COVENTRY — In its first year of varsity competition this Coventry lacrosse team was just happy to win a playoff game and reach the Division III semifinals.
This season, simply making the playoffs isn’t the goal for a team with plenty of lacrosse experience. The Oakers, behind the attack play of Ethan Tryhubczak and Alex Izzi, the middie play of Zach Allen and Jake Harrington and the goalkeeping of Kyle Marquis have bigger goals in 2013.
“We need to prove that we’re one of the top teams in this league and that we can make a dent after coming up from the club level,” Allen said after Thursday afternoon’s game with visiting East Providence. “Our focus is to show we’re a team to be reckoned with.”
“I feel like our team is really coming together and we have great improvement over last year,” Izzi said. “We’ve been taking fewer penalties than last year and that’s our main focus.”
“This is definitely a big improvement since last year and even as the season goes along we keep getting better,” Marquis said. “We’re communicating better on defense and we’re making better passes on offense.”
The Oakers, who beat Warwick Vets in the first round of the playoffs last season before losing to eventual champion Smithfield in the semifinals, have started the season well. Coventry defeated Warwick Vets by a goal to begin the season and then dropped a one-goal decision to Tiverton/Rogers.
Coventry then rolled past Scituate before Thursday’s game with East Providence. After a slow start the Oakers found their footing and used six goals from Tryhubczak, four points from Allen and three points from Izzi to hammer the visiting Townies 12-5.
“After we got a couple of early penalties we started working the ball around really well,” Allen said. “We knew we were stronger than this team and we had to go out and prove that.”
“Coach Herb [DeSimone] had a great pep talk early in the game because we came out a little flat and the momentum just kept building,” Izzi said.
Tryhubczak was Coventry’s leading scorer last season, but most of his goals came simply because teams failed to realize he was a gifted left-hander. This season teams are shading the season to the right and forcing the attack to take a different approach to goal.
The Townies, because of their poor transition defense, had no answer for Tryhubczak.
“I see a lot of teams taking away my left hand,” Tryhubczak said. “I’m really noticing that and it’s making it harder to score this year. I’m trying to work on passing a lot. Today, I just got lucky to score so many goals.”
Tryhubczak scored two goals inside the first six minutes to give the Oakers a comfortable lead. Allen assisted on the first goal and Izzi assisted on the second.
The lead didn’t last long because East Providence senior middie Brant Hall scored two goals before the end of the first quarter to even the score.
Coventry’s biggest problem, according to Tryhubczak, is scoring against a set defense. Like most teams, the Oakers have no trouble finding the open man in transition, but breaking down a set defense has been a problem early in the season.
“We need to work together and we need to cycle the ball a lot,” Tryhubczak said. “Most of our goals have come from running down the field in fast breaks. We have all these plays that we go over. We actually have to score on them and work as a team to score goals.”
Even though the Oakers gave EP numerous extra-man opportunities, Coventry completely dominated the second period. Michael Nolan gave Coventry the lead early in the period, before Tryhubczak scored a hat trick to increase the lead to 8-2 at halftime. Adam Bohac and Kevin O’Loughlin also had goals in the quarter.
Allen, thanks to a nice pass from Brian Skorski, opened the scoring in the third quarter. Tryhubczak added two more goals in the quarter and Allen also had a goal before East Providence finished the quarter with a goal.
Both coaches emptied the benches in the fourth quarter as Izzi notched a pair of goals. Allen assisted on the first and Nolan provided the assist on the second goal.
“We can still get more involvement from our middies,” Allen said. “Last year it was mostly our attack who scored the goals. Middies scoring more goals and getting involved more is the key to our season.”