(Newburyport) He was perfect.
“You can’t do any better than that,” said Newburyport coach Josh Wedge afterwards.
The NHS coach was referring to Cole Mellett and the twenty-one faceoffs he took.
“I don’t think I’ve seen anyone go perfect on faceoffs,” added Coach Wedge. “He won 21-of-21!”
Cole’s perfect game was a key piece in the Clippers’ 12-5 win over North Reading on Wednesday afternoon.
The win keeps Newburyport undefeated (5-0) in the Cape Ann League.
The Hornets (4-5) opened the second half with goals from Dan Oliveira and Ryan Long to cut the Clippers lead to, 6-4.
But the Clippers responded with three unanswered goals (Ryan Philbin, Jon Groth, Cam Tinkham) in a three-minute stretch to close out the third period.
“We kept it close for as long as we could,” said North Reading coach Charles Campobasso post-game.
“We struggled with faceoffs and ground balls,” he added. “If we can’t get possession there, we’re really in trouble and are limited getting down the other end of the field.”
Newburyport jumped ahead, 4-1, after a quarter and led, 6-2, at halftime.
“It was a 6-2 game that felt like it should have been 10-2,” said Coach Wedge. “We could have shot better in the first half.”
In the second half the Clippers did shoot better after the two early Hornets’ goals.
Jon Groth and Cam Tinkham led Newburyport’s scorers with three goals each. Zach McHugh and Ryan Philbin each had two while Ryan McHugh and Owen Kruez had one each.
Ryan Long scored twice for North Reading. Teddy Suny, Dan Oliveira, and Sam Morelli had solo goals.
North Reading has now lost four of their last five games.
“Josh (Wedge) does a good job of getting his guys prepared,” said Coach Campobasso. “We knew going in that we would have our work cut out for us. Our struggles with faceoffs and ground balls against a good team were a recipe for a tough day.”
North Reading will get another chance against Newburyport in a couple of weeks.
The Clippers were 14-1 last year and aren’t shying away from tough opponents this year with Cape Elizabeth, Portsmouth, and Concord-Carlisle on their schedule.
“Playing those teams will help our power rankings,” said junior Jack Hadden. “They are all reigning state champions.”
Jack Hadden: “Cole (Mellett) is unbelievable. It’s his first year doing faceoffs. He works so hard. Lacrosse is all about the faceoffs. If you can’t win faceoffs, you can’t win.”
Cole Mellett: “I guess it was my lucky day out there. It’s my first year doing it. My friend Colin McCoy took them last year and was very good at it. He taught me over the summer, and I just picked it up. It gave us a lot of possessions.”
There was a taste of winter in the air. No snow but temperatures close to fifty with a strong wind. It is still April.
Newburyport 6 6 = 12
North Reading 2 3 = 5
(The pictures will enlarge.)