WESTFORD, Mass. -- With so many league matchups taking place early in the season, Acton-Boxborough knew it had to make a statement against Westford Academy to avoid losing pace in the Dual County League Large race.
The Colonials did exactly that, dominating in all phases of the game en route to an 18-13 victory over the No. 4 Grey Ghosts at Westford Academy.
Ten different players found the back of the cage for A-B (4-1 overall, 1-1 DCL), topped by Scott Rogers (four goals, two assists) and J.T. Kelly (four goals, one helper). Trevor Konenenko added a hat trick while Hunter Arnold and Brian Picca each contributed a goal and two assists.
On defense, poles Ian Maxwell, Gabe Cormier, Austin Wolf and James Gnall, along with LSM Kevin Brogie, were outstanding in front of goalie Rick Kronenwett.
"We're very athletic," said A-B head coach Pat Ammendolia. "Last year I think we had some great lacrosse players. This year, we have some good lacrosse players but I think we've got great athletes on this team. We can run and that's definitely a strength of ours, team speed. That's what we like to do, get out there and try to run by people."
In order to do that, the Colonials needed to have possessions and the trio of Joe Cormier, Gabe Cormier and Josh Bucens took care of that. Joe Cormier was particularly dominant as the main draw-taker and A-B won all eight faces in the opening quarter and the offense staked the team to a 6-1 lead.
The Colonials would extend that lead to as many as nine goals in the second as Joe Cormier, Arnold, Konenenko, Bryan Sweeney, Rogers, and Kelly all scored during a 6-1 spurt. Loyola-bound attackman Jay Drapeau (four goals, assist) had the first tally of the frame for Westford (4-1, 1-1) and added two more before the half to make it a 12-5 game.
"We isolated their shorties up top, we ran our system and dodged up top," Rogers said of the offensive explosion. "Their slides were a little late and we just put it to them, put the ball in the back of the net. When we ran down the alleys, their slide would come from the crease. J.T. [Kelly] did a good job of popping up to the high crease and getting a couple looks. I got both my assists to him."
Acton-Boxborough pushed the lead back up to nine in the third (15-6) as Rogers, Max Emond and Kelly all connected before Josh Sawyer (four goals, assist) slowed the run. The Colonials slowed the pace in the fourth, trading goals to start the frame with Joey Biggins getting the final score for an 18-9 lead with 5:05 left. The Grey Ghosts popped in four in a row to close it out.
"I think I underestimated their athleticism a little bit," admitted Westford coach Matt Tholander. "I knew they had good, individual, on-ball defenders but I didn't realize that the faceoff circle was going to be a huge problem for us. Faceoffs and ground balls were the big differences in the game."
"Our unsettled defense has been better this year and we obviously got caught up a little bit there with our matchups," he continued. "We knew defensively, we weren't ready at the beginning of the year and we're a long way from where we need to be but like I said to the kids, I've been on this side of it multiple times with A-B where they bum-rush us and next time around, it always seems to work out that you always get another shot at them."