Boys’ lacrosse: Through the lumps, Concord coach thinks young team is ahead of schedule

Concord sophomore Tyler Morin embraces sophomore Ben Ryder (4) after Ryder scored against Pinkerton in a 10-3 loss for the Tide on Tuesday, May 7, 2024.

Concord sophomore Tyler Morin embraces sophomore Ben Ryder (4) after Ryder scored against Pinkerton in a 10-3 loss for the Tide on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL—Monitor staff

Concord freshman Jaden Haas (right) brings the ball upfield during the Crimson Tide's 10-3 loss to Pinkerton on Tuesday, May 7, 2024.

Concord freshman Jaden Haas (right) brings the ball upfield during the Crimson Tide's 10-3 loss to Pinkerton on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL—Monitor staff

Carter Doherty (left) looks to make a pass for the Tide during Concord's 10-3 loss to Pinkerton on Tuesday, May 7, 2024.

Carter Doherty (left) looks to make a pass for the Tide during Concord's 10-3 loss to Pinkerton on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL—Monitor staff

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 05-07-2024 6:57 PM

CONCORD — On the face of it, there aren’t many positives to expect a coach to derive from a 10-3 loss at home. Concord head coach Jeff Smith, though, continues to be encouraged by what he’s seen from a roster composed mostly of sophomores and freshmen, a highly unusual situation for a Division I varsity team.

“It’s a very, very young, inexperienced team, and they’ve come a long way,” Smith said after the Tide’s seven-goal loss to Pinkerton on Tuesday. “We’re not mad. They’re learning. It’s just all new scenarios, new situations.”

Among the bright spots against the Astros (7-5; 7-2 vs. NHIAA competition), Concord sophomore Ben Ryder scored his first two career goals, with 1:20 left in the second quarter and with 3:17 remaining in the fourth, and freshman Jaden Haas continued to show progress taking faceoffs.

Development of these pieces has been key with opponents focusing such a disproportionate share of attention on sophomore Carter Doherty, the team’s only captain. He notched his 100th career point in just his 25th career game against Merrimack on April 23 and frequently draws multiple bodies toward him when he possesses the ball. 

“Carter Doherty’s a very strong player, but all the coaches know that, so new guys having to step into new roles to generate the offense can be tough, especially when the other team’s D is very good,” Smith said. “The hope in the future is if we play that team again, we can learn from it.”

Doherty will likely play a big role in leading the group as it continues to face growing pains. It’s not common for a lacrosse team to have just one captain, let alone just one captain who’s a sophomore. But Doherty’s proven to his coach that he can handle the additional responsibility.

“He’s just a lacrosse guy. He loves lacrosse. He’s teaching it well to the other guys,” Smith said. “When you get a guy like that, you use him. You have him teach down a lot of the systems and things that he knows, and yeah, he’s a fun kid to coach.”

In spite of the young roster, it hasn’t been all bad for the Tide in 2024. The 4-7 record (4-6 NHIAA) might not jump off the page, but the team is already one win shy of matching its win total from all of last season with still six games left on the schedule. That’s in large part, Smith said, because his group continues to put its head down and fight even when it encounters adverse results.

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“They’ve been taking their lumps and getting the reps,” he said. “It matters to them, so they are learning. We’re not having a lot of the same mistakes multiple times. We’re very sophomore, freshmen heavy in a lot of positions, which is tough when you’re going against seniors.”