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Billerica Can’t Get Offense Cranked Up in Season-opening Loss

April 3, 2019

LEXINGTON -- With the temperature dropping and the wind picking up coming out of halftime on Tuesday afternoon, an assistant coach on the Billerica High boys lacrosse team shouted some words of wisdom.

“Groundballs are as good as goals right now,” said the coach.

There was a lot of truth to that sentiment. It was a day where quality scoring chances were difficult to come by and taking care of the ball was massively important. Unfortunately for the Indians, keeping possession was often a struggle and it ultimately contributed to a 7-5 season-opening loss to host Lexington in a non-league matchup.

“We didn’t play well,” said Billerica head coach Craig Flynn, whose team finished 16-6 last year and advanced all the way to the Division 2 North semifinals. “Throwing and catching -- we’ve got a lot of things we’ve got to work on. Our defense didn’t play too bad, but five goals on offense isn’t going to cut it for us.”

The Indians trailed 7-3 after three quarters, after Lexington (2-0) extended what was a 4-3 advantage at the break. The Minutemen received goals from Aiden Christenson (his second) and Nate Sidel (his third) within the first three minutes of the third quarter to seize control.

Billerica’s offensive struggles were a bit head-scratching to Flynn. His team had looked sharp during preseason scrimmages and certainly has the firepower to put up big numbers.

In fact, the Indians came out of the gate strong with three tallies in the first quarter from junior Jack Hutchins, junior Pat Modoono and senior Bryan Sardella.

Then the offense fell flat.

“We’re still putting guys in different spots, different places,” said Flynn. “We had a few freshmen today playing for us.

“We’ve been playing (Lexington) for years. They’re a well-coached team, they have good players. We just have to keep improving and getting better, and practicing hard every day.”

Lexington goalie Matt Fucci made eight saves in the contest, including a couple big ones in the fourth quarter to thwart any serious momentum from the visitors. Junior Colby Cyrus found the back of the net for Billerica less than two minutes into the fourth to make it 7-4.

With 2:45 remaining in the contest Garrett Murphy scored off a pretty feed from Hutchins to make it 7-5.

The Minutemen, however, called timeout and regrouped. They controlled the ensuing draw after Murphy’s goal and were able to bleed out most of the remaining time, nearly adding an insurance goal in the process.

But a rocket shot hit the crossbar of the Billerica net.

Follow Matt Langone on Twitter @MattLangone