It might have had a different “feel,” but Grosse Pointe North boys lacrosse still yielded a familiar result Thursday night: a win.
North (9-1) scored early and often on its way to a 13-5 victory over rival Grosse Pointe South (5-6), using the intensity to its advantage with a quick-paced offense.
“Everybody was moving a little faster,” North coach Mark Seppala said. “These rivalry games are always like that. They look a little different, they feel a little different than the other games. It’s a fun thing to be a part of.”
North was led by attackman Max Payton, who tallied a double hat trick in the rivalry bout and was scoring with variety.
“He was able to score on the fast break, on cuts, and by just driving to the net,” Seppala said. “They were doing a pretty good job for a portion of the game of locking him off, so it wasn’t really starting with him. But once we were able to get their defense moving, he was able to find openings.”
North’s mobilized offense picked apart the South defense with ease, in part thanks to the playmaking efforts of midfielder Brendan Bergeron, who was deemed his team’s “point guard” by Seppala and finished with three goals and two assists.
“We scored a little bit out of our sets, but just the way they were playing us, it seemed like we were on the run most of the night,” Seppela said. “[Bergeron]’s able to create space driving with the ball, and he can shoot and pass in those situations.”
Wary of a rivalry game “hangover,” Seppela hopes Thursday’s win turns out to be a tune-up game for North, who has big divisional matchups with Romeo, Utica Eisenhower and Warren DeLaSalle in the upcoming seven days.
“Sometimes a big win like this against a rival pumps everybody up and propels them to the next level for the rest of the year,” he added. “Hopefully we can celebrate a win tonight, prepare for Saturday’s game tomorrow, and come out with a strong win.”
Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer.