MANCHESTER -- The Burr and Burton Academy boys lacrosse team has played nine games this season. Four have been decided by a single goal.
Against Otter Valley on Saturday, the Bulldogs hoped the ending wouldn't be so tense. They made sure of that from the opening whistle.
BBA scored the first nine goals of the game on its way to a 20-4 rout over the Otters in a Division II matchup.
"We usually run and gun, get to the goal. I want to see more poise and patience and we saw that a lot today," said BBA (4-5) coach Kevin Morrison.
Austin Kemper set a career-high with six goals while Sean Paradis and Ben Alexopoulos each had a hat trick.
"Our coach did a good job of calling plays and getting us to execute what we're practicing," Kemper said. "We worked on our transition, did well with that, and passing.
"A win [like this] is definitely a good confidence boost."
Alexopoulos started the game with two of the first three goals to give BBA a 3-0 advantage halfway through the first quarter. The Otters clamped down on defense, forcing Morrison to call a timeout with 2:21 left in the first.
After the stoppage, the Bulldogs had a flurry, scoring four goals in the final 1:58 of the quarter -- including all three by leading scorer Paradis -- to go up 7-0.
In the second, Jake Bookspan and Kemper added tallies for a 9-0 lead.
"Ben [does] a phenomenal job getting to the front of the net and won't take the shot," Morrison said. "So he [worked on] that. Sean's goals were his typical M.O. of free runs and taking shots."
Otter Valley came up with three of the next goals after Jeff Corbett was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty. Attacker Dan Pearson broke up the shutout with 3:46 left in the first half, then made it 10-3 with 1:19 left.
"We wanted to work on things, mix it up. Four quarters of making it up isn't going to win games, we wanted to run team offense," Morrison said.
In the second half, the first-year coach got that chance.
BBA scored three times in the first three minutes, two by Kemper.
"Big surprise with Austin Kemper's six goals -- he's one of our middies and they haven't scored a lot this season," Morrison said. "It's a great boost for someone like that that can go 1-for-1 at the top and score."
The Bulldogs continued to pile on through the third quarter, scoring five more times to take a 19-3 lead. In all, eight players entered the scorebook.
The big advantage gave Morrison the opportunity to run some of the Bulldogs' set offensive plays.
"Against stiffer competition, we know we have some options," Morrison said. "I wasn't trying to run up the score - I told them not to take any shots until we ran a play and the plays ran well. Having the ability to run team offense, a play that runs correctly is a beautiful thing."
As good as the offense was, the defense was just as impressive, shutting down the Otters in both the first and third quarters scoreless.
"We changed our defensive strategy based on [the 13-8 loss to Brattleboro]. We're in a zone, now in man on man in the midfield," Morrison said.