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Hanover Boys Lacrosse Upended by Bishop Guertin

Hanover — The bar has been raised in New Hampshire schoolboy lacrosse and pardon Hanover High’s players if they awake this morning feeling like they’ve been beaten with it. After Tuesday’s 20-8 loss to the visiting Cardinals, there wasn’t much left for the Marauders to do but figuratively tip their helmets to an exceptional foe.

Bishop Guertin has won four consecutive NHIAA Division I titles, but Hanover coach Jeff Reed said this year’s version might be the best yet.

“It used to be they had one guy you absolutely had to defend, but now they have two or three, so you pick your poison,” Reed said.

Tuesday, the most deadly Cardinal was senior attackman Tom Hurley, who staked his team to a 3-0 lead and finished with six goals and an assist. Hurley is also the Cardinals’ football quarterback. Although only 5-feet-11 and 190 pounds, No. 8 and his running mates gave the hosts fits all afternoon.

“They have really strong individual dodgers and any mistake you make, they’re going to make you pay,” said Hanover goaltender Chris Washington, who made 15 saves and was frequently left 1-on-1 with shooters.

“It’s not helpful to come down on myself or my guys, so we just have to talk through it and realize why those situations are happening,” Washington said.

“As a goaltender, all I can do is get in good position, and I definitely could have done that better today. Sometimes you forget your fundamentals when you play teams that aren’t this good. Now I know what I have to work on in practice.”

Lacrosse coaches everywhere ask their players to hold the ball for only a few seconds before passing it along, but it’s rare to see a high school team that actually accomplishes the trick. So quick, however, was Bishop Guertin’s ball movement that the Marauders were often several steps behind in trying to cover their foes. A defender would slide to back up a teammate beaten off the dodge, but before he could get to the ball carrier, a pass would be made to the man he’d left unattended.

“We weren’t getting the full rotation and covering everyone,” Washington said. “It’s hard to see those (offensive) opportunities opening up, but they do it.”

Faceoffs and turnovers were also major factors in the outcome. Bishop Guertin dominated the former and made almost none of the latter. Reed could recall only one instance in which the Cardinals threw the ball away, while his own troops had roughly a dozen instances where they coughed up the rubber.

“Our team defense let us down,” Reed said. “Some of our players tried to do too much to take the ball away. If you miss and you’re not moving your feet, then you’re out of position and you’re left trying to recover. We have to stay within ourselves and be disciplined.”

Hanover trailed 11-2 at halftime and 17-5 after three quarters. Per NHIAA rule, a running clock was used whenever the Cardinals were up by 12 or more goals, which happened twice. Hanover received four goals from Brendan Forauer and one apiece from Gus Lyons, Mike Mayo, Conor Austin and Jude Arbogast, who also had an assist.

The Marauders (10-7) conclude the regular season today at Salem (5-12). Reed said he suspects Hanover will finish fifth in the division and play at No. 4 Nashua North in a quarterfinal playoff game next week. A victory there would earn his team a rematch with Bishop Guertin. The Cardinals are 15-2, their losses coming to Massachusetts power Duxbury and Rhode Island’s Lasalle Academy, two of the five out-of-state opponents on their schedule.

“We made a lot of mistakes that are easy to fix,” Washington said. “If we crack down on those and practice hard, we can give ourselves a chance against them the next time.”

Notes: Hanover’s Ben Acker took a violent elbow to the head late in the first half and didn’t return to action. Reed said he suspected the junior attackman had suffered a concussion, although a penalty wasn’t called on the play. … Washington has been accepted at Williams (Mass.) College and said he hopes to walk on to the lacrosse team there. His older brother, James, a former Hanover netminder, is a sophomore at Haverford (Pa.) College, where he appeared in five games for a 1-13 team. Also on that squad was former Marauder Jordan Hitchcock, a senior midfielder who started eight of the 13 games in which he played and recorded a goal.

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com or 603-727-3227.