BEVERLY — Don’t poke the ... Panthers?
If yesterday’s 16-4 thrashing of visiting Peabody is any barometer, that phrase certainly applies to the Beverly High lacrosse team.
Seemingly on a mission after suffering their first conference loss in four seasons two days beforehand, the Panthers came out with laser-like focus yesterday and never let up, dominating a very good Tanner squad from start to finish.
Peabody won the opening faceoff, gained possession and took it into the Beverly zone — and promptly threw the ball away. Before the visitors knew it, the Panthers ripped off five straight goals to take a lead they’d never relinquish. Peabody never got any closer than four the rest of the way; at one point Beverly’s lead swelled to 11 goals.
“We have a team that’s made up of a lot of different guys from other (sports) programs here at the high school who are used to winning,” said senior captain Brendan Flaherty, who powered the Panther offense with five goals and two assists yesterday. “We hate losing more than we like to win. So after that game Tuesday (a 5-4 loss at Marblehead), everyone was mentally focused in practice (Wednesday) and carried that over into (yesterday’s) game. Every single guy did his part to help us win.”
Beverly (10-2 overall) not only had its way offensively, with talented marksman Nick Albano adding four goals and a helper and captain Dom Abate scoring once and assisting on five others, but was also stellar defensively. Andrew Irving, Ty Martz and Mike Dooling put the clamps on two of the state’s leading scorers, Peabody attackmen Keifer Heckman and Nick Ouellette.
The Panthers held Peabody’s pair a combined two goals and three assists (with two of those points coming with 30 seconds to play).
“We challenged our defense to hold Keifer and Nick to five points, and that’s exactly what they did,” said Beverly veteran coach John Pynchon. “The defense has really exceeded our expectations.