Warriors blast Fishermen in regular season finale

AUSTIN COLLARD, a sophomore, scored a goal and had two assists in Wakefield’s 16-3 triumph over Gloucester in the regular season finale. (Donna Larsson File Photo)

AUSTIN COLLARD, a sophomore, scored a goal and had two assists in Wakefield’s 16-3 triumph over Gloucester in the regular season finale. (Donna Larsson File Photo)


GLOUCESTER — The varsity boys’ lacrosse team at Wakefield Memorial High School is heading back to the state tournament on a high note with a big win in convincing fashion in its season finale Friday afternoon against Gloucester. The Warriors prevailed by a 16-3 score at Gloucester High School.

Wakefield finished the regular season with a 14-4 record.

Warrior first year head coach Andrew Lavalle rode a young side featuring backup goalie Ryan Chambers getting his big shot in net. Chambers’ teammates backed him up with heaps of goals in Wakefield’s final tune up before the postseason.

“It was really the story of a bunch of younger guys,” said coach Lavalle after the game.

Chambers came up big in net stopping 14 shots from the Fishermen at Newell Stadium.

“It all hinged on him,” his coach said. “Everybody tried a little bit harder because we had a younger guy in the cage.”

Something that Coach Lavalle made sure to point out was, though, they are a senior led team and many key players are seniors, the Warriors are also a very young team at the same time.

“Overall we’re kind of a younger team,” Lavalle said. “We have a lot of guys that really have stepped up over the year and they got of time in that last game.”

Another guy Lavalle wanted to highlight was Alexander Joly, #21.

“He’s really been very impressive for us the entire year,” Lavalle said. “We have had some injuries and some changes and he’s been a guy that has been consistent for us and that showed in the last game.”

Ryan Fitzpatrick was another youngster that got big minutes in Gloucester and found his way into the scorebook with his first goal.

“We really worried about our matchups last game and we felt like Fitz would be a great fit on the LFM, the long-stick mid positon,” said Lavalle. “He played a really great game and even pumped one in. He got his first goal as a long-stick and that’s just straight up a guy working hard. Fitz had another big game, he scored an effort goal.”

Another young player that got into the goal column in the scorebook was Bobby Keegan.

“Bobby Keegan is another young guy that we’re excited about,” Lavalle said of Keegan. “He does everything right and really runs the plays well. We asked him to play attack for us, which is not his regular position. We needed guys to step up and we needed guys to make an effort and he’s a guy that showed up.”

Keegan was creating in attack and his field vision and versatility led to a couple of goals for the Warriors.

“He had a couple assists,” Lavalle said. “That’s a big time situation for him to be able to identify and make those great passes to guys right on the doorstep.”

A few other players who stepped in and played big minutes were Henry Miller and Dylan Frank.

“One thing we value in Wakefield is getting the ball from the defensive end to the offensive end and we asked Dylan to step up and be that guy for us. And boy did he have a game,” said Lavalle about Frank. “From box to box he just really stepped up for us and that’s all we could ask from him.”

The one guy that really killed Gloucester was one of the usual suspects, as Brandon Grinnell capped off a spectacular season with one of his games of the year, netting seven goals in the win.

“Bran killed the other team,” Lavalle said. “As good as it was having the young guys step up, it was huge that we had a veteran guy who is actually pretty young himself being just a junior. It was just a total nightmare for the other team.”

Grinnell imposed his will every time he touched the ball, analyzing and attacking the goal. Wakefield was dominant in possession, with everyone making strong, accurate passes and working hard on ground balls. However, when Grinnell got the ball, he finished the play with a goal time and time again.

To go along with Grinnell’s bundle of goals, the Warriors got four from Pat Leary and three from MJ Urbano. Austin Collard and Bryan Noyes also recorded single goals for Wakefield. Meanwhile Grinnell, Keegan, Collard and Urbano all recorded two assists each.

“It’s a team effort but it’s nice to have a guy like that we can depend on,” the coach said about Grinnell’s leadership on offense. “It’s not just his ability to make plays but he just has a good lacrosse IQ and he’s a guy that understands the game.”

Lavalle acknowledged that, in the end on Friday, the result was commensurate to the effort engaged in preparation saying, “We’ve never had a bad day of practice, all the guys are great. They’re just a good group to be around.

“It all comes down to character,” Lavalle said. “We realize that success is not a mistake. It has a lot to do with working hard and working collaboratively. The idea is that it isn’t just lacrosse success, it’s success in general as a human being and it’s really great to be a part of that as a coach and as a teacher. Effort translates from the field to life.”

Wakefield will now wait for the state tournament pairings to be done on Friday. The start of the tournament is being anticipated for Sunday, May 31.