Nauset Boys Lacrosse Bounces Back For First Win

by Brad Joyal

NORTH EASTHAM – The Nauset boys lacrosse team was hungry for redemption after suffering a 12-9 loss to Mansfield in its season opener on March 30. One week later, the Warriors collected their first win with an 8-3 victory over Canton at Nauset.

“Last week was tough. It was definitely an improvement,” Nauset coach Jesse Peno said after the win.

It was a complete team effort for the Warriors (1-1). Junior Logan Poulin tallied two goals and an assist and seven other players netted goals. Senior Liam Johnston anchored a defensive effort that saw junior Zach Coelho make big save after save en route to the victory.

“We stepped up, we took care of the ball better, and we played as a team,” Peno said. “Our defense was huge. Defense and our goalie — Zach stood on his head.”

Junior Joey Berardi opened the scoring for Nauset before Poulin and freshman Sam Mayhew each scored to give the Warriors a 3-2 lead at halftime. Seniors Ryder Holm and Riley Meehan and juniors Sawyer McCutchen and Michael Flynn each netted second-half goals in addition to Poulin’s second of the game.

Peno noted it was a good sign to see so many players contribute in a hard-fought win. After graduating more than 10 seniors from last year’s team — including prolific scoring threats in attackmen Andrew Berardi and Cooper McIntire — the coach said that multiple players will have to provide the scoring this spring.

“We’re going to have to play differently this year,” Peno said. “When you graduate 500 career goals or whatever it is, you lose a lot of offensive firepower. We have a lot of talented guys that share the ball a little more. It’s not so much attack-dominated, it’s all over the place.”

Not only did the Warriors demonstrate their scoring depth, they also showed that they can score quickly. After Berardi scored with 6:08 left in the first quarter, Canton sophomore Dillon Albert scored two goals to give the visitors a 2-1 edge.

Poulin evened the score with 42.9 seconds remaining in the second quarter before Mayhew found the back of the net with 0.6 on the clock to give the Warriors a crucial 3-2 advantage at the intermission.

“Huge,” Peno said. “We needed that going into halftime. We finished really strong last week, but that was good to get against a good, physical team from off-Cape. To have that burst and get that confidence, I think that set us into motion for the rest of the game.”

Nauset built a 7-2 lead after exploding for four goals in the third. Defensively, there was little the Bulldogs could do against Johnston and Coelho, who made four of his seven saves in the second half.

“Liam Johnston was incredible,” Peno said. “No. 13 was a really good player for them and Liam wiped him out in the second half.”

Peno said that it has helped to have so many players show up motivated to play lacrosse this spring, especially the team’s large contingency of hockey players, who experienced a run to the Division 3 state championship a few weeks ago.

“We have a lot of hockey guys playing for us,” Peno said. “They know what it takes to get there. Obviously it was a tough loss for them in the end, but they came into lacrosse even hungrier.”