DUXBURY — The Harwood boys lacrosse team entered Saturday’s game facing the prospect of having a losing record midway through the season.
It was a strange situation for the Highlanders following last year’s perfect season. And they didn’t let the possibility linger for long, slamming the door on Mount Abraham during a 13-1 victory.
Ely Kalkstein (four goals, four assists) paced Harwood, which tallied four goals in the first quarter and six more in the second. The Highlanders defense held the Eagles scoreless in the first half, resulting in a 10-0 advantage.
“Our boys finally put together a real complete game, so much so that our roster was emptied partway through the third quarter,” Harwood coach Russell Beilke said. “It was nice for a lot of those guys to get a lot of playing time.”
The big cushion led to a running clock for the second half, with HU leading 12-1 after the third quarter. Jake Lynn, Jonathan O’Brien and Finn O’Hara finished with two goals apiece for Harwood. Sully O’Hara (three saves) earned the victory in goal.
“Mount Abe-Vergennes is an up-and-coming team and (coach) Ed Cook is doing a great job,” Beilke said. “It was one of the better displays of sportsmanship we’ve played against, all the way through, so kudos goes out to Ed.”
Griffin Paradee scored for the Eagles and Grady Brokaw made two saves. Mount Abraham (3-5) swept Lamoille and beat defending runner-up U-32 this season, so the Highlanders (4-3) were careful to avoid any letdowns.
“I think we’re a team that is still looking for its identity, so we don’t take anybody lightly,” Beilke said. “But I think that no one should take us lightly. The great thing about lacrosse is that anything can happen. You could be up four goals and then down by four in just a matter of minutes.”
Harwood opened the season with a 4-3 victory over Milton and a 9-4 win over GMVS. Hartford ended the Highlanders’ 19-game winning streak by prevailing 9-6 in Duxbury. After that HU split with Stowe, securing an 11-5 win before falling 8-7. Beilke’s team fell to .500 with Wednesday’s 9-7 loss against Harwood.
“When you lose a dozen seniors, you get a lot of young guys playing more,” Beilke said. “And the guys that are playing right now were guys that were playing in the third and fourth quarter last year. Now they’re playing in the first quarter and it’s a different type of feeling. These young guys are growing every game in a positive way, learning from their mistakes. But I don’t think as a whole we’ve really hit that overall synchronicity with everybody. We only have two real returning starters on offense. Everybody else is new and there’s a couple of freshmen thrown in there.”
Harwood will travel to play Hartford at 7 p.m. Monday. The Hurricanes (8-1) handed Spaulding its first loss of the season Saturday. The Highlanders will wrap up the week by facing U-32 on Wednesday and St. Johnsbury on Saturday.
“When the end of the season comes around we will only have had six practices on our full field,” Beilke said. “Everybody is in the same boat, but it’s hard for us to try and work on things and develop things. Last year we got out much earlier. But the way it seems winters are going that we need to look at a big and long-range picture for more field availability. Any team that is only at six full-field practices throughout the season is kind of crazy.”
Harwood 12, Milton 2
MILTON — Charlotte Cook tucked away three goals Saturday, leading the Highlanders to their second straight victory over the Yellowjackets.
Kelly Tynan got the Highlanders on the board first and finished with two goals. Abi Scharges, Anna Kudriavetz and Aliza Jernigan also scored twice for HU, with low defender Nina Kellogg adding a single goal. Teammate Kaylee Cameron made five saves in front of the cage.
“Kelly Tynan, Erica Dow and Charlotte Cook worked tremendously in the midfield, coming up with possession off the draw and winning ground balls,” Harwood coach Hillary Wheeler said. “Our defense also played a strong game, slowing the ball down in the midfield and communicating well.”
Harwood (2-4) will travel to play Hartford at 5:30 p.m. Monday.