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Brunswick senior Jacob Belanger, left, senior Nate Girardin and junior Jack McDiarmid celebrate Belanger’s goal during the Dragons’ 12-9 win over Falmouth Friday night.
Ben McCanna / Press Herald photos.
More photos below.
F- 4 2 1 2- 9
B- 4 4 1 3- 12
11:12 F St. Louis (unassisted)
9:31 B Nadeau (Glover)
8:46 B Belanger (Lyne) (MAN-UP)
7:12 F Tucker (unassisted)
5:39 B Glover (Lyne)
4:32 F St. Louis (unassisted)
2:47 F St Louis (Tucker)
1:15 B Belanger (unassisted)
10:01 F Derhak (unassisted)
9:22 F Derhak (unassisted)
9:05 B Glover (unassisted)
8:02 B Glover (unassisted)
5:40 B Glover (McDiarmid)
3:57 B F. Mitchell (unassisted)
11:12 F Williams (Kerr)
4:49 B Glover (Lyne)
11:26 B F. Mitchell (Glover)
6:17 B Girardin (unassisted)
3;38 F Alexander (Tucker)
53.3 B Lyne (Glover)
35.6 F St. Louis (unassisted)
F- St. Louis 4, Derhak 2, Alexander, Tucker, Williams 1
B- Glover 5, Belanger, F. Mitchell 2, Girardin, Lyne, Nadeau 1
F- Tucker 2, Kerr 1
B- Glover, Lyne 3, McDiarmid 1
Faceoffs (Falmouth, 13-12)
F- S. Allen 5 of 13, Kaplan 7 of 11, St. Louis 1 of 1
B- Curtis 9 of 20, Lopez 2 of 3, Coombs 1 of 1, Upham 0 of 1
Shots on cage:
F (Noyes) 12
B (Pendergast) 16
BRUNSWICK—Brunswick’s boys’ lacrosse team has long been viewed as one of the model programs in Maine.
Friday evening, the architect of the Dragons dynasty earned his just moment in the limelight after managing to achieve something no Maine high school coach has ever done.
Yes, indeed, Don Glover now has 300 career victories.
And stands alone as a winner and a sportsman.
And for him, the best news is that his team produced a crucial victory at just the right time and isn’t close to finished yet.
Brunswick, which suffered its first loss last Saturday, hosted defending Class A North champion Falmouth in a game played at Howard F. Ryan Field on the campus of Bowdoin College, and got pushed for 48 minutes, but made the necessary plays to help their coach make history.
The first quarter featured two lead changes and four ties, the final one coming after Dragons senior Jacob Belanger scored late to make it 4-4.
The Yachtsmen then took a two-goal lead after successive unassisted tallies from junior Zach Derhak, but another Glover, Coach Glover’s youngest son, senior Aiden Glover, put Brunswick on top to stay with three successive goals and senior Finn Mitchell added another to make it 8-6 Dragons at the half.
After each squad scored just once in the third period, goals from Mitchell and senior Nate Girardin helped give Brunswick some breathing room and and thanks in large part to 16 saves from standout senior goalie Connor Pendergast, the Dragons went on to a 12-9 victory.
Aiden Glover had five goals to lead the way, as Brunswick improved to 8-1, dropped Falmouth to 6-4 and in the process, earned a memorable moment of immortality.
“I’ve been very blessed to be involved with lacrosse,” Don Glover said. “Lacrosse has given me so many opportunities, to go to college, to meet the people I’ve met. The lacrosse network has been incredible. I’ve been very blessed in my career.”
Don Glover, who was a goalie in his day and played at Springfield College, began coaching Maine high school lacrosse in 1993 at Wiscasset.
“I started a program at Wiscasset and there’s no lacrosse at Wiscasset anymore, which makes the kids think I’m really old,” Glover said.
Glover took over Brunswick’s program in 1998 and led the Dragons to the state final in 2002 (a 15-7 loss to Cape Elizabeth), the Class A state game in 2007 (a 12-9 win over Portland), 2008 (an 8-6 loss to Scarborough), 2009 (a 9-3 loss to Portland), 2014 (a 10-8 loss to South Portland), 2015 (a 13-9 victory over South Portland), 2016 (an 18-10 loss to Scarborough) and 2017 (an epic 18-17 overtime win over Scarborough), and the Class B state final a year ago (another epic overtime triumph, 14-13, over Greely).
Along the way, Glover has also set the bar for sportsmanship and has been a tremendous ambassador for the sport.
“I don’t need to worry about anything with boys’ lacrosse,” said Brunswick athletic director Jeff Ramich. “Don just has it down. He’s one of the best coaches in the state in lacrosse and in all sports. He sets the bar for all of our coaches. The program speaks for itself. He’s also one of the most respected teachers in our building. I’ve walked into his classroom zillions of times and he’s joking, very relatable. He’s just great.”
This season, en route to 300 victories, Glover again has a team that appears capable of making June memories.
