A two-game stretch just beyond the midway point of its season proved to be a microcosm of the boys' lacrosse team in 2012.
The Generals stretched a 4-2 lead at the half against North Andover into a 9-3 bulge with a few minutes remaining, before taking a 9-5 decision. But the following game, versus a tough North Reading squad, Hamilton-Wenham couldn’t keep up the momentum and dropped a disappointing 12-8 game.
“This year, more than ever, we have battled inconsistency,” said coach Jim LaSelva. “We can play up and we can play down. We haven’t really played a full four-quarter game. We are striving to find consistency.”
The Generals (10-8) hope to find that full 40 minutes in the coming weeks in the Div. 3 East boys lacrosse tournament. The Generals start the tournament on Tuesday, May 29 at 5 p.m., when the ninth seeded team hosts 24th-ranked Hull (12-6) at the .
LaSelva said he doesn’t know the opponent, Hull, very well. They played one common opponent – both losing to Norwell – but that is all he has so far. The Generals coach has calls and e-mails into some of the Pirates opponents but hasn’t reached anyone thus far. He said from what he can tell the first round opponent likes to play an up-tempo game.
While how they played may not be on their side, the teams they played may be. The Generals faced four of the top six ranked teams in Eastern Massachusetts Div. 3, according to laxpower.com – North Reading (No. 2), Weston (No. 3), Norwell (No. 4) and Newburyport (No. 6) – as well as Beverly, Marblehead and North Andover, ranked No. 9, No. 12 and No. 14, respectively, in Div. 2.
“Some of our games may not have had a favorable turnout but we are playing them … so we know what level we need to pay at (in the tournament),” LaSelva said. “We don’t think we will see anyone better.”
Offensively, Hamilton-Wenham is led by senior midfielder Elliott Burr, and junior attacks Eddie Frick and Spencer Bergholtz. Burr, last year’s top goal scorer, added more assists this year as LaSelva asked him to be cognizant of double teams and to pass off to his teammates. Frick and Burgholtz are excellent complimentary pieces as either can put up three or more goals in a game.
On defense, senior Jake Stokes leads the way with Cody Cohan and Steve Turpin coming back from their midfield spots to clamp down on the opponent.
The last line of defense could be the one that makes or breaks the “second season” for Hamilton-Wenham - Grant Thompson. The first-year sophomore netminder’s season mirrored the teams’, with some stellar performances mixed in with so-so.
“(Grant’s) had up and down games, but this is a team sport so it doesn’t all fall on him,” LaSelva said. “Grant has not only met my goals (for him) but achieved them and beyond as a starting goalie as a sophomore.”
LaSelva explained that despite entering the first round not knowing much about Hull (), his group of kids are ready.
“We are going into this blind but we excited. We can’t focus on the opponent at this point,” he said.