By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — The Laconia boys' lacrosse team completed an undefeated season with an 11-7 win over sixth-ranked Pelham Saturday afternoon at Bill Ball Stadium in Exeter in the Division III championship game.
It marked the first time since 2005 that the Sachems, who were 18-0 on the season, have won a lacrosse championship.
Laconia got strong performances from senior captain Brenden Mooney, who had four goals and two assists; sophomore Riley Roy, who scored four goals, including the first two of the game as the Sachems jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter; and sophomore goalie Steve Towers, who registered 21 saves.
The Sachems took a 7-2 lead at half time and extended their lead to 9-2 in the third quarter with goals from freshman Jakob Steele as Roy and fended off a late surge from Pelham, which closed the gap by scoring five goals in the final period as Laconia netted two to hold off the charge.
Roy had scored two goals in the first three minutes of the game and Towers made nine saves in the first period to stymie the Pythons attack, which enjoyed a 9-1 edge in faceoffs during the first half.
Mooney found an open lane through the middle and put Laconia up 4-0 at the 10:54 mark of the second quarter and Connor Halloran, who ended up with four goals for Pelham, got the Pythons on the board to cut it to 4-1. Mooney responded a few minutes later with another goal, making it 5-1.
Devon Russell's goal for Pelham after an offside penalty against the Sachems cut the margin to 5-2 ,but Mooney and Jake Ellis responded to put the Sachems up 7-2 at the half.
The Pythons were able to cut it closer as the first half came to a close on a goal by Devon Russell after an offsides penalty, but Laconia fired right back, getting a goal apiece from Mooney and Jake Ellis in the final minutes to secure a 7-2 halftime lead.
After Laconia moved out to a big 9-2 lead in the third quarter Pelham scored a pair to being it to 9-4 but Mooney's goal made it 10-4 to put Laconia up by six with only eight minutes left on the clock. Try as they might, the Pythons were unable to overcome that big advantage and Laconia held on for the win.
The victory was sweet for Laconia coach Chad Paronto, who had been with the Sachems as an assistant coach when they won three straight title from 2003 to 2005. Those wins were down-to-the-wire victories over Kearsarge by scores of 11-10, 5-4 and 7-6.
The victory also gave the Sachems two Division III titles this year as the girls beat Kearsarge 14-13 last Wednesday to win their second straight title.
Laconia's Jakob Steele and Trevor Weeks celebrate a goal during Saturday's NHIAA Division III lacrosse championship in Exeter. (Alan MacRae/for the Laconia Daily Sun)
Laconia assistant lacrosse coach Steve McDonough gets the ice bucket following Saturday's NHIAA Division III lacrosse championship in Exeter. (Alan MacRae/for the Laconia Daily Sun)
Laconia's undefeated 2016 lacrosse team. (Alan MacRae/for the Laconia Daily Sun)
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