Chelsea Lacrosse Overcomes First Game Nerves to Route East Lansing

By: Seth Kinker,

The Chelsea Bulldogs Boys Lacrosse team (1-0) defeated the East Lansing Trojans (0-1) in their season opener on Mar. 20, 14-5. 

Overcoming first game nerves and light rain throughout the night, the Bulldogs used a late second and early third quarter push to gain control of the game. In addition to their offense finding their footing as the game went on, the defense only allowed one second-half goal. 

Early Bulldog penalties allowed the Trojans to notch two quick goals in the first four minutes of play. The Bulldogs got on the board with 3:39 on the first, with junior Riley Sumner gathering a rebound before firing it home for the first Bulldog goal of the season. 

After that, there was a momentum shift. Up until that point, the Trojans had been playing their game by controlling the offense and taking calculated shots. With 1:19 in the quarter Bulldog sophomore Tyler Wallgren fired home a shot on an assist from junior Kyle Mitchell to tie it at two. 

“I think we just kind of started to settle in a bit,” said Bulldog head coach Joe Koengeter after the win. “We finally stetted to relax and play our game. That was the big difference, we settled down. The first start jitters out, it was time to run our offense and start rocking and rolling.”

The Trojans would score in the first minute of the second quarter and the Bulldogs wouldn’t respond until 5:16 in the first half. A reset saw Mitchell get the ball and he took it right up the middle unguarded to tie it back at three. 

Koengeter said the team talked about calming down between the first two quarters as he sensed an odd sense of urgency, he felt the team didn’t need to have. 

Bulldog junior Aidan Boote tied it at four after another Trojan goal and then Mitchell (2) and senior Cameron Breining added goals before halftime to make it 7-4. 

A key penalty kill at the start of the second half gave the Bulldogs continued momentum as the Bulldogs outscored the Trojans 5-1 in the third quarter to take a commanding 12-5 lead. In the third quarter, it was the Bulldogs now setting the pace, forcing Trojan penalties, and then capitalizing. 

“Starting off out of halftime we knew we had to be focused starting a man down with the late penalty in the second,” said Koengeter. “(We) gotta clean those up, those hurt a bit. We knew that would be big if we could come out and get that stop, get the ball, and get a goal. Once we got that goal, I think everyone settled in and said, ‘alright its go time now.’ Getting that stop a man down to start the half, putting the pressure on them (was huge).

Koengeter also credited his defense with much better ball pressure in the second half, their pressure forced the Trojan offense further out and that meant easy shots for senior goalie Anthony Gervais who only allowed one second-half goal before being subbed off with the game in control in the fourth. 

In the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs added two more goals to make the final score 14-5. 

Mitchell led the Bulldogs with 4 goals, Breining added 3, R. Sumner had 1, senior Zach Cooley had 2, sophomore Mitchell Sumner had 1, Wallgren had 1, Boote had 1, and senior Nic Brough added 1. 

After finishing third in their division last year behind Tecumseh and Dexter and only losing four seniors from last year’s team, Koengeter said the focus this offseason was just to continue to work hard. 

The Bulldogs will have to overcome the loss of senior Doug Zarinnia who is out for the season with an injury. 

“We’re low in numbers but really talented,” said Koengeter of his 17-man roster with 8 seniors.  “Every guy from the first one in to the last is fully capable of being on the field. That’ll be the difference, were a real tight knit group, this senior class has probably been the most committed class we’ve had in a long time. Their leadership helped us get the win tonight, helps us to be focused in practice and to get better every day. This senior class is doing a great job.”


Submitted from coach Jim Breining

The Junior Varsity was up first and came out with a 16-0 victory.  Sophomore Lucas King started off the scoring just over three minutes in to the game.  Lax newcomer Logan Vaughn scored the next two goals and finished with 4 on the night. Sophomore attackmen Cam Weatherwax and Hayden Hoffman played very solid games and both had multiple goals.  The defense led by Sophomore Nick Tolliver played very well along with goal keeper Brad Fisher not letting in any goals.

“It was a team victory, everyone played hard and contributed.  We have a lot of things to work on but overall a solid effort offensively and defensively.”

Next up for the JV squad is a home match against Ann Arbor Skyline on Friday, April 5th.


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