PITTSFIELD -- It was a pretty good Friday afternoon for the Pittsfield lacrosse team. It was a better day for Dan Tagliaferro.
The Pittsfield junior attacker scored four goals, including the game-winner with 1 minute, 9 seconds left in the fourth quarter, as the Generals knocked off crosstown rival Taconic 6-5 in the season opener for both teams at Kirvin Park.
Tagliaferro scored a natural hat trick in the third quarter and his fourth goal kept the game from going into overtime.
"I was really nervous going into it," said Tagliaferro, who is in his first year as a starter and took up the game only two years ago. "I played varsity once last year for one game."
PHS coach Scott Aitken called it Tagliaferro's "breakout game," and said he was pleased with how the Generals played.
"The kids have been chomping at the bit. We've been in the gym for two and a half weeks," said Aitken. "This was the first time we stepped on this field all season. I was really happy with our effort. That to me was the best thing of the day."
With Taconic out on its field a lot so far, it put the Generals at a disadvantage right away. They were able to overcome it, however.
Despite coming up a goal short, Braves coach Bill O'Brien-Garvey had positives he could take out of the game.
"Our team didn't quit," he said. "We've improved quite a bit from last year. They're much more excited."
For the first two-and-a-half quarters, these rivals combined for two goals in a 1-1 tie. Once Taconic's Matt Duane scored with 4:23 left in the third, the flood gates opened.
Tagliaferro scored three in a row. He tied the game with 4:08 left, put PHS up 20 seconds later and made it 4-2 with 2 minutes to play.
The teams traded goals to start the fourth quarter before the Braves scored twice in an 8-second span. Mike Perkett made it 5-4 and then Kevin Harris' shot deflected off Pittsfield defender Ludwig Jean-Louis and past goalie Zach Rahilly to tie the score. That set the stage for Tagliaferro's game-winner.
"Zach played [the ball] to Mark [Amuso]. Mark ran it down and he passed it to me and I was wide open behind the defense," said Tagliaferro. "The goalie came out and the goal was open."
Perkett and Duane each scored twice for Taconic.
"Both defenses played really hard. Both goalies, you have to give credit to them. They were stopping shots," said Taconic's Sean Lanigan. "No one's hanging their heads here. There's plenty of season ahead."