WILMINGTON – One of the best lacrosse teams around visited Salesianum School at Baynard Stadium Thursday night and the Sals walked away feeling as if they should have done better.
The Hill Academy of Vaughan, Ontario, put on a first-period attacking clinic of crisp passing, perfect possession and clever shot-making.
It resulted in six goals, including five before the Sals had taken their second shot of the night.
Salesianum was much better after that but couldn’t overcome the early deficit and fell 11-6 to the Canadians.
“We definitely battled,” said Sallies’ senior Notre Dame-bound attackman Mike Drake. “When it’s 6-0 you can throw it in or you can buckle up and get going and I’m so proud of my team.
“It’s the second game. We have a lot of young guys that didn’t play a lot last year and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Sallies (1-1), which downed Sts. Peter & Paul (Md.) in its opener last week 11-9 at Washington College, will return to Baynard in less than 48 hours to face Easton (Pa.) Saturday at 11 a.m.
Last year, Sallies had given Hill its toughest game, losing 10-9 in overtime. After Thursday’s game, Hill has won 30 games in a row and is 9-0 this season, including one-goal victories over Boys Latin (Md.) and IMG National (Fla.).
Hill’s roster is made up many post-graduates, players in the year between high school and college, with almost all en route to college programs.
COLLEGES: Sanford grad en route to Final Four.
“It starts at the X with their face-off guy,” Sallies coach Bob Healy said of Canadian national team player Justin Inacio. “He’s one of the best in the world. So it’s tough when you go against somebody like that and they’re winning all the possessions.
“They catch and throw really well. They finish in tight. They’re very smart. They do a lot of really good things . . . It’s tough to stop. I thought our defense did a good job and stepped up to the challenge once we settled in. We started to play pretty well. It was 6-5 us over the last three quarters so proud of our guys.”
Salesianum’s first 10 games are against out-of-state opposition before it faces First State foes St. Mark’s, Cape Henlopen and Caesar Rodney. The Sals have played in 10 straight DIAA championship games and won two straight and five of the last six.
The Sals pulled within 6-4 in the second quarter on goals by Patrick Drake and Brett Hobbs and two by Mike Drake, then trailed just 7-4 at halftime.
It was 8-5 after Mike Drake scored on a lunging underhand scoop while battling heavy traffic in front of the cage with 6:02 to go in the third quarter. But Hill responded with three straight goals to salt the win before Pat Drake scored again for Sallies.
“We really believed we can beat these guys,” Healy said. “It was overtime last year. We were up 5-3 the year before at halftime. Yes, we can absolutely beat them but you can’t spot a team like that six goals. They’re going to score. They’re that talented. I think if we got off to a better starter . . . They love coming here and playing us because we’re scrappy, but it’s tough to beat a team like that.”
Contact Kevin Tresolini at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @kevintresolini.