ConVal lax stays alive
Cougars win first-round playoff matchup with Bishop Brady
The ConVal boys lacrosse team defeated Bishop Brady 15-3 in the opening round of the Division III playoffs on Tuesday.
The fourth-seeded Cougars played with a purpose from the opening face-off.
“Out first half was really clean,” said ConVal coach Bob Taylor. “I love when we play with the intensity we did in the first half.”
The Cougars entered halftime with a 10-1 lead. The lead was earned by strong goaltending by goalie Sean Stinehour coupled with the offensive dominance of Isaiah Taylor (eight goals, one assist), Patrick Joseph (three goals, two assists), and James Clough (one goal).
Stinehour was helped by the stingy defense of teammates Gavin Chamberlin, Liam McNally, and Pat Groleau, who did not allow the Bishop Brady attack much room to operate.
The Cougars were able to take advantage of Brady’s sloppy ball handling by working hard and being more physical when fighting for balls that hit the ground. Nick Phillips (one assist, nine ground balls), Jordan Loll (10 ground balls), and Danny Parker (six ground balls) all contributed to the scrappy play of the Cougars.
The Cougars were the more vocal team throughout the contest, supporting each other and making adjustments on the fly.
Senior captain Riordan McCole (three goals, seven assists) spent the game doing what he does best — facilitating his teammates on offense.
“Our ball movement was good today. We were able to find the easy open shots and finish them,” said McCole following the victory.
In the second half, the Cougars were caught sleeping on defense, allowing two goals to slip through.
“Keeping our intensity up for the whole game is hard,” said Taylor. Taylor and assistant coach Griffin Meehan continued to push their players, urging them to keep their foot on the gas despite the team’s sizable lead. The Cougars responded to each of Brady’s goals quickly, maintaining their lead and never letting Brady feel like they were in the game.
“Fundamentals are so important. We have a great formula and I tell the guys all the time if we stick to our formula we win,” said Taylor.
Although the Cougars came away with a decisive victory, Taylor knows that the team has work to do if they want to make a deep playoff run.
“I want [the team] to slow down possessions when we have a lead. Run the clock out a bit and then score at the end of a long possession.”
The Cougars move on to the quarter finals, where they will face fourth-seeded Trinity on Thursday at 4 p.m. away from the friendly confines of Cougar Stadium. Trinity defeated ConVal 10-8 at Trinity when the teams met during the regular season.
“Last time we played Trinity it was an ugly, sloppy performance by us,” said Taylor. “There were lots of loose balls. We need to watch the game tape and fix those mistakes.”
With a victory, the Cougars will have the opportunity to play at Stellos Stadium in Nashua as part of the Final Four, something McCole says the team is shooting for.
“This year is all about finishing. Take it one game at a time and keep going, that’s our mentality. The team is confident because of all of the practice that we have put in to this point,” said McCole. “We are not overconfident, but we know what we can do.”
Dylan Fisher can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235, or firstname.lastname@example.org.