By Matt Welch
Times West Virginian
Fairmont Senior’s boys’ lacrosse team found themselves in an unfamiliar position Tuesday night at East-West Stadium.
A quick start by a physical Morgantown team sent the Polar Bears home with a tough loss to the tune of 20-3. Across the county line, the girls’ team brought home a 15-3 win against the Lady Mohigans.
In the boys’ game, physicality and aggressiveness from the Mohigans had the Polar Bears shaken up from the get-go.
“That does play a factor in it. Morgantown, that’s kind of the way they like to play. They like to play fast. They like to play physical, and they’re very good at it. They’ve got the athletes to play that way,” Fairmont Senior coach Calvin Todd said of the loss. “You look at them and it doesn't look like they have a midfielder on their team who’s under 6-foot and 200 pounds. And they can all run pretty fast.
“With our youth we have a hard time getting it into the attack box and settling it up and running the offense when we’ve constantly got guys draped all over us.”
The Mohigans used that to their advantage, controlling most of the game and scoring just 14 seconds into the game on a Dakota Shaffer shot. Shaffer would go on to score five goals to lead the way in the rout for Morgantown.
After Morgantown added another goal within the first minute and took a 2-0 lead, Fairmont Senior’s Jeremy Sheppard netted a goal to cut the lead in half. That would be the closest the Polar Bears would get, unfortunately, as Morgantown went on to score nine straight goals before Brent Pacoe ended the run with a goal of his own with 1:40 left in the first half. Morgantown, though, would tack on another goal before the teams went to the break and took a 12-2 halftime lead.
After the Mohigans put together 24 shots in the first half, Fairmont Senior knew it had to do something to cut down on the shots.
“The big thing in the second half we told the guys was just to communicate,” Todd said. “I think it showed in the second half. I think we did play defense better in the second half.”
Despite the heightened awareness on defense, Shaffer and the Mohigans scored eight more goals to finish the game while Jonah Freeland scored for the Polar Bears late in the fourth.
“This game is a lot about momentum, and Morgantown did a great job of not letting us have no momentum at all,” Todd said of Morgantown, which beat Fairmont Senior last season in the first round of the playoffs before falling in the state championship. “If you do that against a team like Morgantown, they’ll just wear you out and run you into the ground.”
The Polar Bears now stand at 3-5 on the season and will play next against Wheeling Park on the road Thursday.
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In the girls’ game, Adrianna Constable continued to show why she’s a senior leader, scoring five goals and leading the Lady Polar Bears to a 13-5 victory over last season’s state champion Morgantown.
“She’s one of our senior player,s and we expect our seniors to be leaders. She’s definitely doing that,” Fairmont Senior coach Jon Cain said of Constable. “We tell the seniors from day one that this is your team and we’re only going to be as good as you guys make us.”
The game started out slow, with Fairmont Senior leading just 5-3 at the half. But the second half saw the Lady Polar Bears step up their defense and pour on the offense.
“It wasn’t a pretty game. I was very proud of our defense tonight,” Cain said. “Our goal is to keep the other team to five goals or less, and that’s what we’ve been doing lately.
“These girls really made some adjustments. Our big thing is communication on the backside. Defense is so much a part of the team aspect of it.”
To beat a team like Morgantown, which beat Fairmont Senior in last year’s state championship, shows signs that this team has what it takes to capture another state title.
“Morgantown is always a pretty good team,” Cain said. “For us to go out there and do that, it was a good in-state win.”
Also adding in on the victory was Maddi Craig with three goals, and Sofia Sansalone, Claire Craig, Maddie Stevenski and Reina Edwards who each scored once. Sansalone also had an assist.
The girls move to 4-1 on the season and are back in action today against Greensburg Central Catholic (Pa.) on the road.
Email Matt Welch at email@example.com or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.