ASHBURNHAM -- It was a tough test to open the season, and the Oakmont Regional boys' lacrosse team is hoping the experience will pay off down the road.

Groton-Dunstable visited Arthur I. Hurd Memorial Field Saturday morning, carrying momentum throughout in a convincing 15-2 victory over Oakmont. Groton-Dunstable improves to 2-0, while Oakmont saw many new starters get their first varsity action.

"Groton-Dunstable is obviously a very skilled team," Oakmont head coach Pete Romano said. "They played excellent, moving the ball well, and moving well without the ball. They were solid on ground balls, they were a really solid team.

"We have a couple of guys who are less experienced; we graduated 14 seniors last year. Our entire defense and goalie graduated and we had kids playing who didn't have any varsity experience. I thought they handled themselves really well, though."

Groton-Dunstable set the tone early. Just three minutes into the contest Blake Lacombe, Michael Tammaro and Nathan Townsend had each struck the back of the net, making it a commanding 3-0 lead for the Crusaders.

A few minutes later Tamarro netted his second goal, while teammate James Hastings picked up his third straight helper, as the lead grew to 4-0.

The Crusaders were riding high after defeating Westboro by a similar margin to open the season. Setting the tone early was a priority.


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"We did it last game, too, where we were able to win some faceoffs right away and come out with good patience," Groton-Dunstable head coach Rick Arena said. "We played strong lacrosse right away, coming out strong and fast and getting up early."

With 1:28 left in the opening quarter, Mitchell Townsend scooted into the center of the box and rifled a side-armed shot home that made it 5-0 at the end of the opening quarter.

Groton-Dunstable was streaky for many of its goals in the first quarter, and another generous stretch would come near the midway point of the second. Liam McDonough launched a shot from distance at the 8:32 mark to get the second quarter scoring going.

Matt Carol got onto the scoresheet a minute later as he stormed the right side and fired it low. Jack O'Neill struck gold 10 seconds after that, pushing the lead to eight. Mitchell Townsend then completed the 2:30 spree as he got a low bouncer to sneak between the goalie's feet.

Oakmont started to develop its offense over the next couple of minutes and then, with 3:23 left in the half, that work paid off. The heightened attack led to C.J. Kelleher scoring on a low, rolling shot from about 10 yards out, getting the Spartans on the board. Anthony Dalbon picked up a helper on the play.

The Crusaders countered with a fierce attack to close out the half. McDonough scored with 1:10 left. With 32 seconds to go, Max Buhler took a big hit as he fired a shot, but kept his composure as the ball bounced into the net.

Then, with just seven seconds left, Jackson Graham crashed the net and made it a commanding 12-1 halftime lead.

"In the second quarter we worked on getting our good offensive sets in," Arena said. "Instead of 1-on-1 we played that six-man offense, and we wanted to be disciplined no matter the game situation. When we do that it shows that things are working well."

Groton-Dunstable played possession lacrosse for much of the third quarter, but still added to its lead, going up 14-1 heading into the final stanza.

With running time to start the fourth, Buhler added another marker on a five-hole goal. With 1:05 left, Oakmont tallied its second goal when Jacob Banks scored on a side-armed shot, with Kelleher picking up the helper, to cement the final score at 15-2.

The weather has been detrimental to Oakmont's efforts, especially needing to get the newer varsity-level players some experience.

"We only had a couple of practices outside and had a lot of gym time," Romano said. "The atmosphere and energy is very different. Not being out on the field didn't help us, but conditioning-wise we were OK."

Oakmont threw itself into the fire with an early game against a powerful Groton-Dunstable team, but as the season progresses the experience could pay dividends.

"If we make the playoffs this could be a team we see," Romano said. "It was an excellent opportunity to play a great team."