Warriors blast Newburyport, increase record to 18-0

SEVERAL MEMBERS of the WMHS boys’ lacrosse team celebrate as the Warriors beat Newburyport by an 18-5 score to cap off an undefeated regular season with an 18-0 record. (Donna Larsson Photo)

SEVERAL MEMBERS of the WMHS boys’ lacrosse team celebrate as the Warriors beat Newburyport by an 18-5 score to cap off an undefeated regular season with an 18-0 record. (Donna Larsson Photo)

Published in the May 23, 2017 edition.


WAKEFIELD — Undefeated regular seasons are a rare accomplishment at any level, but to achieve such a feat in varsity boys’ lacrosse is new territory for the Wakefield Warriors.

Wakefield did just that as they blasted Newburyport by an 18-5 score in the regular season finale at Landrigan Field to finish the regular season with a perfect 18-0 overall record.

As the Warriors stepped on the field Monday afternoon, just four quarters with the Clippers stood in their way of perfection.

For the first two quarters, the teams felt each other out, with Wakefield jumping out to an early two goal lead.

The Warriors clung to a 5-3 halftime lead, and the upset watch was on, but they put that all to rest with a huge third quarter that saw the Warriors jump ahead 12-3.

Newburyport couldn’t slow down Wakefield’s attackers Austin Collard and Pat Leary as the pair combined for 10 goals (five each).

That would prove to be more than enough as the Warriors prevailed by the 18-5 final score.

Braedan Langlois proved a valuable asset on offense as he rifled home a hat trick as well.

The Warriors had individual goals by Henry Miller, Anthony Forziati, PJ Iannuzzi, Tyler Drago, and Rob Guida.

Goalie Ryan Chambers was magnificent in net in the first half, stopping nine shots in the game.

Head Coach Andrew Lavalle spoke following the conclusion of the regular season finale saying, “We were on upset alert for a while with all the things on the internet saying ‘you’re on upset alert, let’s see if they trip up, let’s see this and that,’ and it gave us a little fuel for our fire. It made us work a little harder.”

On going undefeated coach Lavalle said, “Nobody goes in expecting to have a season like this. It’s nice that it worked out well for these guys.

“It all comes from the leaders, they performed,” he said as the team cleaned up the sideline around him. “Everybody else does well as a result.

“I’m really proud of what they’ve accomplished as far as staying focused, that isn’t easy,” Lavalle added, noting the degree of difficulty to maintain an unblemished record the entire season.

“They worked for it, that’s the biggest thing. They worked hard,” the coach said. “You get what you deserve and these guys deserve this season.”

It was certainly a season filled with highlights and accomplishments, but one game stood out as the turning point for coach Lavalle, “After that Reading game, the way that we did things and my ideas about this team changed.”

The big difference this season for Lavalle was the culture of the program.

“The guys on the team really changed the culture,” he said. “Anytime (in previous years) when we had these close games, anytime we had games we could lose, we never really pulled it out.

“That Reading game we were mentally tough. We put a lot on our older guy’s shoulders and as a result we got that win, and that was really huge,” the coach added.

When asked to reflect on the atmosphere around this team, Coach Lavalle said, “We’re not a team for the things that we’ve gained, we’re a team for the things that we lost. The things we’ve sacrificed, we came out of all these games, and that didn’t make us survivors, it made us warriors in the end. That made us a team.”

The rest of the week will be spent preparing for the postseason, with the state tournament seeding to be held at the end of the week. With the possibility of a number one seed and a first round bye, the Warriors have some time to digest the past 18 games and start fresh.

“We’re going to enjoy this one for a day but then it’ll be back to work tomorrow. We’re 0-0 at this point,” Lavalle said.

When asked if this team has what it takes to get to the next level, Coach Lavalle responded, “Absolutely. I’m never scared of what’s in front of us because I know I have this team behind us.”

The win follows the Warriors 19-1 triumph over Watertown on Saturday at Victory Field to wrap up the Middlesex League Freedom division schedule. Wakefield went a perfect 11-0 in the league and claimed its third straight league championship outright.

“We had a pretty good match up matchup going in. We got some of our younger guys in and it ended up being an overall team win,” said Lavalle.

Wakefield should know the date of its first playoff game by Saturday afternoon at the latest when Friday’s seedings become official. Tournament play is expected to begin sometime next week.