(May 1, 2015) Monday’s game between the Stephen Decatur and Worcester Prep boys’ lacrosse teams was a physical battle.
Decatur Coach Scott Lathroum has coached a few Worcester players over the years and many Seahawks and Mallards are friends and play on the same club and travel ball teams.
“They’re buddies and friends off the field, but when you strap the helmet on and put the pads on, it’s for who’s the best out here,” he said.
It was anyone’s game in the first half, but Decatur, playing on its home field in Berlin, held the Worcester Prep Mallards scoreless in the second half to win the match 11-4.
Senior Jake Lathroum scored first to give Decatur a 1-0 lead. Shane Moore, a senior, provided the Seahawks with a two-goal cushion. Freshman Sam Cantello put Worcester on the board with two minutes remaining in the first quarter. Lathroum added one for Decatur in the final seconds of the quarter and the home team led 3-1.
Cantello cut the Seahawks’ advantage to one in the first minute of the second quarter.
Sophomore Steve Alther and senior captain Corey Gwin each netted a shot to boost Decatur’s advantage to 5-2.
Sophomore Patrick Petrera answered with two goals and Worcester now trailed by just one goal. Senior Evan Heim scored 56 seconds before halftime and Decatur went into the break ahead 6-4.
“We made some mistakes around the crease that cost us some goals and we made a mistake clearing the ball and we fixed that,” Coach Lathroum said. “Offensively, we didn’t play bad at all in the first half, we just had a couple letdowns and mistakes that normally on defense we don’t make. Maybe we were just too hyped up, but we seemed to fix it at halftime.”
The Seahawks had possession of the ball the majority of the third quarter, but Heim tallied the only goal at the 2:23 mark.
Gwin fired a shot past Worcester goalie, junior assistant captain Wade Walter, 56 seconds into the fourth quarter and Decatur led 8-4.
Heim got his hat trick with 5:30 left to play. Senior Jackson Mumford scored the final two goals for Decatur.
Coach Lathroum said ball control on offense was key to the Seahawks’ success in the second half.
“We’d get the face-off and then we took care of the ball. We had a lot of shots–we didn’t shoot real well those first 10 shots of the second half–but fortunately we were riding like crazy and we would not let them get over half field with the ball. We kept taking it from them,” he said. “We started to shoot well, we found open people and the crease got open for us. We forced them to slide a lot.”
Heim was the Seahawks’ top producer with three goals and an assist. Mumford, who attended Worcester Prep from kindergarten through eighth grade, and Gwin recorded two goals and an assist each. Lathroum had two goals. Alther and Moore (one assist) chipped in with one goal apiece.
Junior Dryden Brous won nine face-offs.
Senior captain, goalie Will Hastings, who also went to Worcester and played for Coach Kevin Gates his freshman year before transferring to Decatur as a sophomore, stopped 11 Prep shots.
“We definitely turned it on in the second half, got everybody on the same page,” Hastings said. “I’m proud of my team.”
Hastings said what the players like most about competing against each other is the “hometown rivalry.”
“It’s friends playing friends. It’s competitive and just a lot of fun,” he said. “We all grew up together and play on the same travel teams. On the field it’s all business and then once we get done we’re all back to being friends.”
Cantello (one assist) and Petrera each scored twice for Worcester. Walter recorded 11 saves. Junior assistant captain Ross Dickerson won 10 face-offs and scooped seven ground balls.
“At halftime, I thought we were right there and then we played defense the whole rest of the game. [Decatur] played so unselfish and I told our guys, ‘watch what they’re doing. Why can’t we do that?’ They would be drawing a guy and then moving it and we would draw a guy and then try to run through them,” Gates said. “I give [Decatur] a lot of credit. They played unselfish on offense and they were patient whereas we weren’t. We were the exact opposite and that was the tough part…We just couldn’t get anything going. You’ve got to give the defense a rest which we never did and our defense was exhausted.”
Lathroum said athletes on both teams played hard.
“They’re a good team. They’re young, they’re going to come back and it’s going to be a heck of a game next year,” he said. “We’re graduating a bunch and they’re not. This is the kind of game you look forward to and want to play.”