SPRINGFIELD >> La Salle’s Bill Leahy can watch and admire Archbishop Carroll’s lacrosse team.
The Patriots are talented, young and on the rise.
And as a coach who has seen his share of rebuild projects, Leahy can admire what Patriots head coach Luke Wiles has done in just short of two years.
The Explorers eased past the Patriots, 12-3, Thursday in a contest that saw the Explorers use four goaltenders, get goals from seven different players and go deep into their bench.
But that didn’t prevent both coaches from praising the Patriots.
“We showed a lot of signs today about how the play the game the right way,” Wiles said. “We didn’t come here expecting to win, but we did a lot of good things.
“We had a rough stretch this season when we lost six games in a row, but our players have responded well and are getting better and better as the season goes on.”
“There was a lot to like,” Leahy said, “They have a good, young team.
“I like their goaltender (Chris Stenger, 17 saves) and they have a couple of very good players.
“I wouldn’t mind coaching that team.”
The Explorers took a 3-0 lead after one quarter, led 8-0 after two and then eased off the gas.
Carroll got two goals from Connor O’Brien and another from Andy Borkowsky and actually “won” the second half until the Explorers got a pair of goals from Chris Mockaitis late in the fourth quarter to close the scoring.
But even in defeat, Carroll got high praise from its coach.
“This is a process,” Wiles said. “Our primary goals are to make good lacrosse players, but we also want to make our players into better young men.”
La Salle led 5-0 after one period as Brett Baskin scored twice and the Explorers got single tallies from sophomores Grant Pinto, Zach Coar and Rob Foster.
The score rose to 8-0 by halftime as Matt Clibanoff scored twice and Matt Diehl added another.
But then the issue was no longer in doubt.
But the Patriots bounced back and played hard throughout the second half, which is just what Wiles was looking and hoping for.
“I believe you have to go through things like this if you want to improve and become a better team,” Wiles said. “At some point we’ll reach a higher trajectory.”
La Salle 12, Archbishop Carroll 3
Archbishop Carroll 0 0 1 2 — 3
La Salle 5 3 0 4 — 12
Archbishop Carroll Scoring: Connor O’Brien (2); Andy Borkowsky.
La Salle Scoring: Brett Baskin (4); Matt Clibanoff (2); Grant Pinto (1); Zach Coar (1); Rob Foster (1); Chris Mockaitis (2); Liam Trainer (1).