PITTSFIELD — Ahead by two goals just 17 seconds into Saturday morning’s game, the Erskine Academy boys lacrosse team turned to tight defense to close out a 13-6 win over Maine Central Institute/Nokomis.

Ahead 6-4 after one quarter, the Eagles allowed just two goals over the final three quarters to secure the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference win. Erskine improved to 2-3, while MCI/Nokomis is now 2-4.

“We recognized they have two shooters from the top, and we were playing much better defense from our midfield. That’s where the big difference came. Our close D is pretty solid most of the time, and most of the goals they scored, that anyone scores on us, are from the midfield. So we tightened that up. We started to force guys to their left when they’re obviously stronger to their right,” Erskine coach Jason Wade said.

Erskine senior defender Cody Daigneault said the defensive improvement over the final three quarters was the result of calming down and remembering what the Eagles had practiced.

“We had to settle it down. I think we got a little overconfident, or maybe we were premeditating overconfidence. We came out and did our thing and played like we do in practice,” Daigneault said.

Early on, it appeared as if Erskine would pull away. Caleb Tyler took a pass from Gavin Blanchard off the opening faceoff and fired a high shot past MCI/Nokomis goalie Avery Gosselin for a 1-0 lead just nine seconds into the game. Eight seconds later, Tyler scored again, and the play almost exactly mirrored the Eagles’ first goal. Playing fast was a point of emphasis for the team, Tyler said.

“Some cuts, fast ball movement, pretty much, which is what we’ve been trying to work on all year,” said Tyler who finished with five goals.

“We had to drop someone down to sprint in and stop the fastbreaks. We made that adjustment,” MCI/Nokomis coach Chris Hopkins said, “but Erskine’s a very complete team, very skilled on offense. They don’t rely on one player. They distribute the ball well.”

With 9:48 left in the first quarter, Chance Reed scored the first of his five goals to push Erskine’s lead to 3-0. MCI/Nokomis pulled within two goals when David Wilson scored with 1:05 left in the first quarter, but Erskine went on a 6-0 run in the second quarter to pull away with a 10-4 halftime lead.

“I think what we’ve been really struggling at is getting out fast, and that really helps us. Our faceoff right there is obviously a big component of that,” Wade said.

Logan Rowell scored three goals for MCI/Nokomis, while Wilson added a pair. Gosselin was outstanding in net for MCI/Nokomis, making 17 saves. Dominick Dyer made 11 saves for Erskine.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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