Brunswick opened by doubling up host Gardiner, 16-8, rolling at Lewiston, 14-5, taking apart visiting Cony, 26-1, then handling visiting Edward Little, 16-1, before holding on for a 12-11 victory at Scarborough and edging host Morse, 15-11. Last Saturday, the Dragons fell from the unbeaten ranks with an 11-8 loss at Greely, in a Class B state game rematch. Wednesday, Brunswick returned to the win column in style, dominating visiting Messalonskee, 23-3.
Falmouth, meanwhile, opened with a 9-3 win at Kennebunk, then handled visiting Gorham, 16-7, and visiting Scarborough, 14-9, before winning at Scarborough (14-10) and blanking visiting Cheverus, 15-0. The Yachtsmen then were stymied at Cape Elizabeth (9-4), at South Portland (13-9) and at home by Yarmouth (10-4), before returning to the win column Tuesday, 13-1, over visiting Deering.
The teams haven’t met often over the years, just three times in fact: in 2010 (a 10-7 Yachtsmen victory in Brunswick), 2011 (a 13-1 home win for Falmouth) and last spring (a 10-7 home win for the Yachtsmen).
Friday’s game was scheduled to be played at Brunswick High School, but rain overnight had it moved to Bowdoin College, the site of some key Dragons’ wins over the years.
Falmouth hoped to delay Don Glover’s victory party, but the Dragons’ first countable win over the Yachtsmen, which didn’t come easily, resulted in a communal celebration.
Falmouth came out strong, scoring on its first possession, as senior Iyendae St. Louis fought his way through traffic, then beat Pendergast for a 1-0 lead just 48 seconds in.
Brunswick answered with 9:31 left in the first period, as Aiden Glover set up senior Tyler Nadeau for a shot which eluded Yachtsmen sophomore goalie A.J. Noyes to make it 1-1.
The Dragons took their first lead 45 seconds later, man-up, as in transition, senior Nolan Lyne set up Belanger.
Falmouth answered with 7:12 on the clock, as senior Reilly Tucker scored unassisted, but with 5:39 to go, Aiden Glover scored for the first time, with Lyne assisting.
The Yachtsmen then tied it up on a St. Louis unassisted goal with 4:32 remaining, then took a 4-3 lead on another St. Louis goal (set up by Tucker) with 2:47 to go.
Belanger answered for the Dragons and tied the game for the fourth time, unassisted, with 1:15 on the clock and after 12 frenetic and entertaining minutes, each team had four goals.
When Derhak scored unassisted with 10:01 left in the first half, then did it again 39 seconds later, after a nice spin move, Falmouth had a 6-4 lead, but that’s as good as it would get for the visiting squad.
Aiden Glover sparked the comeback with 9:05 remaining in the second period, as he ran around the cage and stumbled, but while falling, beat Noyes with a low shot to cut the deficit to one.
With 8:02 on the clock, after a turnover, Glover got the ball and wouldn’t be stopped, racing in and scoring to tie the game for the fifth and last time, 6-6.
Despite being man-down, Brunswick went ahead for good with 5:40 remaining in the half, as junior Jack McDiarmid fed Glover.
After Noyes made a sensational save to deny junior Ben Israel, the Dragons broke through again with 3:51 on the clock, as Mitchell scored unassisted.
After Pendergast robbed senior Peter Alexander and Noyes did the same thing to Girardin, Noyes stopped a shot by Glover before Falmouth sophomore Wyatt Kerr missed just wide at the horn to send the game to halftime with the Dragons on top, 8-6.
In the first 24 minutes, statistics were almost even.
Brunswick then held Falmouth at bay in the second half as it slowly pulled away.
As they did in the first half, the Yachtsmen came out strong in the second, as Kerr set up junior Macklin Williams for a goal 48 seconds in, ending a 10-minute scoring drought.
Falmouth couldn’t manage to pull even, however.
After Pendergast denied Derhak and Williams, Glover gave the Dragons a little breathing room with 4:49 remaining in the third period, taking a feed from Lyne and scoring to end an 11:08 drought.
Brunswick then took a 9-7 lead to the fourth period, where it finished off its victory.
Just 34 seconds in, Glover set up Mitchell and for the first time all game, a team enjoyed a three-goal margin.
After St. Louis hit the post, the Dragons killed a man-down situation, then Pendergast saved bids by Kerr and St. Louis.
“It wasn’t my greatest time in the first half, but I had to get used to the turf,” Pendergast said. “Bowdoin has great turf, but it’s quite bouncy. I love the pressure. I feel like I play my best under pressure.”
Then, with 6:17 on the clock, Girardin scored unassisted to make it 11-7.
Falmouth got a goal back with 3:38 to go, as Tucker set up Alexander, ending a 19:34 drought, but despite getting the ball back twice more, the Yachtsmen couldn’t make things more interesting, turning it over both times.
With 53.3 seconds remaining, Glover set up Lyne for a goal.
St. Louis scored one final time, with 35.6 seconds left, but Falmouth couldn’t get any closer and at 7:47 p.m., Brunswick celebrated its 12-9 victory.
“After our loss to Greely, we were so angry,” Aiden Glover said. “We’ve got a lot of seniors. We weren’t going to lose this game.”
