Looking back after Port Huron United and St. Clair’s lacrosse game, both teams had something special to look back on.
United got to celebrate a 6-3 generated by a hat trick from Austin O’Hare to move to 3-0 overall in the young season.
On the other side of the field – despite the loss – the Saints got to enjoy history as that was their first varsity game in the school’s history after years of competing as a club team.
“Oh it was great, and it was even better by playing Port Huron,” St. Clair head coach Jordan Horne said. “I’ve known (United head coach Jon Holden), he’s a great guy.”
The Saints had solid goaltending all night as John Staiger had 13 saves to keep St. Clair in the game. United also had a solid performance in net as Max Bade – normally the JV goalie – came up and gave his team six saves in the win.
“Max stepped up and did a great job for us,” Holden said.
Before all of the saves on both ends, St. Clair’s Riley Finnegan made history as he scored the varsity program’s first goal with 7:29 left in the first quarter. United had plenty of chances in the first quarter, but just couldn’t find the net with their shots early on.
That changed early on in the second quarter when United’s Grant Nesbitt scored on an isolation to tie it at 1-all. Less than a minute later, St. Clair’s Kyle Gudme scored his first of two goals to give the Saints their final lead of the night before United’s Owen Carter tied it at 2-2 shortly after.
The third quarter is when O’Hare and United made their move, using two of his goals and another from Jake Bade to take a 5-2 lead into the fourth quarter.
“I saw their heads finally getting out of spring break and back into lacrosse,” Holden said with a laugh when talking about the second half.
The fourth quarter was defensive, not seeing any goals until O’Hare rounded out his hat trick with 1:04 left before Gudme added another Saints goal.
“I’ve been working a lot, been shooting a lot and playing wall ball,” O’Hare said. “That was a lot of fun.”
After the game Horne was pleased with his team’s performance to start the year. Instead of his team trying to get accustomed to competition, they came out firing and ready to compete.
“I thought we were going to just come out here and get through stuff, but they played a lot better than I thought,” Horne said.
“The ball movement, the talking and everyone is starting to get a feel for the game.”
Horne – a 20-year-old St. Clair alum – is also in his first season with the program. He played a season at Bethany College in West Virginia before coming back home to attend St. Clair County Community College and coach the Saints.
And while the Saints have plenty of season left in their first spring as a varsity team, they’ll look to quickly build on those promising signs.
And beyond this season? Well, it looks like it will be a little bit of fun.
“I’ll tell you what, they have a great team,” Holden said. “It’s going to be fun the next couple of years watching them progress. This rivalry is going to heat up.”