CARLISLE — It’s always a good feeling to get back on track with a win.
That was the case for Carlisle boys lacrosse Wednesday evening with a 10-5 win over Northern at Carlisle High School. After suffering a loss at Cumberland Valley on Monday, it was crucial for the Thundering Herd to end a three-game skid now as the playoffs continue to inch closer.
The Herd (3-7, 2-3 Commonwealth) entered the day 20th in the District 3 Class 3A power rankings, eight places out of the final playoff spot. Carlisle needs to make a run in the final weeks to make the tournament.
“We kind of needed this because if we want to get in the playoffs, we have to win out,” said Eric Hoover, who tallied four goals in the win. “We had a long talk [Tuesday] about this season and what this game means, so we knew we had to win this one.”
Carlisle started the game on the right foot, ending the first half up 2-1 against the Polar Bears (4-5, 2-2). Except this time, there was no second half meltdown with the Herd losing control.
“We’ve played well all year long — I mean, we’ve had a couple of games where we haven’t shown up, but most of our games we’ve been right in it at the end,” Carlisle head coach Robert Mundell said. “Coming out of the Cumberland Valley game, we had a lot of confidence, it was just a matter of getting them to believe that they could win a game.
“I think that’s what’s most significant about this game today is that we had Owen Hacker who has had multiple shots, but just hadn’t been able to get it in. He had a couple of really big goals for us today, so I believe that his confidence level was where it needs to be for the rest of the year. That’s probably the most significant aspect of this game is just getting some confidence and getting some momentum, because the team’s been playing well all year long and we just haven’t had the fortune of winning.”
Carlisle picked up the pace in the second half with Hoover notching his hat trick in the third and Hacker tacking on a goal to start the fourth to make it 6-1. Northern and Carlisle traded goals for the remainder of the final quarter, but ultimately it was the Herd that walked away with the win.
Mundell and the team hope that momentum keeps up. They’ll need all the luck they can get to climb past eight other teams.
“It feels good [to win] — we’ve been getting close all these times, so it finally feels good to get that win,” Hoover said. “We kept working, and in the second half, especially, we started figuring out our offense and hitting open guys. It started slow, but we picked it up and started to figure ourselves out.”
Carlisle still has South Western, Mechanicsburg, Exeter Township, Central Dauphin, Red Land and Chambersburg on the schedule, with three of the last four games at home. Five of those teams — Exeter (No. 8), South Western (9), Central Dauphin (12), Chambersburg (17) and Mechanicsburg (19) — lead the Herd in the district power rankings.
“We just need to play every game one moment at a time, and play the rest of the season one game at a time,” Mundell said. “Just continue to have this type of effort and this type of momentum. The cohesion is getting to where it needs to be, our face-off guy was amazing today, and we’re just glad to be in the position that we’re in right now.
Carlisle gets back to work after the Easter break Monday at South Western at 4:15, and Northern takes a similar break before hosting Lower Dauphin at 7.
Cumberland Valley downed Red Land on Wednesday evening 18-6 behind four goals from Easton La…