HORSHAM >> At the conclusion of last season, the Hatboro-Horsham boys lacrosse team faced some big questions.
Chief among them was how to replace a senior-heavy attack and how badly did the guys coming back want to keep things moving in the right direction. The first came together during the season, as the Hatters have developed a very solid attack. The latter was answered well before the season began, when the team’s veterans bought in to making it a year-long process.
As a result, the Hatters are right on path to return to the postseason and kept things going Thursday with a 9-2 Suburban One League American Conference win over visiting Plymouth Whitemarsh.
“My attack last year were seniors and when they graduated we thought, do we have to reinvent the wheel here or what are we going to do to get the ball moving,” Hatters coach John Kurek said. “The guys picked it up. Right at the end of the summer, they started throwing and catching. They all understand how each other play. They got on the ball and wanted to make this their team.”
Joe Larouche and Logan Eldridge led the Hatters attack, which picked things up after halftime and used a lot of off-ball movement to wear out an already tired PW team. The Colonials were on their third game in the last three days with Wednesday’s game a four-overtime loss to Lansdale Catholic.
PW put up a valiant effort, but with a lot of players being asked to play both ways, tired legs had their way in the second half.
“For us to get them after that and for them to have to travel to us, it bounced in our favor,” Kurek said. “But they played us tough, they’re a well-coached team.”
Still, Hatboro-Horsham only led 2-1 after a quarter and 3-1 at the break, settling for a little too much individual stuff on attack.
“We’re not a team that plays too many subs so it’s hard for us to come back like that,” PW coach Bryan Gregg said. “I thought our defense played really well today. Our offense did well today, but they’re a very good lacrosse team and they have more horses. I think we just ran out of steam at some point.”
Both defenses did a good job and despite PW’s being on the losing end, it still forced Hatboro-Horsham to work hard for every score. It was a snipe by Eldridge early in the third quarter that seemed to spark the Hatters as they went on to out-score PW 6-1 in the second half.
Hatboro-Horsham’s defense continued to stifle the PW attack and Gregg gave the Hatters’ defenders plenty of credit for slowing his attack down. Whichever Colonial had the ball was hounded by a Hatter or two, with PW committing 16 turnovers in the game.
“All four of the guys they had on defense were solid and aggressive,” Gregg said. “They way we run offense, we were definitely running slow today. We were a little bit slower than I would have liked to have seen.”
Kurek pointed to the core of close defenders Drew Robinson, Jeff Marshall, Eddie Masterson at the heart of the defense but the unit also got inspired play from midfielder Doug Carpenter (three groundballs) and long-pole defender Chris McPoyle (four groundballs) on Thursday.
Not to be overshadowed for Hatboro-Horsham has been the work of faceoff man Brian Hood. Hood helped his team win seven of 12 draws on Thursday and has been a consistent presence on the X for Hatboro-Horsham all season.
“When you can take the ball back after you score, it deflates a team,” Kurek said. “It’s hats off to him for putting all that work in during the offseason.”
Both teams finish out the regular season next week, with the Hatters having a tough stretch against Abington and on the road at Souderton and Garnet Valley. PW also faces Souderton but the weary Colonials get a bit of a break with a day of rest between games.
Gregg was confident his group can finish the season on a high note.
“We’ll get out legs back under us and see how things play out,” Gregg said. “If we play well, we’ll give ourselves a good shot on Tuesday and Thursday. It’ll be nice to have that day of preparation in between.”
Hatboro-Horsham 9, Plymouth Whitemarsh 2
Plymouth Whitemarsh 1 0 0 1 — 2
Hatboro-Horsham 2 1 4 2 — 9
Goals-Assists: PW-Vince Martina 1-0, Collin Kissane 1-0, Kenny Diamond 0-1, Brendan Sullivan 0-1; HH-Joe Larouche 3-0, Logan Eldridge 2-0, Cameron Knox 1-2, Matt Barella 1-0, Drew Robinson 1-0, Ian Reilly 1-0.