Souhegan opens with a win over South

AMHERST – The number of goals Mitch Hale scored in Monday’s game for the Souhegan High School boys lacrosse wasn’t as significant as what it meant for the Sabers.

When Hale scores, it means the offense is clicking, and after a slow first quarter, it was for Souhegan.

Hale had six goals, Mack Walker added two more and assisted on three others, and goalie Nick King made 11 saves as the Sabers opened the season with a 15-6 win over Nashua South in a Division I game.

Joe Nutting (assist) and Blake Burnley also had two goals in the win, while Brandon Cray (three assists), Chayne Horton (two assists) and Alex Kuhnert had a goal each.

South got two goals each from Max Serra and Jesse Clause, while Russell Applegate and Zach Anzel had a goal apiece. Brian McKinley made 15 saves, with most of those coming in the first quarter when Souhegan was able to maintain possession for long periods of time. The Sabers led 3-0 after one quarter before exploding seven goals in the second to take a 10-3 lead into halftime.

“We came out a little flatter than we wanted, but I figured we would because we haven’t been outside as much as we wanted,” Souhegan coach Brad Bishop said. “The second quarter was good, we started moving a little bit and we did all right in the second half.

“(Hale) plays a little bit of crease there and we just tell him to be active. That’s where he gets all of his points. He may have a lot of goals, but its because of the offensive players creating for him. He’s just doing a great job to get his hands through, to catch and finish inside.”

Souhegan’s advantage in experience showed at times, as the Sabers passing had the Panthers on their heels. A lot of that comes from the fact the Sabers’ attack has been playing together for a long time.

“We knew that was going to be a strong point because that attack, they’ve been playing together since they were like 8 years old,” Bishop said. “They always see each other and they know where each other is going to be. It’s going to be a strong point for us this year.”

Despite the loss, South coach Bill Monsen saw some good things from his crew.

“They have a ton of veteran experience,” Monsen said of Souhegan. “I thought considering who they were up against, and the talent that Souhegan has, I thought they played well. There’s a lot that we can take out of it that’s positive. Our foundation is strong, we get to play them again, and I think we’ll be a different team then.”

The two teams meet again to end the regular season on May 27.