- Scott Barboza, ESPN Staff Writer
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SUDBURY, Mass. – It wasn’t about revenge.
Sure, Acton-Boxborough had ended Lincoln-Sudbury’s drive to the Division 1 state title game in last year’s North sectional final, as the Colonials went on to win their first championship. What the No. 2 Warriors set out to do was to prove that the Dual County League championship and, perhaps, the sectional title still runs through them.
L-S emphatically answered the bell in Tuesday’s league game, scoring on its first six possessions of the game in the first quarter and amassing a 12-2 halftime lead. Harlan Smart led the attack for the Warriors, scoring five goals with eight points in a 16-7 win.
“I just thought we executed,” L-S head coach Brian Vona said. “We didn’t miss the net that much. I think in the first quarter our kids were ready for the game. These guys [A-B] stole the finals away from us last year, so we had a lot to prove to ourselves.”
Smart and the Warriors (4-1) were efficient in the offense, taking high percentage shots while rarely missing the cage. In fact, Smart’s five goals – which all came in the first half – came on just five shots.
“We took a lot of good shots today,” Vona said. “We were in close, we were in tight. We made good dodges and we moved the ball two, three times before we’d get a shot. It wasn’t just a dodge and a shot, which you never think you’re going to get against them anyways.”
Eric Holden and recent Merrimack College signee Mike O’Connell added three goals each.
X marks the spot: The Warriors’ dominance in the possession game was largely enabled by its mastery of the faceoff X – particularly early in Tuesday’s bout.
Junior Almeida led the charge winning the draws, but Vona also credited the work of Max Harrison, who started at wing in an effort to neutralize A-B (4-2) midfielder Jack Hoggard, as a key to winning the battle for possession.
“We train on faceoffs all year long and the kids are winning them,” Vona said. “We have three or four kids who are taking faceoffs right now. We have to do better, but we’re doing well.”
Get Smart: Make no mistake about it, L-S is deep in its pool at attack. With younger players such as sophomore Hayden Frey and Jack Sutherland making contributions – as in Tuesday’s win – and a veteran core led by Holden and brothers Chris and Nick Brandisi, the Warriors come at their opponents in waves.
But there’s on key cog to making the machine hum with the precision of high-performance sports car.
That is none other than Smart, who has started the season on a tear, evidenced by his most recent body of work against the Colonials.
“He’s getting it,” Vona said of the Dartmouth commit. “He’s being challenged by his teammates and his coaches and he’s responded. It’s that simple. It’s not just him though, other kids are setting it up for him, too.”