FAIRMONT — All Fairmont Senior needed to beat University on March 22 was five goals; it took the Polar Bears just 10 minutes to get them.
Paced by hat tricks from Rhyen Cochran and Hannah Audrey, the Polar Bears stormed to a 5-0 lead early en route to a 10-4 victory over the Hawks in UHS’s lacrosse season opener.
“We got a lot of young kids out there starting and playing, so I think it took them a lot of time to feel it out and see what the game is about,” UHS coach Kevin Armstrong said regarding the sluggish start.
“After the first 10 minutes, they settled down, they got into their sets, they got more patient, and we got to run more plays. Through those plays, we created some openings.”
After digging themselves into a hole early, the Hawks battled valiantly, outscoring Fairmont, 4-3, in the closing 15 minutes of the first half. The effort, however, was not enough to match pace with the aggressive play of the Polar Bears.
“They’re a tremendously well-coached team, and they’re fundamentally strong team,” Armstrong said of his opponents. “They move, they’re active, and some of girls out there for the first time, they have to get used to that game speed. We can practice a lot, but we can’t practice game speed.”
The Polar Bears outplayed the Hawks fundamentally, putting 17 shots on goal to the Hawks’ eight, attacking the box and controlling the majority of ground balls throughout the evening.
“Basics win the game. It’s not flare, it’s being able to perform the basics,” Armstrong said. “They really outplayed us when it came to the basics.”
Armstrong attributes much of his team’s woes to youth, as the Hawks play with just five seniors. Many underclassmen saw their first varsity experience in the match-up. Despite the loss, Armstrong considers himself pleased with the effort from his inexperienced club.
“We’re a young team, and I thought the girls played their hearts out. There are some things we need to improve on, and we saw that tonight, but for their first game, I’m very pleased with their effort and where we’re at going forward,” he said.
The Hawks were led by Sophie Armstrong, with two goals, with Jordyn Snider and Mackenzie Slavensky each contributing one goal. Riley Phares took the loss in net, making 10 saves.