RUTLAND — Coach Ian Thomas brings a new offense to the Spaulding boys lacrosse program this year and Travis Roy was the tip of its spear in a 9-7 victory over Rutland High School on Friday at Alumni Field.
Roy had four goals and the Crimson Tide grabbed a 3-0 lead and never gave it up in winning their season opener.
It was just the fourth time this spring the Tide were on a field. By contrast, Rutland (3-3) has already played six games.
“They’ve been learning it and playing it very well,” said Thomas, a former assistant at Norwich University, of his offense. Friday marked the field debut of the new-look Tide, who did not have any preseason scrimmages.
Spaulding, which hosted its first playoff game in years last season, used to employ an isolation offense but “now they realize it takes all six (offensive) players,” said Roy. “They’re still figuring out the style ... we’ve got a lot of potential this year.”
Roy got off to a quick start with two of Spaulding’s first three goals. Even with the Raiders stick-checking hard, Roy was able to find a way to the net. He literally bounced through three defenders like a pinball to score his first goal in heavy traffic.
“He’s been working on how to use his body to protect his stick,” said Thomas.
Aiden Blouin added two goals and Tide keeper Attilio Perantoni made 14 saves, the same as Rutland counterpart Chris Wilk.
“Our defense played really well,” said Thomas. “(Lucian) Parker played a great game.”
Joe Anderson’s three goals led the Raiders.
Spaulding’s lead topped off at four goals on two occasions before the Raiders pulled within 8-7 with 4:37 remaining on Anderson’s final goal. At one point, Rutland had a 4-1 run going, including two goals by Anderson.
“There was a lot of fight in them,” said Raiders coach Rob Labate.
Then the Tide dug in. Perantoni made a key save on a Jacob Lorman bouncer, followed by Wilk’s stop of a Blouin shot close in. Then, after Wilk made another save, Carter Dickinson pounced on a loose ball and scored a pad goal with 1:50 remaining.
It was a tough third-straight loss for the Raiders, who played six men short. That group included midfielder Connor Ladabouche, a big part of the Rutland offense, who was sick.
Even so, the Raiders did not move well in the early stages and Labate was forced to call timeout less than six minutes into play with Spaulding already ahead 3-0.
“I think the kids thought this was going to be an easy game because they’re a Division II team,” said Labate. Rutland competes in Division I.
Spaulding gets back to action next Friday at Stowe, with Rutland hosting Brattleboro the next day.
“I told the kids we’ve got to regroup,” Labate said. “We’re 3-3 and we could be 5-1.”