MADISON >> It’s taken a little longer than anyone hoped for the Hand boys’ lacrosse team to get used to new coach Paul Deon’s offensive system.
But now the Tigers are on a roll, having won their last four games, including a dominating 10-4 victory over Notre Dame-West Haven Thursday night at Hand High School.
“Everything is new,” said Deon, who came to Hand from Stonington High. “My style and the kids getting to know me are new, plus we have a lot of new faces in the starting lineup.”
Hand (5-6) had lost five straight games before its current streak.
“A lot of young guys have stepped up,” said Hand attacker Bryan McManus, who scored four times Thursday night.
Notre Dame (5-5) took an early 1-0 lead less than 4 minutes into the game when Andrew Stofko took advantage of a couple Hand penalties with a goal.
Hand freshman goalkeeper Pat Burkenshaw then made a couple big saves to keep Notre Dame off the scoreboard.
“I thought their goalie played great,” Notre Dame coach A.J. Alessi said. “One or two of those drop in and it’s a 2-0 or 3-0 lead and it’s a completely different game.”
Hand, however, scored the next nine goals, including McManus’ four goals.
“I usually dodge from the backs and X,” McManus said. “Tonight, I dodged from the top to my left hand and mostly hit shots on the run.”
Hand simply dominated things during that stretch as it was able to find the open man on a consistent basis despite being methodical on offense.
“We like to see where they are sliding and where the weak spots are in the defense,” Deon said. “It was just a matter of looking at their defense, poke at it a bit and then you find your openings to exploit it until they correct it.”
Reid Sweitzer and Mike Ciancolo each added a pair for goals for the Tigers during that stretch.
Joseph Palmieri finally was able to score for Notre Dame with 9:41 to play.
“We played our toughest stretch of the schedule in the first five games and now Hand and Guilford,” Alessi said. “It lines up well for us at the end of the year.”
John Brunetti collected 17 saves for Notre Dame, while Burkenshaw had 12 saves for Hand.