BY J. PATRICK EAKEN | MIRROR SPORTS — In its season opener at St. Francis High School’s LaValley Field, the Anthony Wayne boys lacrosse team came out of the gate strong.
Junior midfielder Ty Grooms scored on a 45-foot shot with 4:07 remaining in the first period to give the Generals a 1-0 lead.
St. Francis senior attack Alex Harms then tied the game at one goal apiece, assisted by senior attack Forrest Stacy, with 29.8 seconds left in the first.
Harms’ goal was scored on the Knights’ first shot, however, and AW managed just three more shots as they won two of three draws and controlled possession much of the opening 12 minutes.
In the second, St. Francis took control, outshooting AW 12-2 and scoring three times unanswered to take a 4-1 lead at halftime.
“We showed glimpses in the first quarter,” said AW coach Ross Mellgren. “We possessed the ball really well, we moved it really well and the game plan that we installed was working the way it should have.
“Then the second quarter was a little rougher. We were a little more panicked – we turned the ball over. If you continue to give the other team the ball, you will end up paying for it eventually.”
The Knights, who lost their season opener to Medina in overtime, went on to defeat the Generals, 6-1, outshooting them 29-9.
AW had one opportunity on a 6-on-4 power play because the Knights had two players on the sidelines waiting for penalties to expire.
That offensive possession went nowhere, however, and the Generals eventually turned the ball over, missing out on the best opportunity they had the entire game.
St. Francis senior attack Eric Sigler scored on an assist from junior midfielder Grant Arnsted to break the 1-1 tie and give the Knights their first lead just 55 seconds into the second quarter.
Harms finished the game with four goals, including one in the second period when he intercepted a pass in front of AW’s goal with 7:27 to go in the first half.
Senior midfielder Brock Schwartz had the Knights’ only other goal, and junior Braeden Madasz protected their net by not allowing a score after the first quarter.
Junior Caden VonSeggern was in goal for Anthony Wayne. Facing just one shot in the first period was not so bad, but AW won only one draw after that and the Generals had a hard time obtaining possession.
Mellgren said his team’s first season opener in two years was not a total loss. He learned a lot about his team, especially since the 2020 season was canceled due to the coronavirus.
“I saw quite a few positives and some negatives,” Mellgren said. “A lot of guys stepped up today, including a lot of young guys who don’t have a lot of experience right now.
“The effort level was what we wanted. I can’t fault them for that – they did a great job on the effort and we just have little things we need to be able to tweak.
“We were not doing what we normally do on 6-on-6. We seemed a little bit nervous out there, but that is to be expected with the lack of experience we have.”
First-year St. Francis coach Jack Loy enjoyed his first varsity victory.
AW won the junior varsity game, 6-5.
The Generals open Northern Lakes League play on Tuesday, April 6 in Sylvania, taking on Northview at Cat Stadium at 6:30 p.m.