Playing a historic home opener, their first as an MSHSL member, the Monticello boys lacrosse team dug an early hole against Delano and could never quite climb out, falling 19-9 Tuesday afternoon.
“We came out and we just weren’t ready to play,” said Coach Erik Hanson.
The Magic, playing in front of a nice-sized crowd on a pretty spring day, struggled to control possession early.
As a result, goaltender Levi Job faced a barrage of early shots as the Magic fell behind 3-0 just over three minutes into the game.
With just over six minutes left in the first quarter, Monticello scored their first home goal of the year. Chad Hayda brought the ball up field and found Jacob Pitts off to the side of the net, Pitts, received the pass and despite having a bad angle at the net, fired a shot past the goaltender for the score.
After Delano got two more goals to make it 5-1, Monticello had one more little spurt to keep the game close.
A goal from Hayda made it 5-2 and when Ben Taufen scored his first of four goals, the Magic were within two with just over eight minutes remaining in the half.
But soon after that, the Magic found themselves taking a series of penalties, and giving Delano a consistent man advantage, which was too much to overcome against a sharp squad.
“Playing a man down hurts a team quite a bit,” said Hanson.
The Tigers were able to take advantage, tacking on seven unanswered goals over the remainder of the half to take a 12-3 lead into the intermission.
The second half saw a much more even effort for the Magic, as they scored six goals to seven for Delano.
“We started to pick up the pace a little more in the second half,” said Hanson, who added that he was proud of his guys for the way they continued to battle.
“The kids played hard,” he said. “They didn’t want to give up.”
Hanson said another positive from the loss is that they know what they have to work on.
That includes controlling ground balls and spending more time in the offensive zone. Tuesday, Delano got 30 shots on goal as a result of their offensive zone time.
Individual highlights for Monticello included the four goals by Taufen as well as a goal and two assists for both Pitts and Oliver Winsor.
Next up for Monticello is a home game against St. Cloud Tech Friday. It is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m.