Missed opportunities cost Panthers in Division I boys lacrosse quarterfinal loss to Lancers

LONDONDERRY – With just over eight minutes left in the first half of its opening round game against Londonderry, Nashua High School South’s Brad Radin took a feed from fellow senior James Halloran and buried it to tie the game at two. The Panthers wouldn’t score for another 26:42.

The host Lancers locked down on the defensive end and did what it had to do offensively to defeat the Panthers 9-3 Thursday afternoon and advance to Sunday’s semifinals in Bedford.

“We just didn’t capitalize on opportunities we had in the first half, and they just outplayed us in the second half,” Nashua South coach Bill Monsen said. “We’re heading in the right direction as a program, but we’re not there yet.”

The Panthers were playing in only their second playoff game in program history, but they started the game strong. After Kyle Graham opened the scoring for Londonderry five minutes in the Panthers answered back with a goal from senior Matthew Lilley.

Junior attackman Rob Hart scored two of his four goals for Londonderry before Radin’s goal brought the Panthers back into it. From there it was all Lancers. Hart finished a hat trick before the half ended and a Nick Yennaco goal put the Lancers up four at the break.

“We kept turning the ball over,” Monsen said. “We were getting crushed on turnovers. Errant passes. We were in the right positions, we had the right ideas, we had the right looks. We just threw the ball away; it was the little things.”

Despite being held scoreless for much of the second half, the Panthers won the faceoff battle 12-4. The Lancers pressured the Panthers into more and more turnovers as the game progressed and won the ground ball battle 38-25.

Londonderry coach Joe McCune was quick to praise South and said that his team would need to buckle down in order to keep going deeper in the tournament.

“They definitely came out to play,” McCune said of South. “They’re a much-improved program, and that speaks volumes to what they’re doing there. They weren’t giving up anything. It was 1-1 at the quarter and it was closer at the half than we would have liked.

“We just needed to execute better, and we did that in the second half. We need to continue to prepare hard to come out at the first whistle.”

Monsen said that his team’s inexperience may have played a role Thursday, but he is excited for what the future holds.

“We got an incredible freshman group,” Monsen said. “We got a good freshman goalie in Brian McKinley. Steve Saucier was in there today. We’ll be back next year and we’ll be even better.”