenham coach Josh Wedge. “That’s one reason why we schedule them — because they’re a physical team.
“I think we’re coming together pretty good,” said Wedge. “We’re starting to play well for four quarters, instead of only for parts of games.”
St. Mary’s dropped to 8-8 with the loss and has to win one of its two remaining games to make the tournament. Saturday the Spartans are at home against Newburyport and next Wednesday they conclude the regular season on the road against Arlington Catholic.