NEWBURYPORT — The Newburyport boys lacrosse team picked up a huge win yesterday afternoon, beating a tough North Reading team 12-5 to gain some serious ground in the league standings.
After giving up a goal early, Newburyport (6-1, 4-1 CAL) rebounded to take control with four unanswered goals in the first quarter to take a lead they would never relinquish. Junior attacker Mike Shay scored each of the team’s first three goals, and junior midfielder JJ Bajko chipped in the fourth to make it 4-1 after the first break.
North Reading (8-4, 4-2 CAL) mounted a mini-comeback in the second quarter with two quick goals early on to make it 4-3, but that was as close as the Hornets would get. Junior attacker Matt Kelleher and Shay each scored to extend the Clippers’ lead to 6-3 going into halftime, and then Newburyport scored four more in the third to effectively put the game out of reach.
The win was Newburyport’s fifth in a row, and between North Reading being knocked down a peg and Triton’s loss at Masconomet, the Clippers now stand alone in second place in the Cape Ann League’s Kinney Division. Masconomet is in first place.
Newburyport head coach Ed Gaudiano said after the game that he was happy with the effort his team gave, but he believes there is still room for improvement, particularly on the mental aspect of the game.
“I think we could play smarter, we made a lot of mental errors and that’s what we told the guys after the game,” Gaudiano said. “There was some great hustle and good lacrosse, but there were times where we fell off doing some smart things on the field, and I think North Reading was able to take advantage of some of those.”
One example of a mental lapse on the part of Newburyport came after a Clipper defender was sent off for cross-checking a North Reading midfielder so hard that the player was knocked off his feet and had to come out of the game with a wrist injury.