By Conor Walsh
---- — MANCHESTER — The Manchester Essex boys lacrosse team is beginning to understand a harsh reality. If you can’t score, you can’t win.
The Hornets have struggled to find an offensive identity all season, a trend that continued last night when Georgetown visited Hyland Field.
Manchester Essex was unable to score until the third quarter, when junior co-captain Chris Dumont buried the team’s only goal of the game in transition, and despite strong play from goalie Alex Taliaferro and the Hornets’ defense, Georgetown walked away with a 7-1 victory.
“Our defense, as a whole, was pretty much the difference in the game for us,” Hornets’ assistant coach Steve Driscoll said. “That’s the frustrating part is that (head) Coach (John McCavanagh) and I are screaming and barking at practice, ‘Keep rotating, keep rotating.’ We’ve got to be more aggressive on the offensive end.
“It’s not that we have a lack of power shots, either, which is the frustrating part. It’s almost like we’re timid to push it through and get an offensive chance. The only way we’re going to score goals is if we get shots off and when we don’t get shots off, it’s a 7-1 game.”
Georgetown’s attack of Jared Warren, Neil Murphy and Nick Depasquale proved plenty capable of handling the pressure of Manchester Essex’s defense.
Early on, Murphy and Depasquale pumped in two quick goals to give Georgetown (7-8) a 2-0 lead after the first quarter.
From there, Georgetown piled it on. Depasquale struck again early in the second quarter followed by consecutive goals from Warren to extend the Royals’ lead to 5-0 at halftime.
Were it not for the play of Taliaferro (14 saves) and the Hornets’ defense, led yesterday by Doug Rodier, the score could have been far more lopsided at halftime.
For a team that’s yet to win in the month of May, the early deficit yesterday was predictably demoralizing. While Dumont was able to get the Hornets on the board in the third quarter — a frame where Taliaferro held Georgetown scoreless — the Hornets simply couldn’t establish a consistent rhythm in the offensive end.
They did find a way to maintain possession, particularly in the fourth quarter, but the nose for the net was missing. And that was the difference.
It was the sixth-straight loss for the Hornets, whose coaches are at a loss for words at this point in the year as Manchester Essex (2-11) remains winless in the Cape Ann League.
The overall message from Driscoll and head coach John McCavanagh, though, remains the same. Despite this season’s struggles, the program’s not far off.
“As soon as they get two up on us, heads go right down,” Driscoll said. “That’s what Coach and I are trying to change. We’re preaching, ‘Listen, I know you guys are taking your lumps this year, but if you keep buying into the program, it’s going to come. It will come. It’s frustrating now, but we know it’ll be there.’”