Haley Leads Hoosac Valley Boys into Lacrosse Quarters
CHESHIRE, Mass. -- Hoosac Valley boys lacrosse coach Mark Harrington describes himself as more of a motivator than an “Xs and Os guy.”
So you might think that after his team went to half-time of its Central/Western Mass Division 3 tournament opener clinging to a one-goal lead, he really lit a fire under his players to spur them to an eventual 18-9 win over Lee on Monday.
“I didn’t have to,” Harrington said. “No. 26 did.”
That would be freshman Nathan Haley, who had a natural hat trick early in the third quarter to open a three-goal Hoosac Valley lead and finished the period with five goals en route to a six-goal performance as the sixth-seeded Hurricanes (14-3) advanced to the quarter-finals at No. 3 Mount Greylock (15-4).
“Getting the ball from my amazing teammates, finishing all the shots I took,” Haley said of his day. “I only missed two, but I’m not going to look back on that.
“It feels amazing. I can’t wait for the next three years here. I love this team.”
Year 1 for Haley with the Hurricanes will extend at least one more game thanks in part to Haley’s heroics on Monday.
“He’s a great kid,” Harrington said. “He comes to practice with a great attitude. He’s just a nice kid.
“As far as motivation goes, you’ve gotta dig deep in a playoff game. I can’t stand on top of the bench screaming and yelling and doing back flips.”
It looked in the opening moments like the Hurricanes would need no yelling of any kind. With Brady Larkin (10 saves) stopping everything that came his way, the hosts pitched a shutout until late in the first quarter, building a 3-0 lead on goals from Justin Meczywor, Matt Hall and Waterman.
But Lee (10-8) rallied, tying the game late in the second quarter on a bounce shot from Curt Witton.
In the final minute of the half, Hall put Hoosac back on top with a low liner, but Caleb Kollmer (three goals) opened the second half with the equalizer for the Wildcats.
That is when Haley took over, scoring three straight to put Hoosac Valley on top for good.
After Robert Carotenuto broke that run, Hoosac Valley scored two in a row and never led by fewer than three goals the rest of the way.
Lee coach Mike Snyder said his team started to run out of steam in the second half, and it did not help that the Wildcats were forced to play a man down due to penalties for much of the final two quarters.
“[Hoosac] played a great game,” Snyder said. “It was a close game in the beginning. Our middies started to get gassed in the end. They were able to push the ball on us. Just being tired and not being able to get back on defense hurt us.”
Hoosac Valley moves on for a Thursday rubber match against Mount Greylock, who the Hurricanes stunned with an 8-6 decision back in April. The Mounties rebounded to put away the Hurricanes, 19-6, in the regular season rematch.
“You don’t need any motivation to play Mount Greylock,” Harrington said. “They’re the best team in the county. That’s obvious.
“The kids have that twinkle in their eye with the game we beat them earlier this year. But you know they’re going to want to score 20 on us. They’re going to want to pound us.”
VIDEO: Brady Larkin makes a save for the Hoosac Valley Hurricanes Athletics boys lacrosse team in Monday’s Central/Western Mass tournament win.
VIDEO: Matt Hall scores for Hoosac Valley Hurricanes Athletics boys lacrosse in Monday’s Central/Western Mass tournament win.
VIDEO: Nathan Haley puts back a rebound for the Hoosac Valley Hurricanes Athletics boys lacrosse in Monday’s Central/Western Mass tournament win.