Senior goalie Kendall Gessling might have been wondering whether someone had painted a target on his chest. The shots kept coming.
The Hickman lacrosse team lost to Lafayette 11-5 on Saturday at Cosmopolitan Park.
The Lancers penetrated and caught Hickman (1-1) off-guard in transition, outshooting the Kewpies 28-11. Most of Lafayette’s shots were either from close range or uncontested from the point.
The Lancers never trailed and set the tone early, with transition goals from Lonny Blumenthal and Dan Grassmuck.
Senior Mike Moesel’s physical play spurred the Kewpies late, but that wasn’t enough to help them score.
The loss to the Lancers came a day after Hickman beat Rock Bridge 10-2. The Kewpies dominated possession of the ball in that game.
Lafayette’s defense stifled the Kewpies with isolation coverage of attacker Chris Hurst and ran quick counterattacks that often caught Hickman midfielders and defenders out of position.
That meant Gessling was usually alone in the crease.
“A goal scored (on Gessling) is a goal forgotten.” Hickman coach Jamie Mullen said. “He’s real loose out there, and that’s what we need. I thought he did well today with what we gave him. Nothing affects his confidence.”
Confidence usually comes from experience. Unfortunately for Hickman, other than at goalie, experience is not something it has.
Offseason injuries to junior twins Dannon and Devon Coleman and the loss of promising attacker Logan Otto, who moved, have left gaping holes in the Kewpie roster. Hickman needs to fill those holes with less-experienced players, especially on defense.
“We’ve had some key injuries, so we have a number of freshman that need to step up.” Mullen said. “The first couple of weeks, we’ve spent most of our time working on stick skills because we’re so young. We haven’t talked about offensive strategy or how to deal with isolation.”
Mullen said he is relying on seniors such as Moesel to help the Kewpies’ younger replacements develop quickly. Moesel had a goal and an assist.
“We’re young and there’s a lot of work to do, especially on our transition game,” Moesel said. “I think a lot of the focus is going to be on putting more shots on goal. That was our big problem today.”
Blumenthal, Lafayette’s sophomore attacker, was the Kewpies’ other big problem. He scored six goals as the inexperienced Kewpie defense struggled to deal with his superior stickhandling ability.
“Lonny did a great job today,” Lafayette coach Ren Pettinelli said. “We expect to score 10 goals every game, and just hope to keep the other team under 10. Lonny and those guys have really been doing it for us.”