Monument Boys Tested in Lacrosse Debut

By Stephen Sports
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WILLIAMSTOWN -- After watching his team open the season with a 24-1 victory, Mount Greylock Regional High School boys lacrosse coach had every reason to be proud ... of the team the Mounties beat.

That is because the opponent, Monument Mountain, was playing its first ever lacrosse game. And while the outcome was as predictable as it was lopsided, the takeaway for lacrosse devotees like Stripp is that Berkshire County's nascent varsity lacrosse league has one more team in the fold.

"That's the best part about today," he said. "That continues to be the focus of our efforts.

"The Monument guys played hard. I worked a lot with some of them in the field house over the winter. It was good to see them have a chance to use it on the field."

Mount Greylock (1-0) boasts one of the county's oldest public high school programs, with a tradition that stretches back for the better part of the century, first as a club program and since last year as a varsity team.

And the Mounties' experience showed with a strong start on Friday at John T. Allen Field. Hank Barrett scored the game's first goal just 52 seconds in and added Mount Greylock's third goal of the game at the two-minute mark.

The Mounties poured in 10 first-quarter goals, but none were greeted with so much enthusiasm -- from either teams' fans -- as the goal scored by Trent Pfeiffer.

Pfeiffer helped the Spartans' take advantage of a man-up situation for the first varsity goal in school history, making it a 15-1 game with 3:28 left in the second quarter.

It was one of the few moments that gave Monument's players or fans much of a reason to smile once the game started. But when it was over, Spartan coach Rob Leary was all smiles.

"It was great," he said. "It was fun. The kids had a blast.

"We were down a couple of players because of the spring musical. But every one who was out there gave me their full effort."

Unlike the Mounties, who had a full second string and then some on the bench, Monument had just three substitutes to use on Friday. That would have put the Spartans behind the eight ball against any opponent, let alone one that went 17-2 last year.

"I was moving guys up to attack to give them a little bit of a rest, but that's not really a rest because they were still playing another position," Leary said.

Leary said about eight to 10 of the players in his program had played a game at some level before Friday. Some played in Pittsfield's Catholic Youth Center program; others attended and played Berkshire Country Day School before enrolling at Monument Mountain.

And this winter, many of the Spartans played in Stripp's 1X Lacrosse program at The Field House on Route 22 in Canaan, N.Y.

"It's great to see the progress the guys have made," Stripp said. "I think they'll get there. Coach Leary was in the CYC program for years, and he has a bunch of eager guys.

"Their last game at the end of the season is going to look a lot different than today's game. And that's what it's all about."

As for Mount Greylock, the Mounties got a good tune-up and a a chance to get everyone on the team a chance to play.

"It was great to see the ninth-graders get a lot of playing time," Stripp said.

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