WOOD RIVER JCT.—Starting a program is never easy.
Six games into the 2013 boys lacrosse season the Chariho boys lacrosse team has found out just how hard it can be as the Chargers dropped a 17-5 decision to Coventry Thursday, their sixth loss by seven goals or greater.
The learning curve has been a steep one for the first-year program but as any team that has established itself will tell you, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Perhaps no team knows that better than the Chargers’ opponent Wednesday.
Two years ago Coventry fielded a club team and the Oakers spent the season cutting their teeth against other schools’ junior varsity programs.
According to Coventry coach Herb DeSimone, it was a year that was critical in building the program.
“It helped tremendously,” he said. “We had an entire year to get our fundamentals – our passing, catching and cradling – all the fundamentals down, some team concepts and to learn how to play the game.
“We played some other club teams – that year there were four club teams – and we played a bunch of JV teams. We played the Hendricken JV team so it
really helped seeing Hendricken and how they played.”
After that developmental year the Oakers had their first season in the RIIL last spring, finishing 7-6 and making it to the Division III Semifinals.
“Coming from a club team to an interscholastic league team it definitely takes a transition year and last year was our transition year,” senior Alex Izzi said. “Chariho is going to be a great program. They have some great guys and a lot of kids played well.
“In the next few years they’re going to be where they want to be and that’s what happened to us.”
This season, Coventry is reaping the benefits of its hard work and experience.
The Oakers are off to a 5-1 start, with their only defeat a 10-9 loss to the Tiverton-Rogers Co-op on April 10.
“Over the last few years we definitely have grown a lot,” Izzi said. “We went from a team that committed unnecessary penalties to a team that works together and I feel that now our team is finally coming together.
“We’re doing what needs to be done to be a top contender in the league.”
Coventry’s superior experience and fundamentals made all the difference Wednesday as the Oakers wasted little time in taking control of the game.
The Oakers jumped ahead 2-0 within the first three minutes but Chariho’s Nick Cleary responded with a score to cut the deficit in half with 8:11 to play in the quarter.
Then the rest of the first belonged to Izzi.
The Coventry senior – who finished the game with seven goals – scored three straight to end the period and gave his team a 5-1 lead after the first.
“Right off the bat we wanted to get the ball rolling and get some guys goals,” Izzi said. “It certainly happened today.”
Things didn’t get any better for the Chargers from there as Coventry outscored Chariho 7-1 in the second quarter to put the game away.
The Chargers did show some fight in the second half – stringing together a pair of goals midway through the third quarter – but at that point the deficit was far too sizeable.
“The second half was our half,” Cleary said. “We just sucked up the pain and really went in. We played with our hearts.”
Chariho (0-7 D-III) had the weekend off before returning to the field Tuesday, where they dropped a 16-4 decision to Warwick Veterans.
Even though the Chargers have yet to win a game this season they are still remaining optimistic about the futures.
“We’re not expecting to be like a Superbowl team or anything like that,” Cleary said, “but we’re planning to just try and get a couple wins in and have some fun with it.
“…I think that over time we’ll start to get better and better as the year goes on and years to come.”