“Winning 300 games is great, but to beat a team like Falmouth is exceptional,” Don Glover said. “Falmouth is an exceptional program and Coach (Dave) Barton is an incredible coach. They’ve got great athletes. We knew we had to come over here and focus and play our best. We played a Greely game where we lost the ground ball battle, so we pushed the kids in fundamentals in practice. We went back to the idea of getting the ball and possessing. Falmouth’s a good, physical group. We tried to drive hard, draw and get our opportunities. Our big players stepped up.”
Following the win, Don Glover, who beat Waynflete girls’ coach Cathie Connors (293 wins) and Cape Elizabeth boys’ coach Ben Raymond (277) to the 300 mark, was honored for his achievement, as his coaches, players and alumni paid tribute.
“He’s worked so hard for the sport,” Aiden Glover said, of his father. “He’s built our program. He’s done an unbelievable job. He’s a great guy, a cool Dad, I guess. Lacrosse is everything to us. Our summers are filled with it. It’s just something we’ve always done and what we love to do. The whole community is one big Brunswick lacrosse community and that’s helped in our success.”
“It’s something special,” said Pendergast. “Coach is like another Dad to me. I love him to death. He’s the one who has built me up to this point. This is a big step for us to get him his 300th win.”
“The pieces that mean the most to me are the people who are with me,” Don Glover added. “I have an incredible coaching staff. Great alumni. I might not have too much longer, so to have these moments is special. I’m extremely excited for us as a program. It was a great feeling to see the alumni walking around here tonight.”
Even Falmouth had to tip its cap.
“(Don’s) like a father figure to me, one of my best friends, but I wish (his 300th win) hadn’t come against us tonight,” said Barton. “He’s been instrumental in me becoming a coach. He means a lot to lacrosse in this state. It’s getting more popular and kids are getting more skilled and it’s because of coaches like him.”
Aiden Glover, the youngest of three Glovers to star for his father’s program (Cam Glover and Christian Glover were also All-Americans), scored a game-high five goals and added three assists.
Belanger and Mitchell each scored twice, while Girardin, Lyne and Nadeau all had one goal.
Lyne also had three assists, while McDiarmid finished with one.
Pendergast was sensational, as he seemingly always is in big games, with 16 saves.
“Connor is a leader,” Aiden Glover said. “He’s done nothing but help our team every year. He plays out of his mind.”
“We’ve been blessed that Connor has an innate competitiveness that he wants to play well,” Don Glover said.
Lyne had a team-high six ground balls.
Brunswick had a 44-40 total edge on shots and overcame 20 turnovers.
Falmouth was paced by four goals from St. Louis, Derhak had two goals, while Alexander, Tucker and Williams each scored once.
Tucker had two assists and Kerr finished with one.
Noyes made 12 saves.
The Yachtsmen had a 13-12 edge in faceoffs, a 37-32 advantage in ground balls (St. Louis had five), a 25-24 edge in shots on cage and turned the ball over 21 times.
“It’s not an effort thing, it’s a fundamental thing,” Barton said. “We’re just not good enough right now. We have spurts during games where we stray from the complementary lacrosse we try to play. We found a rhythm in the first quarter, but we got into a track meet in the second quarter and we had way too many turnovers.”
Each team has just a couple chances left to fine tune before the postseason arrives.
Falmouth (ranked second behind Windham in the Class A North Heal Points standings at press time) is idle until going to Sanford next Friday night. The Yachtsmen then close at home with a state final rematch against defending champion Thornton Academy May 28.
Falmouth has lost four of five, but knows it’s still capable of doing big things.
“We’ve been through way too much to let this season slip away,” Barton said. “We know our goals are still in front of us, but at a certain point, we have to go get it. We’ve got to figure it out soon.”
Brunswick (now second behind Yarmouth in Class B) has another huge home test Monday versus South Portland. The Dragons then go to Maranacook Wednesday and close at home versus Mt. Ararat May 28.
“We knew that this was a huge game and we have another one Monday against South Portland, so we’re just trying to play our ball,” Aiden Glover said. “We’ll just try and build on this.”
“We just have to have grit,” Pendergast said. “We have to dig in and push forward later into the season.”
“This win is huge for our momentum,” Don Glover added. “The guys realize we’re pretty good when we do the little things right. We have an extremely dangerous South Portland team coming to us Monday. That’s a serious challenge.
“We want to finish high in the rankings because we love the advantage of playing at home. We need to finish strong and hope the chips fall where they may so we’re a 1 or a 2 and we can play at home. If not, we know we can focus on the road.”
Brunswick senior Aiden Glover shoots and scores one of his five goals.
Falmouth junior Macklin Williams is hounded by Brunswick junior Chandler Coombs.
Falmouth senior Peter Alexander gets the worse of this collison with Brunswick senior Nuri Rosen.
Falmouth junior Zach Derhak, right, is congratulated by Falmouth senior Peter Alexander after scoring a goal.
Brunswick coach Don Glover is congratulated by his assistants after earning his 300th victory.
The magic number.