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Spartans make home debut

The Suffolk Spartans fought two opponents Wednesday in their third lacrosse match of the season, Menchville and frustration.

While the Spartans are improving in all areas of the game only a week into their inaugural season, a 14-6 loss still dropped Suffolk to an 0-3 record.

In Suffolk’s first-ever home match at Monogram Park, Suffolk showed plenty of stretches of excellent play.

Trailing 6-1 shortly into the second quarter, the Spartans rallied to get within a 6-3 score, then as close as three again, 9-6, late in the third period.

Suffolk scored in the opening seconds and went toe-to-toe with Menchville for most of the first quarter.

Nick Rondeau gained control of the opening faceoff, sprinted directly toward the Menchville goal before firing a hard shot cleanly into the back of the cage.

Menchville scored four minutes later, but the score remained tied until two Menchville goals in the last 2:30 of the quarter. Menchville kept rolling to score three goals in the first three minutes of the second period.

Suffolk scored twice, with Kyle Griffin and Rondeau scoring the goals, in a 50-second span to stop Menchville’s run.

Suffolk scored on three of its five shots in the second quarter. Menchville simply had far more possession and penalties made things tougher on Suffolk. Menchville scored on 3-of-6 man-up chances in the first half and led 9-4.

Suffolk’s first-string goalie, Josh Morris, made eight saves in the first half. The Spartans put Devin Bradshaw in goal to start the second half.

Not only was it Bradshaw’s first time playing goalie in live action, “it was the first time having the (goalkeeper) stick in my hand,” Bradshaw said.

Morris is a veteran by Spartan standards, having played goalie for four years prior to joining Suffolk.

“You have to try not to think about the shots that get behind you. They can’t have an effect on you because the game’s still going and there are going to be more shots,” Morris said.

Bradshaw stopped the first three shots he faced and the Spartans held Menchville off the board for most of the third period.

“Working the stick was the main thing. It’s so much different than a regular stick,” Bradshaw said.

“The unique thing is a majority of these guys will play wherever you ask them to,” said Suffolk head coach Gary Fisher. “They just want to play and Devin’s a prime example and he does it with a smile on his face. It’s great having kids like that.”

Eleven minutes into the half, Rondeau and Tim Thomas teamed up for a pretty goal. Rondeau raced around the back of Menchville’s goal with the ball and passed to Thomas in the slot a few yards from goal. Thomas caught the pass and scored with a quick shot.

Suffolk won the ensuing faceoff and went right in on the Menchville goal again. Rondeau took a pass from Griffin, started going around the back of the Menchville goal again, but this time he cut in on goal and with only a slight angle, flipped a back-handed shot past the keeper to score. The two quick strikes brought Suffolk within 9-6.

Menchville answered with two goals in the last three minutes of the third period. Shortly into the last quarter, a stick check asked for by Menchville found an illegal Spartan stick.

Suffolk did well to hold Menchville to one goal in the three-minute penalty, but Menchville still pulled away in the last period.

Included in 14 man-up opportunities for Menchville were multiple unsportsmanlike penalties against the Spartans. One of Suffolk’s primary attack players, Seth Fisher, finished the day sitting out the last 10 minutes of the match and refusing to return to action.

Menchville finished with six man-up goals and a 40-26 overall advantage in shots.

Rondeau had a hat trick and two assists. Griffin finished with a goal and an assist.

“The kids are so hungry to win, and I am too, but at times you just can’t see the forest for the trees,” Gary Fisher said.

The Spartans’ next match is at Monogram Field against Grafton Wednesday at 5 p.m.