Coming off a trip to Pennsylvania where it dropped two straight games, the Brunswick lacrosse team was in need of a win against visiting Choate Rosemary Hall Wednesday.
The Bruins offense provided the spark in the first half netting eight goals, capped off by three unanswered to enter halftime with a five-goal advantage. But the story of the day was the Brunswick defense, which was flat out dominant, smothering the Wild Boars while holding them scoreless for three straight quarters to preserve an 8-3 victory.
It was the type of defensive performance that left Brunswick coach David Bruce impressed to say the least.
"It's hard to shut a team out for one quarter let alone do it for three quarters of play," Bruce said. "Our defense knows that they have the ability to help our offense out by keeping the opposition off the scoreboard and they certainly did that today with a fantastic effort."
The first quarter of play gave the appearance of a close contest as the teams battled through 12 minutes of physical play with the Bruins clinging to a 5-3 lead following John Uppgren's second goal with 14 seconds left to get Choate within two. But that would be the last time that the Wild Boars would score and the Bruins (5-7) would give themselves an even greater cushion in the second quarter when Billy Heidt ripped two goals past Choate goalie Ben Falcone (10 saves) while Nick Bartlett scored the eighth and final goal for the home team.
"I think this has been an up-and-down season so far," Bartlett said following his three-goal performance. "Today was just an example of us finding ourselves out there on the field, playing within our abilities, and playing smart lacrosse." And while the Brunswick defense held Choate without a goal for three quarters, the Bruins offense also went silent for the entire second half. But according to Bartlett that had just as much to do with maintaining their lead, as it had to do with Choate's defensive approach.
"Our struggles on offense had a little to do with Choate playing much stronger defense in the second half," Bartlett said. "But it also was a byproduct of protecting the five-goal cushion we had and utilizing the clock to not give up the lead we earned in the first half."
The Bruins have proved during the season that they can be dynamic on offense or a shutdown defense, but the first half against Choate was one of the first times both sides excelled together.
"This was our first game where for two quarters both sides of the field for us played well at the same time," Bruce said. "We're just focused on peaking at the same time because we know we have the potential on offense and defense to be great."
According to Brunswick defender John Baker, who also had a goal, the win is just what the Bruins needed to get on the same page.
"It's usually either the offense coming out strong while the defense struggles early or vice versa," Baker said. "But lately, like today, we've started games fired-up with plenty of energy on both sides and excited to play. It's or goal to maintain that attitude as we move forward."
The Bruins next game will be 6 p.m. Saturday when they host Westminster
Brunswick 8, Choate 3
CHOATE 3 0 0 0--3
BRUNSWICK 5 3 0 0--8
Records: C 4-5; B 5-7
Scoring: C-- John Uppgren (2g), Colin Woolford (1g), Peter Dyson (1a). B-- Nick Bartlett (3g), Billy Heidt (2g), Michael McQuiston (1g), Cam Stafford (1g), John Baker (1g), Blake Booker (1a), Jack DeFrino (1a).
Goalies: C Ben Falcone (10 saves); B Tommy Heidt (7 saves). Shots: C--18; B--26