STONINGTON — Stonington High's boys lacrosse team used a better defensive effort and four unanswered goals in the second half to pull away for a 15-8 victory over Westerly High in a nonleague game Friday, Stonington's Senior Night.
It was a balanced attack for Stonington, with junior Lucian Kronholm scoring four times, and juniors Sean Peglow and Marco Tedeshi each adding three goals. Kronholm and Peglow each had an assist as well.
At the half, the Bears led 8-6. The first half featured four lead changes, with both teams struggling to maintain possession and momentum thanks to 15 penalty calls.
But Stonington (10-5) took control of the game in the first three minutes of the second half.
Westerly (13-3) committed a bad turnover off a draw, which led to a long pass from the sideline by senior Dave McCarthy to Peglow just outside the crease. He took the one-on-one opportunity to shoot and score to make it 9-6 with 11:32 left in the third quarter.
Less than a minute later, Peglow added another goal, this time set up on a pass from senior Aaron Lahah, with 10:43 left. Freshman Christian Hudson then scored with eight minutes left in the third quarter, on a pass from Kronholm.
Westerly, trailing 11-6, called timeout.
“It was tighter, especially in the beginning, than we expected,” Stonington coach Nick Warhola said. “... It was good that we got it together in the second half.”
The Bulldogs' defense stiffened after the first four minutes of the second half — they didn't allow a goal the rest of the third quarter. But they also struggled to complete passes and maintain possession on offense. Stonington added an unassisted goal from Tedeshi with 9:09 remaining in the game.
Senior Ben Morrone finally got the Bulldogs a second-half goal, scoring on a pass from junior Joe Fusaro with 7:10 left to cut the Bears' lead to 12-7. Westerly never got closer than five goals the rest of the way, though, with Stonington answering both of their goals.
Westerly coach Ted Spencer said the Bears were much more talented than the typical team the Bulldogs play in Division III.
“This is probably the most talented team we played this year, from top to bottom, so it was good,” he said. “They're a good team and we held well for the first half. I'm proud of our guys; we're just not as talented … Ultimately, better teams prevail. Man-to-man, they were good, but our kids fought hard and this will make us better.”
McCarthy finished with two goals and an assist for the Bears. Lahah added a goal and two assists, and Hudson chipped in two goals.
For Westerly, Morrone had two goals and three assists, and Keegan had a goal and three assists. Senior Mark Buckley scored twice, and sophomores Madigan Hiltz and Shaye Passell, and Fusaro, contributed one goal each. Fusaro also had an assist.
In goal, junior Tyler Flynn made six saves for the Bears. Freshman Brandon Tallardy had five saves for the Bulldogs.
Stonington will next host Chariho in another nonleague game at 10 a.m. Saturday.
For Westerly, the Division III playoffs start Wednesday.
“We just have to take the games one at a time,” Spencer said. “We have to take care of our first game Wednesday, and go from there.”