BURLINGTON — Buck Hard Field at Burlington High School hasn’t been a friendly place for the Milton boys lacrosse team in recent years.
So when the Yellowjackets (7-1) knocked off the Seahorses last Friday night, reinforcing their position at the top of the Division II standings, they celebrated on the field like it was a big win. Because it was.
“We’ve always come here the last two or three years and competed very well, and [we’ve] never been able to come out with it,” Milton coach Trevor Wagar said.
Playing under the lights, Yellowjacket sophomore attacker Ethan Howell took over the game in the first half, scoring all six of his goals and adding a pair of assists on 13 shots in the 11-9 Milton win.
Howell was dominant early as the Seahorses attempted to match up to him in man coverage. He scored the game’s opening three goals before Burlington answered back with a quick three of its own, going into the first quarter break tied at three.
Howell then posted up on the defender, using him as a screen to make it 4-3 two minutes into the second. He set up Devon Jackson for a goal to increase the lead to 5-3, and then scored twice in the final 2:05 of the half, including a highlight-reel tally with 25 seconds on the clock, flicking the ball over his shoulder and into the net with a defender firmly on his back.
“Come the end of the year, he’ll have to do that the whole game if we want to win the championship, if we get there,” Wagar said.
It appeared Milton was going to cruise, but Burlington pulled within three going into the fourth and cut it to 10-8 with 5:03 left.
Wagar said Milton changed its offense at halftime in an effort to spread the ball around and prevent Howell from wearing down.
The Yellowjackets took advantage of two key man-up opportunities to seize the momentum away from Burlington late in the second half. The first came on a pushing infraction called with 32 seconds left in the third quarter, with Milton holding on to an 8-6 lead. Jackson fed Will Scarpinato for a quick tally with six seconds on the clock heading into the fourth.
Milton was on its heels again after Henry Weldon scored 34 seconds into the fourth. But the Yellowjackets received a two-man advantage for 30 seconds at the 10:36 mark, and just as Burlington was coming back to full strength, Jackson fired a long submarine shot from the top of the zone to make it 10-7.
“I try not to use any timeouts,” Wagar said about the tight second half. “I want them to be able to figure it out.”
Jackson finished with a pair of goals and an assist, and Scarpinato added two goals. Colby Bergeron also scored for Milton. In goal, Dustin Rock made 14 of his 21 stops in the second half, coming up big especially as Burlington pushed.
The Seahorses (4-3) were led by Weldon, Duncan Macdonald and Randy Ly with two goals each. Ali Hussein stopped seven shots.