Warriors avenge last year’s tourney loss, prevail 15-8
Published in the May 3, 2017 edition
By DAN BYRNE
WAKEFIELD — Tuesday at Landrigan Field, the Wakefield Memorial High School varsity boys’ lacrosse team put its perfect 9-0 record on the line as it hosted rival Winchester (7-4). It was also the first meeting since the Sachems eliminated the Warriors in double overtime in the Div. 2 North semifinals a year ago.
Wakefield avenged that loss with a 15-8 triumph to remain perfect at 10-0.
The Warriors fell behind in the first quarter by a pair of early Sachem goals, but they answered back with five straight goals. Senior Pat Leary got the first goal and Austin Collard’s first tied the game at 2-2. Henry Miller scored with just over five minutes to play in the first quarter to give the Warriors a lead at 3-2.
As the offense started to hit its stride, Wakefield carried a 5-2 lead after the first and an 8-3 lead into the halftime break.
It was be a hard fought second half, but the Warriors were able to stem an early third quarter rally by the Sachems. Wakefield couldn’t find its bearings shooting the ball in the third quarter and that momentary hiccup in the offense resulted in Winchester outscoring the Warriors 2-0 in the third quarter.
The Warriors picked things up offensively once again in the fourth as they pulled away in the end for the 15-8 win.
Wakefield’s goals came in bunches as Collard, a senior, led the scoring line netting six goals. Leary, a senior, and sophomore Anthony Forziati added three goals apiece and Braedan Langlois had two goals and two assists.
Junior goalie Ryan Chambers was huge in the cage for the Warriors, stopping 23 shots by the Sachems.
“Pat Leary got us started with scoring, but really and truly it all came down to the defense. The defense was huge,” head coach Andrew Lavalle said after the win. “Really, the name of the game was defense. They kept us in it and allowed our offense to get going.”
Coach Lavalle saw his team drop behind by a pair of goals before answering back with five unanswered goals. Had Wakefield not answered, the outcome could’ve been very different.
“Chambers was awesome in the cage for us tonight, made a lot of point blank saves,” remarked the coach as his team moved to 10-0 on the season, the only remaining undefeated team in Div. 1 or Div. 2.
“It could have been a lot different game if he didn’t make some of those amazing saves that he did,” Lavalle said.
Coach Lavalle saw some outstanding attacking play from his team saying, “Austin played on his head. We got a couple of huge plays from Brady Langlois. Our LSM (long stick midfielders) played well, Nolan Collins, Ty Collins. Really our whole defensive unit played well. Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) was great on the face-offs. PJ Iannuzzi, that kid is an animal, he was able to do well.
“We knew it was going to be a battle the whole time,” continued Lavalle. “It’s just a great game. We knew it was going to be a battle. I’m really happy with the way our guys responded.
“Mental toughness is the key,” Lavalle said when thinking back on the start of the game and how the Warriors were able to pull themselves back into the game. “It’s one of the most important things in this game.”
Lavalle knew Winchester offered the Warriors some of the strongest competition they’re going to face, “(There were) A couple good saves by that goalie, too.”
Lavalle wasn’t worried when his team failed to score in the third quarter.
“It really truly might have been a little over thinking. We kind of got in our own heads, but we decided to be a little mentally tougher.”
The Warriors came out and controlled the fourth quarter. Forziati got the ninth goal for the Warriors to start the fourth quarter scoring. A flag flew as the sophomore was able to shake off a stick to the mask, and score an unconventional, if not amazing behind the head, no look goal that left the Sachem goalie stone-footed.
That paved the way for the big frame and the Warriors went on to win the contest.
Wakefield came into the game riding high off a big win on Saturday against Marblehead at Landrigan Field. The Warriors left no doubt as they cruised to a 21-3 victory. Collard scored nine times for the Warriors.
“I thought we just matched up well against them. I honestly thought the battle was won before it was even fought. We felt confident matching up with those guys,” Lavalle said of the Marblehead win.
“We won the first face-off, scored right off the opening face-off. We won the secnd face-off and pumped it in again. After that we had them a little mentally defeated. After the third face-off, then we got a defensive stop and came down and scored. We had six of seven goals in the first three minutes. We were just firing on all cylinders and that was huge.”
Next time out the Warriors put their undefeated record (10-0) on the line as they head to Belmont on Friday. That game is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at Harris Field.