By Matt Jenkins
---- — TOPSFIELD — For a moment early in the second half, it looked like the Hamilton-Wenham boys lacrosse team was ready to stand up to its undefeated Cape Ann League foes.
Back-to-back goals had pulled the Generals within three goals with plenty of time to go. Perhaps they were to contend with Masconomet for the overall CAL title.
In a flash, Masco made sure that didn’t happen.
The Chieftains responded with four straight goals to put the game out of reach, improving to 8-0 in the league with a 10-5 victory.
“One of the big things we continue to talk about is momentum and where that momentum is going to be,” said Masconomet coach Tom Cobb, whose team moved to 10-4 overall and qualified for the postseason. “So, they kind of stole a little bit of that momentum right after halftime, but we just swung it right back — and that’s one of the hardest things to do. If we can get things like that done more often, that will help us keep control of the game.”
Hamilton-Wenham (8-3 overall, 6-1 in the CAL) just didn’t have enough defensively to slow down Masconomet.
The Chieftains’ goal total came in two spurts: a six-goal blast in the first half and the four-goal run that carried over from the third quarter into the fourth. That second run increased Masco’s lead to 10-3 and put the Generals away.
“I think a lot of it was that I don’t think we were really ready to play. Masco’s a team that has a strong reputation, and I think some of our kids got a little intimidated by it. We’re trying to get over that and try to make them realize that we’re a pretty good team ourselves,” Hamilton-Wenham coach Josh Wedge said.
“I think we kind of gave it away early on and didn’t play very well on the defensive end of the field, which was really disappointing. We were really weak all day, so once we kind of settled down we couldn’t really keep them off the board enough to really mount a comeback. We just gave up just too many easy goals.”
The Generals, who are still in line to win the CAL Baker Division, started off playing well. They controlled possession in the early going and took a lead when Parker Strong scored an unassisted, man-up goal.
Masconomet settled down quickly, however. The Chieftains scored the final four goals of the first quarter — two coming from Tom Cashin — and added two more in the second quarter.
“They didn’t really do anything crazy besides dodge a guy, and we got no help behind,” Wedge said.
Cobb liked his team’s patience and the way it committed to spreading the ball around.
“I think that we had a lot of good ball movement,” he said. “It’s nice to see those guys moving the ball and getting things done that we’ve been working on in practice to improve ourselves.”
Cam Jung led the Chieftains with three goals and two assists and Cashin added three goals and one helper. Harry Cwik was the only other multiple goal scorer for Masconomet with two goals and one assist. Max Craig chipped in with a goal and an assist and Harold Moody scored once.
Brian Shaw led Hamilton-Wenham with two goals and two assists while Strong contributed two goals and one assist. Case Johnson also scored for the Generals.
“I felt like we had a good opportunity to finally win the CAL outright — or at least take a shot at it,” Wedge said. “Again, we just didn’t come out strong. They deserved to win the game; they outplayed us for four quarters. We didn’t give them much of a challenge, to be honest.”