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WOOD RIVER JCT.âFor the fledgling Chariho boys lacrosse team the measuring stick for the rest of the season has been established.
Monday the Chargers played their first regular season game in program history, a 10-2 loss to Westerly.
âI think it was what we thought it would be,â senior Hayden Prior said. âThe Injury Fund was a good taste of what itâs like in a game situation because we still have trouble lining up places because weâve never really seen it before. It was as competitive as we thought it would be and they were a good team.â
Wins and losses, however, wonât be what defines the Chargers this season.
For a first-year program full of athletes, many of whom have never played lacrosse or havenât since they were younger, the basis on which this season will be judged is whether or not players continue to learn the game.
âWeâre just trying to learn
everything that we need and weâre going to have fun as well,â senior Stallion Collins says. âNot a lot of us have the fundamentals, like passing and scooping and all that, but we go out there and hit as much as we can.â
Collins and Prior â each of whom played on the football team in the fall â bring a similar attitude to lacrosse that many others on the team share; standout athletes in other sports that are trying to translate their talents from one medium to another.
âEveryoneâs pretty much new,â Prior says. âWeâre all on the same level for the most part.
âWeâve got a lot of football players, a lot of wrestlers and a lot of basketball players.â
Against the Bulldogs Monday it was fairly evident that while the Chargersâ skills arenât there yet, they are developing.
Westerly took a 2-0 lead after the first quarter and stretched its advantage out to four goals by the midway point of the second.
Then it came; the first goal in the programâs history as junior Josh Baker slashed to the net and slipped the ball past the Bulldogsâ keeper with 1:44 remaining until halftime.
Trailing 4-1 at the break, it was very much a game at that point.
In the second half, however, the Chargers hit one of those lulls that is typical of a team light on experience.
Westerly dominated the third quarter to extend its lead to 7-1 and â after a goal from Chariho senior Zach Conley to open the fourth â tacked on three more to put the game out of reach.
âDefensively we played well but we never really got any shots on offense,â Prior says. âThey had it down in our zone a lot but [for us] offensively [we need to] just be able to be sound enough to go down and pass it and run plays.
â[We] just [need to] be aggressive. Weâve got some kids who are aggressive so if we can all get on that level I think weâll be good.â
Senior Andrew Hamilton â who made a number of nice plays throughout the game â finished with six saves.
The Chargers were back in action Wednesday at home against Toll Gate (results unavailable at press time) and will return to the field Monday at 3:30 p.m. when they travel to Smithfield.