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Carthage boys lacrosse rolls past Watertown

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There’s no secret about Carthage’s winning tradition in lacrosse over the years.

So the Comets haven’t exactly snuck up on their competition this season, but through seven games, they’re clearly the class of the Frontier League.

Seth Leonard and Bailey Wilkenson each registered seven points, team captain Taylor Morgan led defensively, and Carthage also dominated in possession in recording a 20-3 rout of rival Watertown on Thursday in an “A” Division game at Watertown High School.

The Comets, who took the lead for good in the second quarter and didn’t allow a goal for more than two quarters to close the game, improved to 7-0 overall and 5-0 in the Frontier League.

“Watertown has always been a huge rival for us,” junior midfielder Paul Bracy said. “This was a pretty big win for us, and it really shows us where we are in the league. We owe a lot to our defense, they’ve been doing an amazing job this year. As long as we stay within our plan, we’re going to be successful as a team.”

Carthage, ranked eighth in the state in Class B, continued to dominate defensively as it has now allowed only 15 goals in seven games, including eight in four league games.

“We needed to come out here and get a big win so we could keep rolling along,” Leonard said. “We try to get better with each game and our ‘D’ has been rock solid for us.”

The Comets shook off a slow start as the Cyclones scored the game’s first goal and then led 2-1 with 8:46 remaining in the first quarter.

“We came out and we looked like we were going to get thumped,” Carthage coach Kirk Ventiquattro said. “Give Watertown credit, they had a nice game plan against what we call our ‘monster defense’ and they chased us out of it.”

Carthage responded with a six-goal run to lead 7-2 through one quarter, and the Comets extended the burst into the second quarter with an 8-2 edge.

After Watertown scored for the first time in 11-plus minutes to draw within 8-3 on Eric Soderquist’s unassisted goal with 9:10 left in the first half, the Cyclones were held scoreless the rest of the way. The Comets went on to lead 12-3 at halftime.

“It was demoralizing,” Watertown coach Brian Navarra said. “We were frustrated by the way they had so much possession, we didn’t respond to the goals they got and then their defense just took over.”

The Cyclones (2-4, 1-3), the reigning “A” Division champions, were dealt their third consecutive loss in league play this season.

“That was a great answer to the bell for us today when we were down,” said Ventiquattro, who credited Morgan, Adam Kehoe, Gunner Serota and Jake Turck in leading Carthage defensively, and junior goalie Trevor Gibbons made nine saves to record the win. “Because Watertown has three of the best, if not the best players in the league on the offensive end.”

Bracy paced the Comets, which dominated in faceoffs, in the possession game; he won 16 of 22 draws.

“Paul has won faceoffs like he did today for us all year,” Ventiquattro said of Bracy, who also scored three goals. “That’s a kid who is in the weight room all the time. ... He is our best middie and he’s also our best faceoff guy.”

Leonard finished with four goals and three assists and Wilkenson tallied three goals and four assists. Also for Carthage, Casey Boulio tallied four goals, Josh Yelvington scored three goals and Bryan Peloquin chipped in two goals and an assist.

Soderquist scored twice for the Cyclones and goalie Austin Gibson finished with 13 saves.

“We still have a lot of season left, and this team is not going to give up,” Navarra said. “We just have to play as a team and we’ll continue to stress that.”

Clearly the Comets, who will host “B” Division leader General Brown at 10 a.m. Saturday, aren’t taking their quick start and early-season success for granted.

“We’re not going to let our heads get too high,” Morgan said. “We’ve got to stay focused. We’re very serious in practice, and we’re always trying to get better — we’re always pushing each other.”


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