Zach Glazier and Toby Smith are similar but different.
Individually, each could strike fear into the heart of any central Maine goalkeeper while frustrating opposing defenses.
But together, the duo — both seniors — form a lethal offensive combination. They are the yin and yang of the Maranacook/Winthrop boys lacrosse team and a large reason why the Hawks (7-0) are the top-ranked team in Eastern B.
Glazier, of Winthrop, does his dirty work in and around the net, working aggressively to find scoring opportunities for both himself and teammates.
“I like to dodge a lot, move my feet a lot, move around,” Glazier said. “I like to dish it when I get outside. I like to hang near the cage, because Toby has the (shot) from up top.”
Smith, who attends Maranacook, gets his scoring opportunities from the perimeter, unleashing a deadly shot that more often than not finds the back of the net.
“I like to dodge, but I really like to look for the big shot,” Smith said. “I’ve done a little more passing this year than in past years, but I really like taking those shots.”
The Hawks have scored 115 goals for an average of 16 per game. Of those goals, Glazier has scored 31 and Smith 27. With a combined 58 goals, the duo accounts for slightly more than 50 percent of the team’s offense.
The differences go beyond the production on the field.
“They’re both so different,” Maranacook/Winthrop head coach Zach Stewart said. “Glazier is a man that is in high school. The way he articulates himself, the person that he is. It’s frightening to talk to him. He’s a really good man. His work ethic, he’s the first one to give up that pass, stand on the cross crease to Denver (Cram) or whoever is standing there. He’s totally unselfish. He’s just a good kid.”
“Toby is a little bit cut from a different stone. He works so hard. His dad is one of the assistants. I’ll drive down his driveway, and he works on his shot in his driveway; it’s just littered with lacrosse balls everywhere. He works so hard to get where he is and it’s so nice to see him get where he is.”
Where one is on the field, the other is not far behind, and often the two appear in sync with each other. They are able to anticipate where the other will be to set up open shots. The pair credit that ability with chemistry, practice and time. Glazier and Smith started playing lacrosse together in eighth grade.
“We put a ton of time into it,” Smith said. “Once you get it into muscle memory, everything just seems to click.”
That skill and chemistry can sometimes get distracting to fellow teammates and coaches.
“We have what we call the ESPNU play, where the guys just sit and watch Toby and Zach, and they just watch them and then realize â€˜Oh yeah, I’m clearing the cross,'” Stewart said. “I have to yell at them â€˜Hey, if you want to watch a lacrosse game, watch ESPNU,’ because they’ll just sit there — even me — and go â€˜Wow, that was really nice.'”
Though Glazier and Smith account for a large portion of the offensive output, the Hawks have recently shown a more complete offensive attack, thanks to the work of teammates Cram, Kyle Morand, Alex Tooth and James Canwell, among others.
“The first few games, (the scoring) was 90 percent from Glazier and me,” Smith said. “It was a little worrisome, because if we come out against a good team with a solid defense we were going to get marked. It’s good to have some pressure lifted and see that everyone can (score) and everyone can finish.”
Glazier and Smith have had no issue dishing passes off to teammates, either. Smith has 27 assists, while Glazier has 10.
What may be just as impressive as the Hawks’ offense is their defense. Maranacook/Winthrop has allowed 18 goals for an average of just more than two goals per game.
“I think (the success) is spread out,” Smith said. “We have a great defense. We have one of the best keepers in the state (senior Zach Bessette). We’ve been playing for a while. I think it’s just chemistry.”
Maranacook/Winthrop have had its way with central Maine teams this season, including a 22-7 win over rival Gardiner on May 12. The win was sweet for the Hawks, who dropped four games to the Tigers last season, including the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference title game and again in the Eastern B semifinals.
“We just haven’t been able to beat them,” Glazier said. “We’ve come so close, we had that (Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship) loss that was a little controversial. They ended our season here and that was bitter, too. We were ready. They lost a few guys and we were hungry.”
Glazier and Smith realize that, while the team is undefeated, the real test of the season still awaits.
“We’ve played a lot of teams up here but we haven’t played many teams (in southern Maine),” Smith said. “We opened up with (a win over North Yarmouth Academy), but the real games are going to be with (Cape Elizabeth) and Yarmouth. They breed kids as soon as they’re born, they put a lax stick in their hands. Once we play them, that’s going to be the real test.”
Cape Elizabeth, Yarmouth and Falmouth — the top three teams in Western B — have combined to win seven of the last eight Class B state championships. Although the west has dominated at title time, Glazier thinks the Hawks have the talent to challenge their southern Maine opponents.
“A lot of the guys this year, they’ve done stuff in the offseason, comparing to those southern teams,” Glazier said. “The guys are excited. We’ve got an older team, a lot of them have been playing in the system. Coach Stewart does a great job, he’s done so much for the team. As long as we don’t develop bad habits against weaker teams, I think we can compete with them.”
“We can’t get cocky,” Smith said. “We’ve got to keep working hard, do what we know we can do.”
Dave Dyer — 621-5639 | [email protected] | Twitter: @Dave_Dyer