The New Hope-Solebury boys lacrosse team is small in numbers.
But the Lions are roaring.
They posted an 11-6 win over non-league foe Quakertown on Monday at New Hope, their third consecutive win to raise their record to 5-1 for the year.
New Hope got out of the gate quickly when Kyle Boughner picked up the ball off Ryan Riggione’s draw and put it in the cage just 12 seconds into play.
“This year we have a couple of new guys and our defense has stepped up,” New Hope coach Carl Corino said. “We have a brand new faceoff guy in Ryan Riggione who is clamping the ball quickly and winning faceoffs.
“We have Kyle Boughner who is new here from Long Island and working perfectly with Ryan so we’re winning the faceoffs and possessing the ball.
“Kyle can play on both sides of the ball. He plays offense and he works so well with Ryan on the faceoffs so what I have there with the two of them has changed everything for us. To win possessions and to keep the ball and get our offense on the field has made a huge difference for our team this year.”
After Bougher’s quick strike, Nate Donohoe picked up a goal and Tom Raupp scored two to give New Hope a 4-0 lead after the first quarter.
Will Kelley scored for New Hope with 7:23 remaining in the second quarter to give the Lions a 5-0 lead.
With 4:48 remaining in the half, New Hope goaltender Liam Curran received his third personal foul and was ejected from the game.
Curran had been in the pipes because the usual starter, Tanner Richmond, was out of town so the Lions were forced to put Ray Brady, who started the game as the long stick midfielder, in the cage for the rest of the day.
Brady ended the day with four saves while Curran had six.
“We’re tough and we can cope with that,” Raupp said of the goaltending situation. “We have the firepower at middie and defense. We didn’t know how it was going to be coming into the season but defense has been playing phenomenal.
“We’re just clicking and we were able to protect the goalie and the third string goalie played a hell of a game. Hats off to everybody. It was a great team effort all around to beat a big school like that and we’re proud.
“Quakertown picked it up in the second half and we didn’t panic. It’s challenging for us because of lower numbers. We’re gassed all the time but it’s OK because we’re tough and we can take it.”
Quakertown capitalized on the goaltending switch, when Dan Grubb scored on the Panthers’ first shot at the new net minder.
Ben Koeppen scored with 41.7 seconds on the clock to give New Hope another tally and a 6-1 halftime lead.
The Lions got the first three goals of the third period, one by Lear Asplundh and two by Raupp to go up 9-1 but the Panthers’ Gavin Hillaert got a pair late in the frame to end the third with the score 9-3.
Asplundh and Boughner each netted a goal in the fourth to round out the scoring for New Hope while Ben McGann and Zach Lewis each scored a goal for Quakertown.
The slow start doomed the Panthers.
“We took a while to get into high gear,” said Quakertown goaltender Tyler Barnes, a junior. “Our first half was definitely slow. We managed to match up better with them in the second half so if we could have maintained that speed throughout it would have been a much better game.
“We had the JV play first for us and I think we were just too relaxed coming into it. We didn’t have a game mentality; we had a scrimmage mentality. This game is going on our record and we should have played a lot harder from the start.”
Barnes ended the day with 16 saves.
“We didn’t execute as well as I thought we would,” Quakertown coach Jay Donis said. “The second half was much better. If we come out and play both halves like that, then we’re going to win this game.
“I’m hoping that this is a lesson learned for them. We’ll see going forward.”
New Hope outshot the Panthers 35-29.
“Not only has our defense been better in general than it has been in the past few years, in this game in particular the poles and the D-mids all worked harder than I’ve ever seen them,” Corino said. “They moved their feet so well, they bodied well, they played physical and some of those guys (on Quakertown) were huge.
“We stayed in our position well, we didn’t get burned too many times and that made a huge difference.”
The Lions narrowly missed the District One Class 2A tournament last year.
“Honestly, we have high expectations,” Corino said. “We worked hard on changing our schedule around. We’re a very small school. We don’t have the talent pool that a lot of the bigger schools have so we’ve worked really hard to play teams that are simply more our size so it’s more of an apples-to-apples schedule.
“It’s not about just trying to play an easier schedule and win all your games. It’s a matter of being in more games than we have in the past. We just want to be in games with teams that are more comparable to our program.”
“When I was a freshman we were good but we had a very stacked schedule and it’s very difficult for a small school to compete with the kind of teams we were playing,” said Raupp, a junior. “Now we have a lot of the same core talent that we had on the team when I was a freshman and we’re all juniors. There’s only one senior on this team, so the fact that we’re 5-1 now and scoring a lot makes it really exciting.
“I think playoffs are attainable for us this year. I think if we keep at this pace, I don’t see any problem with us going 14-4 or something like that.”