(VIDEO) Alter’s Late Goal Lifts Concord-Carlisle Over Littleton
CONCORD, Mass. – Boys’ lacrosse teams with the name “Concord-Carlisle” embroidered across their jerseys tend to generate a healthy level of respect.
The Patriots are a perennial power in Division 2 each season and they have certainly earned the credit that is bestowed upon them. On Friday afternoon at Concord’s Memorial Field, the visiting Littleton Tigers came to town and gave the Patriots everything they could handle, before C-C eventually earned the 9-8 seaon-opening win.
Concord-Carlisle (1-0) struggled to break the Tigers’ defensive zone despite holding a significant advantage in time of possession throughout the first half. Yet eventually, the Patriots broke through to take a 3-0 lead and build a 5-2 advantage at the half
“It was tough to see a zone right away because we struggle with finishing,” Patriots head coach Tom Dalicandro said after the game. “I thought we had some looks, but their goalie played well. I thought we were going to separate but we just had a disastrous third quarter.”
Indeed, Concord-Carlisle committed a few costly penalties in the third and Littleton capitalized with two quick goals to cut the lead to 6-4.
With the momentum shifting, the Tigers used their transition game to net three more goals in a span of eighty seconds and stun the host Patriots, taking a 7-6 lead to the break, after three quarters of play.
“I think we played a little tight at the beginning, but we started to move the ball better and play with a little more poise and kind of feel our mojo a little bit during that stretch,” said Littleton head coach Mike Blanchard.
Jolted but not rattled, the Patriots responded with a couple of lengthy possessions in the Tigers’ zone and sophomore middie Noah Alter (3 goals) finished with a deft sidearm shot (video below) to beat Littleton’s freshman goalie Brandon Witherell (13 saves) to tie the game at 7-7.
Just thirty seconds later, junior Matt Moreau (1 goal, 3 assists) dumped a shot at Witherell’s legs that the Tigers goalie slowed, but didn’t stop, as it rolled across the line to put the Patriots back on top.
Sophomore Danny Angell (4 goals) came back with a game-tying score for Littleton, but C-C responded when David Poor hit Alter with a routine pass, that the sophomore converted with perfect placement into the top left corner of the net, to put the Patriots up for good with 2:35 remaining (video below).
“I was trying to hit the top corner, of course I’m going to say that,” laughed Alter. “I work on that shot. My dad would feed me the ball over and over and I would try to slot it in there. This was a big win for us.”
It was a nice start to the season for Littleton, a rising Central Mass. program.
“It all depends on what we learn from this and how we apply it going forward,” said Blanchard. “You hope that you learn from it and get better. It’s always good to play against a good opponent that’s well coached and [Concord-Carlisle] is that.”
Ben Kacher also had a strong game in net for C-C, making eight critical saves (one below) in the victory.
Stars Who Shined
John Mulligan ‘17 M – One of few Patriots on this team with plenty of varsity experience, Mulligan played a key role by scoring three early goals and assisting on Moreau’s goal right before halftime.
After the game, Blanchard spoke to both teams about a heroic firefighter who died while saving others during the 9/11 attacks and awarded a red bandana to the most virtuous and excellent player on each team, in this case, Mulligan.
“He’s our number one returning guy,” Dailicandro said of Mulligan. “He played a lot last year for us and we really only have three kids, Mully, Will Palmer and Matt Moreau who played significant time last year, so there’s a lot of inexperience out there.”
Matt Moreau ‘18 A – Moreau did most of the facilitating for Concord-Carlisle with three assists and he added a goal right before the end of the second quarter.
The junior worked at the X quite often and hit cutting teammates for easy goals, including a quick-stick - dunk to 6-foot-7 senior David Poor (video below).
Noah Alter ‘19 M – The moment wasn’t too big for Alter in his first real taste of varsity action, as he stepped up with two immensely clutch goals to bring the Patriots back from the brink of defeat.
“We knew that one goal would get it going,” Alter said about the team’s mentality when they were down early in the fourth. “I saw an opening and thought, why not go for it? We were down by one and I was just trying to get it back.”
Danny Angell ‘19 A – Benefitting in some ways from the increased attention on returning All-American Griffin Shoemaker, Angell led the Tigers with 4 goals and added an assist on the afternoon.
He scored the only two goals for Littleton in the first half, the second of which was a highlight behind-the-head shot to score, after a nice pass from fellow attack Jared Collari (3 goals, assist)
Griffin Shoemaker ‘17 A – While he only scored once, on a beautiful low to low shot from 20-plus feet out, Shoemaker made his presence felt throughout this game.
“[Shoemaker] was everywhere and one of the best players on the field. I wouldn’t say we contained him,” Dalicandro recognized. “He won every ground ball in his area, cleared everything and did a lot for [The Tigers].”
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