The Blue Blazes use spurts off faceoffs for a 9-7 victory.
WESTBROOK — The plan for the Westbrook High boys’ lacrosse team Wednesday night was to score against Cheverus, then trust faceoff specialist Noah Oliver to get the ball back and build momentum.
Oliver did his part and the Blue Blazes went on to a 9-7 victory against the Stags.
The Blue Blazes (7-3) scored two goals in less than a minute four times, largely due to Oliver’s prowess at midfield.
“Noah Oliver is one of the best faceoff guys in the state,” said Curtis Knapton, the Westbrook captain. “We’ve been saying that all year. We know if we score a goal, we know we can get it back. He really gets us rolling.”
Oliver won 13 of a possible 17 faceoffs to allow the Blazes to control the ball in the Stags’ end for a large portion of the game.
“Winning the faceoffs, which Noah always does, is really helpful,” said Westbrook Coach Pete Lyons. “It leads to transition goals. We had a couple man-up opportunities where we were able to finish, too.”
Added Cheverus Coach Bill Bodwell: “Their faceoff guy is very good and we were in the box a ton. We had some penalties that were unreleasable. That was one of (the situations that Westbrook scored twice in a minute). We just can’t take that many penalities.”
With Oliver taking care of the faceoff duties, it was Knapton who shouldered the bulk of the offense for Westbrook. He finished with a game-high four goals and also contributed an assist against the Stags (6-4).
After a scoreless first quarter, Knapton pushed the Blazes to a 1-0 lead in the opening minute of the second. His final goal put Westbrook ahead for good with just 3:15 remaining to break a 7-7 tie.
“He’s the man out there,” said Lyons.
“He makes great decisions, he controls tempo, he controls pace and he’s able to finish. He’s finishing with his left, with his right. He’s a great player.”
Added Bodwell: “Not many high school teams have a crease guy like him. He can really catch and finish. You just don’t see guys at this level who can catch in traffic like him. Catch, turn, shoot. Tough to stop.”
The Blue Blazes also got three goals from Tommy Kostopoulos, and a goal apiece from Grayson Post and John Tibbetts.
Goalie Alex LeBlanc made 10 saves in the win, marking the second impressive victory for Westbrook in the last week against one of the top teams in the state.
“These are the teams we want to compete with, and today we did,” said Lyons. “This is a very good Cheverus team. They’re athletic, they get up and down the field, and they have finishers. It’s a really great win for us.”
Added Knapton: “We’ve known we were capable of doing something like this all year, and we’ve been working and working, and never really turned that corner. These last two games, Gorham and Cheverus, two of the top teams in Class A in the state, we just did everything we could and we played hard for 48 minutes. This is what can happen when we play our best lacrosse.”
Mackenzie Hoglund, Max Coffin, Jesse Pierce, Frank Curran and Marco Giancotti each scored goals in the loss for the Stags.