Ahead of Saugus boys lacrosse’s first-ever home game, coach David Steinman wasn’t trying to put his team at ease.
“It was almost the other way,” Steinman said. “I put a lot of pressure on them because it was the first time anybody on this campus in a lot of respects had ever even seen the game. Go out there and shock your little campus world, Saugus, and show them how great you guys are and how great the sport is.”
The Centurions gave the crowded stands at Saugus High School a good first taste of lacrosse, beating North Valley Military Academy 11-0 on Thursday.
Jared Steinman was able to get the Cents on the board in the opening minutes of the first quarter, scoring an unassisted goal.
“I just decided I was going to score,” said Jared, a freshman. “I just ran in and scored and was super excited that we took the lead.”
Jared was able to score shortly after, near the seven-minute mark on the extra-man advantage, then fellow freshman Charlie Bland scored an even-strength goal from the top of the crease with three minutes left in the first quarter.
Bland received a pass from Jared to set up the scoring play. The two attackmen, who were recently moved up from the JV team, have excellent chemistry on the field, as they’ve been friends since kindergarten and have been playing lacrosse together for nearly as long.
“I think we have a good connection and I just want to give it to him and he gives it to me,” Jared said. “I trust my teammates and I just try to play my best.”
Saugus opened the second quarter with similar offensive dominance, starting with a goal from Jordan Valdespino and another goal from Bland, who scored on a shot from the crease to put the Cents up 5-0 over the Raiders.
Jake Minkler ended the first half with a strike from about 15 yards out with 1:29 left in the frame.
Steinman said that focusing on fundamentals set the Centurions up for offensive success early in the game. The objectives were simple: complete passes, win ground balls and score at least three goals every quarter.
“They’re not thinking ‘We have to win by this much or we have to do that or have to do this.’ Let’s just focus on these little goals and you’ll be successful,” he said.
On the other side of halftime, Bland scored his third goal of the game to put the Cents up 7-0 with 10:53 left in the third quarter.
Jared then scored back-to-back goals in nearly a one-minute span, starting at the four-minute mark in the third quarter. Tyler Anderson scored from about 10 yards out and Parker Hensley scored to close out the game.
Valley Military Academy played more aggressive in the second half, checking the Centurions on faceoffs and around the cage.
“Let’s get a little bit more excited because I know you guys are starting to throttle back, but let’s stay intense and let’s stay away from the goalie because he was a good goalie,” Steinman told his team during a timeout in the third quarter. “He was playing very aggressive, so I said stay away from him and let’s just move the ball around.”
Saugus was able to complete the shutout in front of the biggest crowd that most of the Centurions had ever seen in a game.
“I was really excited. It was in front of the home crowd, it’s awesome,” Jared said. “We didn’t think many people would come and there was a big crowd, so it was fun.”
The team is happy with the win, but is still striving to improve ahead of their goal of making playoffs in their first season as a team.
“I always knew I was going to play Saugus lacrosse,” Bland said. “And I wanted to play with my best friends like Jared and my brother (Jakson Bland) and try to start a legacy here.”
Saugus next hosts Viewpoint on Thursday, March 7. Game time is slated for 4 p.m.