6-6 Kent earns bye, home field in lacrosse sectional
CAMBRIDGE — It was a huge week for Kent County’s boys lacrosse program, said head coach Brendon Ireton.
He wasn’t understating the magnitude of wins over North Caroline and Cambridge that allowed overlooked Kent to pin down the top seed in Section II of the Class 1A East Region tournament.
Kent (6-6) is idle until the Section II final on May 14.
Havre de Grace, Joppatowne, Patterson Mill and Perryville will face off in Section I.
The 1A East championship game is May 16.
“The kids have worked hard. They deserve it,” Ireton said of their first-round bye and second-round game at home.
“The defense has really stepped up the last few games and played awesome against Cambridge,” Ireton said. “Offensively, we are playing complete games and making plays that I’ve never seen us make before.”
He added, “I am very proud of how far these guys have come, but we also need to understand it’s playoffs and we have to turn it up even more.
“We must move on from these games and be ready for our next opponent. If it’s Cambridge, they will be ready and more determined so we must have a great week of practice and continue getting better.”
Cambridge (4-8) will host Bo Manor (3-9) in the sectional semifinal tomorrow night.
The winner travels to Kent next Monday. The opening face-off will be at 5:30 p.m.
Kent defeated host Cambridge, 11-4, in the regular-season finale for both schools May 4.
The Trojans led 4-2 at halftime after closing with a 3-0 run.
Ireton said the Vikings “did a good job scouting us and gave us a new look, but we adjusted and the defense stepped up.”
Sophomore Joey Cerino netted his second hat trick of the week, and led the Trojans in scoring. Drew Baker (three assists) and Kolby Walters contributed two goals apiece.
Zach Argo and B.K. Saunders were one-and-one, while Silas Phillips, Ny’tre Green and Gbenga Taiwo each scored a goal.
Jeremy Graham was credited with three saves.
He got a lot of help from close defensemen Xavior Jones, Tyler Johnston, Ryan Argo and Kenny Jones and long-stick middies Jackson Brocker, Ty Wilson and Felipe Mendoza.
Wilson “really brings an energy to the team that lifts others up,” Ireton said of the freshman.
Overall against Cambridge, Ireton said, Kent took its game to the next level after a 14-9 victory over North Caroline two days earlier “helped us get some confidence.”
The May 2 game at home against North Caroline was Senior Day for Kent, and Baker put on a clinic with three goals and a handful of assists.
Classmates Zach Argo (two goals), Saunders (one goal, one assist) and Phillips (one goal) contributed on the scoreboard.
Graham, a junior, stopped 11 shots.
Kent spotted North Caroline an early 1-0 lead, but by the end of the first quarter had taken charge.
Green from Walters (two goals, one assist) scored the tying goal with 9 minutes, 10 seconds remaining in the period. Argo scored the go-ahead goal off a look from Baker at 2:46 and snuck in another goal just before the horn sounded for a 3-1 lead.
North Caroline (4-8) scored two of the first three goals of the second period to close to 4-3 with 7:15 to play in the half.
The Trojans kicked it up a notch after that, barreling into intermission on a 5-0 run that started with Baker’s goal from point-blank range at the 6:17 mark.
Baker scored again 32 seconds later on a terrific individual effort, scooping up a ground ball following a scrum on the face-off and then delivering a bullet to the top shelf.
Phillips got his goal on a quick-stick shot after receiving a pass from behind from Baker at 2:52.
Bumping off a defender to gain some separation, Cerino found the back of the net with a sidearm shot with less than a minute and a half to play before intermission.
Walters made it 9-3, finishing a pass from Tad Jacob in an unsettled situation with 32.5 seconds to play in the half.
At intermission, the ABCs — Argo, Baker and Cerino — each had two goals. Baker also already had three helpers.
Kent took its largest lead of the game at 13-6 with 1:24 remaining in the third period on a play that started with long pole Tyler Johnston’s clear.
Senior midfielder Zach Argo scored three goals and assisted on another in the Trojans’ 2-0 week, bringing his season totals to 17 goals and 10 assists.