SOUTH CHINA — The Erskine Academy boys lacrosse team hopes Friday’s season opener was a microcosm of the upcoming season: Start slow, finish strong.

The Eagles fell to Morse/Boothbay 9-3 on Friday as Tristan Beveridge scored four goals for the Shipbuilders. Under hot, sunny conditions more suited for the playoffs than an early-season match, Erskine trailed 6-2 at halftime, but held the visitors scoreless in the third period before the Shipbuilders netted three goals in the fourth to pull away.

The goal for Erskine coach Ethan Rettew, whose 25-man roster includes 12 freshmen or sophomores, is to blend the young talent with the veterans and produce a finished product in time for the playoffs.

“We have a really young team, so we’ve still got a lot of guys coming out trying to learn the game and pick it up,” Rettew said. “We had a lot of good things going for us. We were able to move the ball. Just coming out strong is going to be our point this season, making we sure we play with each other and play as a team.”

Erskine senior Jaxson Roderick scored twice and classmate Brady Kirkpatrick added one before he left the game with an apparent leg injury; he crumpled to the ground while receiving a pass. Rettew said he hoped Kirkpatrick could return for Tuesday’s home date with Traip Academy. Emmett Appel added an assist for the Eagles.

While Erskine’s 2022 season ended with a 22-1 loss to Gray-New Gloucester in the first round of the Class C playoffs, the Eagles return many of the their veterans from last year, including Kirkpatrick, a senior attack; senior middles Timber Parlin and Casey Kirkpatrick; and junior defender Alex Ochoa.


“We didn’t graduate too many, so we’re just hoping to build off (of it),” Parlin said. “The first half was kinda sloppy, but we started picking it up at the end.”

Erskine’s Brady Kirkpatrick loses the ball under defensive pressure from Morse’s Everett Hunter during a boys lacrosse game Friday in South China. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Brady Kirkpatrick, however, was not looking for any participation trophies.

“We just couldn’t focus,” Kirkpatrick said. “We were really nervous, we had to get the nerves out. We came out too late and lost at the end.”

While Erskine frequently penetrated the Morse-Boothbay zone early on, many of the Eagles’ shots on net went wide or were stopped by goalkeeper Michael Martin (five saves). As the game went on, Erskine completed more passes, earning praise from Rettew during a third-quarter timeout after cajoling them to play as a team during an earlier timeout.

“The first game can’t be telling of an entire season,” Rettew said. “It’s definitely going to be a growing team. They know what to do and how they play, and once they start seeing that more and getting more game situations under their belt, it’s going to keep happening.”

One of the newcomers, freshman middie Jackson Pelotte, drew praise from his teammate for his work on faceoffs, where the Eagles finished 5-for-8. “He’s doing good things inside the circle,” Parlin said.

“We have some promising young players,” Casey Kirkpatrick said. “We just need to connect all the pieces and we’ll be a good team.”

Bjorn Langford scored twice for Morse/Boothbay, while teammates Drew Meader and Taber Gale added one apiece.

Erskine’s Nathan Grenier made three saves in net.

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