By Matt Jenkins
---- — BEVERLY — It took time for the Beverly boys lacrosse team to get what it wanted yesterday afternoon. And it’s going to take time for the Danvers boys lacrosse team to get where it wants to go, too.
The Panthers broke open a tight game in the third quarter and held off an up-and-coming Danvers team, 10-5, at Beverly High School.
The Falcons’ goal was to slow the game down and keep Beverly away from their crease. But the Panthers remained patient and outscored Danvers, 4-1, in the third quarter. Beverly also had a five-goal run that began with less than five minutes to play in the third quarter and didn’t end until Danvers’ Jay Calcagno scored with 2:35 to play.
It took awhile for the Panthers to crack Danvers’ zone defense, but once they did they were able to get separation. Sophomore attackman Hunter Spencer had four goals and two assists to lead the hosts; Nick Albano scored two goals and dished out four assists, and Matt Page came through with four goals and one assist.
“It was a game of patience,” Beverly (2-1) coach John Pynchon said. “We actually didn’t really change much. We did switch Hunter and Nick and I think that led to two goals right off the bat, but offensively, scheme-wise, we kept doing what we were trying to do the whole game. It just took time. We were patient, which I was really excited about.”
Danvers (1-1) coach Tim Murphy came into the season confident that this is the year the Falcons can contend with Beverly and Marblehead for the Northeastern Conference crown. The Falcons showed signs yesterday, but there’s still work to be done.
“We’re just going to add in some more situational pressure defense, different faceoff options and switching our offense around a little bit to try to pick on weaknesses if they’re exposed on another team,” Murphy said. “We’re getting there and we were learning as the game played. The defenders reacted and recognized mistakes and were able to fix mistakes. We’ll keep working; it’s still early and there’s plenty of season left.”
Danvers started strong, matching the Panthers in the first quarter on goals from Trevor Chasse and Troy Fleming. Calcagno scored his first of two goals early in the second quarter to give the Falcons their only lead of the game at 3-2.
Spencer finished a feed from Albano with just 49 seconds to play in the first half, and the same duo hooked up again just 1:24 into the second half to give the Panthers the lead for good.
“They were executing their offense against our zone. They were looking for certain things and we told our guys, ‘This is what they’re looking for’, and they didn’t execute it,” Murphy said. “We made the adjustments to slow them down, but at that point the momentum had swung. Our faceoff guy (Stephen Ganley) got injured and what was going to be an advantage for us we didn’t have ... and we didn’t have an answer.”
Calcagno finished with two goals for Danvers, Chasse had one goal and one assist, and Fleming and Stephen Goutzos each scored once.
Freshman Sam Abate added two assists for Beverly, which got excellent defense throughout, particularly from goalie Kevin Lally and defensemen Ty Martz and Dylan Jutras.
“We are very good defensively. They had a goal where the kid fed the crease, we doubled and checked the ball and it flies out in the air right to the kid who’s right there,” Pynchon said. “Kevin has given up one of those in our first three games. Sometimes those aren’t going to go like that and we’re going to be fine. Overcoming adversity is what we need to keep getting better at.”