GRAY—Drew LaCerda hashed seven goals for G-NG vs. visiting Lincoln Academy on Saturday afternoon, May 4. LaCerda may have led the Patriots’ offense in utterly crushing the Eagles’ defense – but six of his teammates found the back of the net as well. Final score: 16-3.
“A lot of transition goals today, and the boys really passed the ball well,” G-NG head coach Kris Parkin said. “That was the best thing about what they did today, was their fluidity and their ability to find that next pass and get the easy goal.”
G-NG built a lead straight out of the gate: LaCerda logged his first roughly two and a half minutes in, and just over 30 seconds later, Kyle Mercier followed him with another for 2-0. The Patriots quieted down after that for a while – until the second quarter – and relinquished half their advantage when LA’s Michael Nolen capitalized on their silence to beat keeper Brannon Gilbert (generally outstanding, but hey, nobody makes every save).
G-NG doubled-down on defense as the break approached, holding Lincoln scoreless while adding three more of their own – one each by LaCerda, Travis Caron and Hunter Brown – for a 5-1 upper-hand heading into the third.
“Defense, I think they did a nice job,” Parkin said. “We were really worried about [Nolen and Liam Cullinan]; our scouting report had those two guys on it. We knew [Nolen] was going to be a threat when he had the ball, so we were trying to lock him out and keep the ball out of his stick, and that worked a lot. They tried to bring him up as a midfielder.”
The downhill half, then, is where the Patriots really went wild, adding 11 more en route to victory. LaCerda put up the team’s next four: he hit the 6-1 notch from outside-right, the 7-1 from inside, the 8-1 on a Scott Lynch feed from behind the net and the 9-1 after spinning in from the right side and slipping easily past the last Eagles defender he encountered.
“Pretty consistently, we tend to be a second-half team,” Parkin said, “which, you know, is good and bad.”
“It starts with the faceoffs,” Parkin said. “Our faceoff guys, Owen McDuffie as a freshmen did really well, and Hunter Brown is our, kind of, veteran faceoff guy. And they just excelled today. They kept possession, and that allowed us to move the ball down the field.
Firing on all cylinders, G-NG burned through the remainder of the clock. LaCerda added one more for the team before the final buzzer tolled, while Lynch added two, Mercier and Caron one more each, and JJ Mazur and Zeb Dufresne one apiece as well. LaCerda also finished with an assist, as did Mazur and Lynch; Caron had three.
Nolen and John Campbell contributed the Eagles’ second and third points, respectively.
“Overall, we played well across the board,” Parkin said. “We rode really well, so even when they had possession on their defensive end of the field, we got it back a lot of the time. So we really just kept the ball out of their stick for a good portion of that game.”
Parkin applauded several of his boys, including LaCerda, Lynch, Dufresne and Gabe Gendreau. “It was a good, all-around team effort,” he said.
The win bumped G-NG to 3-1 this season. The Patriots began their spring with a 13-2 loss to Oak Hill/Monmouth/Lisbon, currently ranked first at 5-0. They then picked up a 13-4 victory over Mt. Blue and a 17-8 triumph over St. Dominic. G-NG hosts rivals Lake Region (also 3-1 at present) on Wednesday, May 8.
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.
Zeb Dufresne battles for G-NG.
G-NG standout keeper Brannon Gilbert turned away all but three of the shots he faced.
Sabin Merrill works behind the LA net.
Drew LaCerda piled up seven goals in the Patriots’ victory.
Scott Lynch turned in a strong game for G-NG.
Ben Pierce attacks for the Patriots.
Kyle Mercier logged a pair of goals for the Patriots in their win.
G-NG’s Dan Stash clashes with an Eagle.
Travis Caron reels in a pass.
Sam Tibbetts dashes upfield for the Patriots.
G-NG’s Sam Tibbetts peels away from an LA defender.
JJ Mazur carries for the Patriots.
Dan Stash curls around the Lincoln defense.