Boys’ lacrosse: Concord reminded that ‘winning is hard’ in last-second loss to Salem

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 05-11-2023 6:40 PM

CONCORD – The Concord High boys’ lacrosse team’s losing streak came so close to ending.

Tied 12-12 with under two minutes left in Wednesday’s contest against Salem, Concord possessed the ball with a chance to take the lead. The Tide couldn’t capitalize. Then with 10 seconds remaining, Salem freshman Ryan Poirier fired a shot behind Tide goalie Logan Shimer. The Blue Devils prevailed, 13-12.

It was Concord’s seventh straight loss.

Now 1-8 in NHIAA play and 2-9 overall, the Tide sit in 10th place in the Division I standings.

Here are three takeaways from Wednesday’s defeat:

Despite the result, head coach Jeff Smith impressed with the effort: Entering Wednesday, Concord’s six straight losses had come by an average of over nine goals, so the one-goal loss, though backbreaking, provides more for the Tide to build off in the home stretch of the season.

“It was some of the better energy we’ve had this season,” Smith said of the group’s performance. “They gave it their go. It didn’t come out the way we wanted, but I can’t fault them for a solid effort.”

With a younger roster, Smith hopes the Tide can come through this rough stretch better for it in the end.

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“The scoreboard unfortunately didn’t work our way, but the effort’s there,” he said. “First you get close, then you win, and if the guys could just put that into every game, hopefully fix the little things, and that’s a fun team to coach.”

The Tide struggled to sustain a lead: Neither team led by more than two goals on Wednesday, but the killer for Concord came in how quickly after scoring the Tide allowed Salem to find the back of the net. Concord scored seven goals in the second half; it allowed the Blue Devils to score within a minute of a goal three times. Any chance the Tide had to try to build momentum quickly vanished.

“It’s a lot of guys learning in real time,” Smith said. “Winning’s hard, and learning how to win is very hard. Salem made us pay for every little mistake we made. We didn’t get any freebies. If they’re going to make you pay every time you make a mistake, it’s just going to go back and forth. I thought we did some good stuff on O. I felt our D did some decent stuff, but just a lot of guys learning in real time.”

As agonizing as the defeat is, there are certainly positives the Tide can take away.

“Losses like this, culture-wise, can be tough,” Smith said. “But if they’re going to fight like that, then I can work with that.”

Strong performances from Joey Tarbell and Nate and Carter Doherty not enough: The two senior captains – Tarbell and Nate Doherty – plus Carter Doherty accounted for more than half of the Tide’s goals. Carter finished with a hat trick; Nate and Tarbell each had two goals.

Relying so heavily on them for production, though – they ran out of gas down the stretch – is a common issue the Tide have had all season.

“I gotta give Joey Tarbell and Nate Doherty a ton of credit. We just exhausted them,” Smith said. “That’s the other problem: We’re gassing our best players, and by the end, it’s just hard to keep going.

“I’ll give some credit to Carter Doherty, freshman. He’s selfless, he’s playing tough positions, he’s asking to do more, so that’s a kid that I’m excited about in that freshman class, too.”

Concord resumes play on Thursday against Bishop Guertin, trying to put an end to the losing streak.

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