April 10 was a good day to be a Pirate.
The Rocky River boys and girls lacrosse teams welcomed Bay for back-to-back varsity games, winning both by scores of 11-5 and 16-7, respectively.
In the girls game, the Pirates (4-2, 2-1 Northern Ohio Lacrosse League) put their motto of “relentless” into practice, controlling the action from the opening draw and eventually building a big lead.
They took an early 3-0 lead that the Rockets (0-5, 0-2 NOLL) cut to 3-2 thanks to a pair of Bridget Brown goals. That’s as close as the contest would remain the rest of the afternoon, as the Pirates scored six straight for a 9-2 lead. The first half would end with a 9-3 scoring margin.
“I just think, overall, we came out with the mindset that we were going to be the fastest team, we’re all going to work together and make sure our communication was up,” said senior attacker Allison Kysela. “We just wanted to win as a team and make sure we outran them.”
The Pirates continued to set the pace in the second half, growing their lead to 14-3 and, later, 16-5 before Rocket goals from Meredith Florez and Megan Young in the final five minutes led to the final score.
Kysela led the Pirates with six goals, three in each half. Fellow senior Blair Willse and sophomore Iris Polly each netted a hat trick. Junior Ella Nejad had a goal and team-high two assists.
“Our offense really came through today,” Pirates coach Colleen Hile said. “They’ve been working really hard on settling the ball, making sure they work through their cuts and making sure they see open girls coming from the back side. They did a phenomenal job of that today.”
A pair of freshmen, Daisy Thompson and Kaitlyn Byrne, scored their first varsity goals and each recorded an assist.
“Our offense didn’t really let up,” Kysela said. “That was really cool for (Thompson and Byrne).”
Much like the girls team did earlier in the afternoon, the Pirate boys (4-2, 4-0 NOLL) used early scoring to create an advantage and eventually beat the Rockets (0-4, 0-4 NOLL).
Will Bennett, Rowan McDougle and Nathan Robertson all scored within the first five minutes of the first quarter, then had to hold on as the Rockets stiffened up defensively. Jak Nageotte and Miles Krueger each scored within 30 seconds of each other late in the second to make it 3-2 before Bennett’s goal with 1:32 left in the half gave the Pirates a little extra cushion.
In all, the Rockets held the Pirates scoreless for nearly 18 minutes of the first half after the early barrage.
“We’ve got to score (in that situation),” Rockets coach Brian Hare said. “I think it was 13 times we put a shot on their goalie that hit off the net (but didn’t go in). We’ve got to bury those. That’s what it came down to. We’ve got to score.”
With Hildebrand leading the charge, the Pirates netted seven goals over the final two quarters to seal the win. Hildebrand scored four times–three in the third quarter alone–and Bennett notched a hat trick with 1:40 left in the fourth to make it 11-5.
“(Bay) wasn’t sliding over fast, so I always had good looks going to my right and I put a couple in,” Hildebrand said. “It was just a good all-around offensive effort by the boys.”
For the game, the Pirates outshot the Rockets on-net, 14-12. Pirates goalie Carter Smith made five saves while Rockets’ counterpart Joseph Sharpnuck made three.
“We have a good bunch of kids that can shoot the lights out when they get opportunities,” Pirates coach Bobby Perez said. “If we get enough shot opportunities, balls are going to start going in.”
In boys competition, the Pirates will next travel to Olmsted Falls on April 20 for a 7 p.m. start. The Rockets will play at Brunswick on Thursday at 7 p.m., then host Padua on Saturday at 6 p.m. The Rocky River girls will host Hathaway Brown on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., while Bay will host Brunswick on Thursday at 7 p.m.
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