Opening With a Flourish: Lebanon Scores Early and Often in First-Round Rout

  • Lebanon’s Amelia Gage fires a shot into the goal past Pembroke defenders Alex Byrne (11), Madison Cote (5) and goalkeeper Nathalee Clarke during the Raiders’ opening-round win in the NHIAA Division III tournament yesterday in Lebanon. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Lebanon’s Amelia Gage fires a shot into the goal past Pembroke defenders Alex Byrne (11), Madison Cote (5) and goalkeeper Nathalee Clarke during the Raiders’ opening-round win in the NHIAA Division III tournament yesterday in Lebanon. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Lebanon’s Kyra Taylor stays ahead of Pembroke’s Devon Cassidy, back left, and Chantal Filian, right, after scooping up a loose ball during their game in Lebanon. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

    Lebanon’s Kyra Taylor stays ahead of Pembroke’s Devon Cassidy, back left, and Chantal Filian, right, after scooping up a loose ball during their game in Lebanon. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Lebanon’s Amelia Gage fires a shot into the goal past Pembroke defenders Alex Byrne (11), Madison Cote (5) and goalkeeper Nathalee Clarke during the Raiders’ opening-round win in the NHIAA Division III tournament yesterday in Lebanon. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)
  • Lebanon’s Kyra Taylor stays ahead of Pembroke’s Devon Cassidy, back left, and Chantal Filian, right, after scooping up a loose ball during their game in Lebanon. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)

Lebanon — Emily Perryman always had an older brother and sister to help her build her lacrosse skills. Now that both are in college, she’s on her own to develop … well, with help from a pitch-back net or a dad with a baseball glove.

It’s clearly working.

The sophomore midfielder scored seven goals and set up two more to key fifth-seeded Lebanon’s 19-5 romp over No. 12 Pembroke in an NHIAA Division III girls lacrosse tournament opener at Lebanon High School yesterday. Perryman scored five times as the Raiders (11-4) reeled off the game’s first eight goals in a contest that never was, in part, because of the rapidly improving engine in the middle of Lebanon’s lineup.

“Emily plays with an intensity, from minute one to minute 50,” Lebanon coach Sara Ecker said. “In doing that, she gets herself into positions that a lot of people can’t. She has a quickness, too, that’s hard to beat. She’s very quick, has a great game sense, has a nice shot — so she finishes well — and she has nice feed and can assist well.”

It’s all in a day’s work for Perryman, who has taken a central role — literally — in Lebanon’s fortunes this spring.

The sophomore’s technical position is center, which requires Perryman to possess multiple skills. The center takes all of the midfield draws, perhaps the most important part of a sport where ball possession is paramount to success.

Perryman’s innate aggressiveness paid dividends yesterday in putting the Raiders’ superior fast break into motion. Combining with forward Mo Moran (three goals, one assist) as well as middies Amelia Gage (five goals, four assists) and Shauna Rankin-Byrne (three assists), Lebanon gave the Spartans (4-11) no quarter.

“We’ve been working really hard on making sure we’re hustling a lot,” Perryman said. “We have a motto — ‘Heart and Hustle’ — and we always want to end with heart and hustle, no matter what the score. That kind of pushes us.”

Perryman has stepped into a more important role this spring with the graduation of her older sister, Erin, and Ellie Thompson, who handled draws for Ecker last year. Lebanon controlled 12 of the 20 faceoffs Perryman took against Pembroke’s Vanessa Lacey and Keerstyn Allen, numbers that would have been more impressive with a little better luck in the ground ball department.

It was still more than enough for Lebanon to establish its dominance early. Perryman won the game’s opening draw, eventually receiving a return pass to feed Moran’s game-opening goal after just 47 seconds. Moran netted a second two minutes later, to which Perryman added four in a row — one unassisted, three others with help from Gage — for a 6-0 lead before the game’s sixth minute had elapsed.

Gage and Perryman snapped the twine behind Pembroke goalie Nathalee Clarke (six saves) by the half’s midpoint before the Spartans finally scored.

“That was really good for us; that put in some good motivation,” Perryman said of the fast start. “We were able, for the rest of the game, to work through our motions, our plays. We were working on things that we knew we would have to work on for our game on Saturday.”

The third-leading scorer on Lebanon’s state championship field hockey team last fall, Perryman has always had Erin and older brother Christian to emulate, particularly in lacrosse. While Christian didn’t play varsity sports, Erin Perryman was a Raider regular in three arenas before concentrating on cross country skiing at St. Lawrence last winter.

Nowadays, the youngest Perryman has the pitch-back to work on her ball skills, as well as her dad, Mike, and his baseball glove.

“When he’s not home, I throw to the pitch-back,” she said, “and when he’s home, he throws to me and I shoot on a goal. He likes it.”

The word is getting out. Mike Perryman is close with Kearsarge coach Scott Slogic, so the top-ranked Cougars knew to blanket the Raiders’ midfield engine in their two regular-season meetings, both close Kearsarge victories. Ecker expects something similar with Saturday’s quarterfinal at No. 4 Plymouth.

“They’ve got some really strong midfielders, so it’s going to be kind of a battle of the midfields, I think,” Ecker predicted. “We know that we can break their D, but we’re going to have trouble getting the ball through their midfield.”

For Perryman, that’s where everything will begin, end and — more than likely — grow.

“We work mostly as a team, so I don’t want to take credit for anything,” she said. “It’s helpful if I do get the draws, but if I don’t get them, I know my team will back me up.”

Lax Facts: Erin Landry made six saves in the Raiders’ net, four of them in the second half. … Jennie Laramie (two), Erika Moffitt and Tiffany D’cruze provided Lebanon’s other goals, the latter coming on a free position in the final seconds of the game. Hannah Gariepy and Carline Wren each contributed an assist. … The Raiders owned the shot chart, possession a 32-15 advantage in attempts. … Rankin-Byrne, bound for the University of Massachusetts field hockey program in the fall, tried her hand at the draw line in the second half, going 2-for-6. … Devon Cassidy scored twice to lead Pembroke, and Brianna Douglas scored once and netted the Spartans’ only assist. … Plymouth topped Lebanon in their sole regular-season meeting on April 29, 18-13, which turned out to be the difference in the Bobcats’ first-round bye.

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.

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