The Delaware Hayes boys lacrosse team struggled to find its grip as visiting Dublin Jerome handed the Pacers their third straight loss in a 10-2 decision Tuesday night in Delaware.
Hayes, which has been battling injuries all season, had four of its regulars out. Cole Livermore (left hamstring), Alex Schumacher (thumb), Casey Eiland (broken collarbone) and Sam Lagando (wrist) are all battling to get back for the Pacers.
“The guys that we have returning (from last season) are good, but they just lack the experience that we had that graduated over the last couple of years,” Pacers coach John Lyon said.
Hunter Barco had three goals and three assists and Mitchel Canaday added three goals to lead the Celtics.
“Dublin Jerome – they finish in the top five or six in the state every year. So, they’re a good-caliber team,” Lyon said.
Barco fed Christopher Posacki on the game’s first goal 1:41 in to give Jerome the lead for good.
“It’s where we’ve been all season,” Lyon said. “We started slow against Buckeye Valley, we came out and started slow against Medina and battled back and won in overtime. We started slow against Watterson and dug a hole we couldn’t get ourselves out of. We battled with Thomas. We have a hard time capitalizing on that first possession.”
Jerome controlled the action for much of the first half as Delaware struggled to maintain possession.
The Pacers had penalty of trouble late in the first half. Barco fought through a cross-check to score with 2:34 left to push the Celtics’ lead to 5-1.
Drew Wagner got the Pacers (3-4) on the board with 5:44 left in the half on an unassisted goal and the team fought off a Jerome two-man advantage in the final minute of the half to keep it at a 5-1 deficit at the break.
Delaware’s Corey David took a shot to the head, but still found a way to score to cut it to 6-2 with 3:22 left in the third quarter.
“There’s a lot of lacrosse left. We’ll hopefully have guys getting healthy again,” Lyon said. “We’re not where we want to be right now. We’ll live to fight another day.”
Barco responded, finding the back of the net just over 2 minutes later and the Celtics added three goals in final five minutes of play to cap the scoring.
Cade Apple and Paxton Stern each had a goal and an assist while Michael Romanelli and Josh Miller stopped three shots in goal for the Celtics (5-1).
Tyler Groth made 10 saves for the Pacers.
“The score didn’t reflect it, but Noah Alexander and Drew Wagner played exceptionally well – even Tyler Groth – he could only stop so many shots before they just start to go in,” Lyon said.
Next up, Delaware hosts Hilliard Darby Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Also: Olentangy 15, Westerville Central 4; New Albany 9, Orange 8, OT.
Kailee O’Brien finished with four of her team’s seven goals, but visiting New Albany peppered the net all night long en route to a 17-7 win over host Orange Tuesday in Lewis Center.
Buckeye Valley scored three runs in the fourth, but Brick Township already plated nine by that point as the Barons fell 15-4 in six innings Tuesday in Myrtle Beach.
Zach Schneider, Nathan Edington, Leo Wells and Hayden Owens had the Barons’ only four hits in the setback.
BV’s second game of the day, a 2-1 loss to Morgantown (WV), was significantly closer, but offensive production was again a problem. The Barons, who took a brief 1-0 lead with a run in the third inning, managed just three hits. Ben Spaulding had the lone RBI.
Morgantown scored two runs off Evan Ulrich in the bottom half to smooth out the scoring summary.
Liberty 12, Westerville South 2, 6 innings
Connor Stewart finished with three hits and five RBI to lead the Patriots to a decisive league win over the visiting Wildcats Tuesday in Powell.
Mitch Milheim picked up the win on the mound, allowing just two hits through three scoreless innings. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter.
Berne Union 13, Delaware Christian 0, 5 innings.
Blake Knollman had a team-best 14 kills, A.J. Smith added 37 digs and Brennan Walentschak had 67 assists to lead Liberty to a hard-fought 3-2 win over visiting Westerville North Tuesday in Powell.
The Warriors won the first set 27-25, but the Patriots bounced back with a dominant 25-10 win in the second. North went back up with a 25-23 win in the third, but Liberty won the fourth 25-16 before sealing the deal with a 15-9 win in the fifth and deciding set.
Smith added nine kills while James Loftus chipped in seven in the win.
Also: Olentangy 3, Westerville Central 0.
New Albany 5, Big Walnut 0; Hilliard Bradley 3, Hayes 2.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.