As the Needham boys lacrosse team proved this morning, adapting and capitalizing on your opportunities is important in the high-scoring world of lacrosse.
After a fairly even first half that ended with Needham leading 6-5, the Rockets made adjustments in their possession, clock management and defensive strategies that allowed them to pull out an 11-7 home win over Hingham and improve to 2-0 on the season.
The first half was back and forth as junior Will Stenberg, sophomore Mark Riley, junior Cam O'Leary, and senior Franz Brinkhaus traded goals with the Harbormen.
In the opening minutes of the second half, senior captain Jake Quinn hit the post twice while trying to score the equalizer and goalkeeper Robby Hurd denied him a third time while killing a penalty to keep Needham ahead. After starting slow, Hurd came up big on a number of occasions to give his team the chance to win.
"Robby Hurd played very well," said Needham coach David Wainwright. "He came out real slow in the first quarter, but he got himself situated and started using his identifications against players and recognizing their shooting."
The home team began to pull away halfway through the third quarter when Stenberg got his third goal of the game by coming from behind the goal and burying a shot in the top of the net.
"Will Stenberg played very well," said Wainwright. "On the attack he got three goals and four assists, so he was our point-scorer for the day."
The next two Rocket goals came from junior Davis Cutter, which opened up a 9-6 lead in the fourth quarter.
"I have to say Davis Cutter was a very nice surprising offensive presence," Wainwright said. "This year he's shown a lot of poise and responsibility."
Penalties and turnovers were a major problem in the second half for the Harbormen, who were forced to pay for errant passes, fouls and offside calls with five second half goals against.
"We hurt ourselves and they took advantage of it," said Hingham coach John Todd. "They did a good job wearing us down and getting the looks that they wanted."
Doing a good job of containing the Hingham offense was junior Josh Aliber at long-stick middie, who received praise along with the rest of the Rocket defense.
"Defensively I thought we were pretty solid all the way around," said Wainwright. "When you hold a team like Hingham to less than 10 goals, you know you're doing something right."
Hingham got late goals from sophomore Kevin Blair, and an impressive goal from senior Chris Benoit, who hit the top corner of the net while falling to the ground with two minutes to play, but it wasn't enough.
This was a big win for Needham, who will use the momentum and tally in the win column to carry them toward their goal of a tournament berth.
"Any time you can get a W like this it builds a lot of confidence for our guys because it's a non-league game and they're a huge factor when it comes down to the tournament," said Wainwright.