MARBLEHEAD — The Marblehead boys lacrosse team got off to a fast start Thursday afternoon and never looked back in a 9-4 win over Swampscott at Piper Field.
Marblehead’s defense was relentless from the start, forcing several turnovers to help the Magicians get out to an early 6-0 lead.
“The defense played well,” Marblehead coach John Wilkens said. “We ran man the whole game and I thought we did a good job putting pressure on them.”
The Magicians were led by three goals from attackman Sam Thompson. Midfielder Loch Sheridan scored two goals while Yosef Ngowe, Tom Cronin, Charley Driscoll and Thomas Quigley each had one goal.
Despite the quick start, Marblehead had plenty more scoring chances to capitalize on and Wilkens hopes his team will finish better going forward.
“I think we got up and down the field pretty well, we just didn’t finish,” Wilkens said. “We had some good looks and we just didn’t finish. They have a good goalie. He made some good saves. He made us work but we just didn’t finish the passes. That was the biggest hurdle.”
Big Blue goalkeeper Timothy Perlin was phenomenal in net with 17 saves.
“Timothy has been playing goalie for four years here,” Swampscott coach Geoff Beckett said. “I’ve known him since he was playing youth lacrosse. He has always been solid. He has really just turned into a great leader this year. He does a great job making clears, stops and talking to the defense. I can’t commend him any more.
“The defense around him is really stepping up big time,” Beckett said. “I can’t be happier with the defense. Clears have to be a little bit better but as far six-on-six and man-down play they’re doing fantastic.”
The Big Blue were led on offense by Vincent Palmer who had two goals and one assist. Darian Wulf and Zachary Pierce each scored one goal. Overall, the Magicians’ speed caught Swampscott off guard in the first half.
“We were mentally prepared for it,” Beckett said. “We knew Marblehead had an aggressive defense. It’s always a good defense. We practiced for it, prepared for it, but I just don’t think we expected the speed and strength of it. It really threw us for a loop. Then we started panicking and getting tunnel vision. We got over that in the second half and started to attack. Once we started moving the ball and dodging things started to open up a little bit.”
After a faceoff win by Jacob Garfield, Thompson found a wide open shooting opportunity after a nice pass by Quigley and capitalized on the chance to put Marblehead ahead 1-0.
Marblehead found the back of the net again on a goal by Ngowe late in the first, but several early saves from Perlin kept the Big Blue within reach at 2-0.
Marblehead stretched its lead in the second quarter. Sheridan added a quick goal 30 seconds into the quarter to get the Magicians started. A few minutes later Perlin got caught out of his net trying to make a play to clear the ball and Sheridan stole possession before scoring on an open net to put Marblehead ahead 4-0.
The Magicians added two more goals before the half. Cronin scooped up a ground ball out front and scored, and McGurran made a nice defensive play to force a turnover that led to a goal from Thompson to put the Magicians ahead 6-0.
After several minutes of back-and-forth defensive play, the Big Blue finally broke the shutout. Palmer dished an assist to Wulf who found the back of the net to cut the Marblehead lead to 6-1.
Both teams traded goals in the final minutes of the third quarter. Marblehead responded with a goal from Driscoll and Swampscott capitalized on a man advantage with a goal from Pierce to cut the Marblehead lead to 7-2 heading into the fourth quarter.
After an early penalty kill, Quigley came straight out of the box and scored to start the fourth for Marblehead. A few minutes later Thompson added another goal to stretch the Marblehead lead to 9-2.
Swampscott didn’t quit in the final minutes with back-to-back goals from Palmer to close things out, but it was too little too late for a Big Blue comeback.
Both teams with continue Northeastern Conference play against Peabody next week. Marblehead is on the road Tuesday (4) while the Big Blue have some rest before hosting the Tanners Thursday (4).