Warriors blast Shawsheen Tech in a Div. 2 North quarterfinal
By DAN BYRNE
WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield Memorial High School varsity boys’ lacrosse is the only team the school has remaining alive in the postseason tournament. The boys’ lacrosse team is also the only postseason team to win in the state tournament.
The Warriors’ opening round game was played on Friday evening at Landrigan Field as the Rams of Shawsheen Tech came to visit for a Div. 2 North quarterfinal game. This was the second meeting between the two teams this season as the Warriors handled the Rams easily earlier in the season.
Postseason play in any sport by nature is a different breed of animal and lacrosse is no exception. Friday, however, was almost a repeat of the first time these two teams met this season as the Warriors picked up the win, 17-3, in head coach Andrew Lavalle’s tournament debut.
The Warriors (15-4) advanced to the semifinal round and will host third-seeded Marblehead (14-6) tomorrow night at 5 p.m. at Landrigan Field.
“What we wanted to focus on today was the guys calling their own plays and doing their own things,” the coach said after the win. “It was nice to let the guys take ownership of that game. They played well.”
The opening few minutes of the first quarter were dominated by the Warriors but it took almost half the period for Wakefield to break the ice.
“(It was a) Little sloppy at first,” Lavalle said. “But overall a really good game. Guys stepped up, that’s what it came down to, defensively especially.”
With just over six minutes to play in the first, senior midfielder MJ Urbano made a darting run from the center circle right down the throat of the defense to within a few yards of goal, where he laid a pass off to Austin Collard to finish past the goalie for a 1-0 Warriors lead.
When Wakefield scores goals, the Warriors often do so in bunches and that was the case on Friday. After Collard netted the opener, not a minute had passed before Urbano doubled the lead with a laser shot to make it 2-0.
In less than 90 seconds, Brandon Grinnell scored the first of his seven goals on the night and Wakefield led 3-0.
Less than 30 seconds later, Urbano netted another goal giving the Warriors four goals in a matter of three minutes.
Wakefield took a pair of penalties at the end of the quarter, as one was killed off before time expired and the other carried into the second quarter where the Warriors entered ahead 4-0 on the scoreboard but down a man on the field.
Shawsheen took advantage of their man advantage situation at the beginning of the second quarter and scored the opening goal of the second to make it 4-1 Warriors.
Grinnell answered back in less than a minute to make it 5-1 in favor of the Warriors. Two and a half minutes of jostling for possession followed and eventually Shawsheen broke down the Warrior defense and netted an even strength goal to make it 5-2.
About a minute later, the Warriors hit back as Vin Ferretti netted his first of three goals.
The score remained at 6-2 for a spell of time. Meanwhile Shawsheen was gaining its footing and putting some pressure on Alex Flynn in the Wakefield net. Flynn came up with a huge, point blank save with 3:40 to play in the first half to deny the Rams a goal right on the doorstep that would have made it 6-3.
In the final 2:20 Grinnell netted two more goals more making the lead 8-2.
However, with just four seconds remaining on the clock, Shawsheen got a goal against the run of play to make the score line 8-3 heading into halftime.
“It was nice to have some of our younger guys really step up,” Lavalle said as he highlighted a few players he felt put in a good show. “(Alex) Joly had a really good game for us, he’s playing very well. PJ Iannuzzi and Nick Magee did really really well on the face-offs. (Ryan) Fitzpatrick had another really good game, he’s basically a ground ball machine. We ended up clearing really well by the end of the game.”
The second half appeared to be a more even contest as the Rams held the Warriors off the board for the first seven minutes of the third quarter. Despite going on the power play around the halfway point in the third, the Warriors failed to score with the man advantage. A minute later they took a penalty that saw Shawsheen go on the power play but the Warrior defense held firm and the Rams were held off the scoreboard as well.
It wasn’t until the 3:37 mark of the third quarter that the back of the net would bulge again. This time Wakefield got a goal from the most unlikely of sources as Braedan Langlois got the call up from the JV and found himself on the field in the third quarter.
Langlois took a perfect feed from Collard and skillfully tucked it by the goalie making it 9-3 Wakefield.
Langlois’ goal opened the floodgates on Shawsheen’s net, and in just 17 seconds, Wakefield’s Iannuzzi won the face-off and marched down and scored a goal.
Amazingly, just six seconds later, Grinnell managed to score to bring the score line to 11-3.
Before the third quarter ended Ferretti scored to make it 12-3 in favor of the home team.
Wakefield added five unanswered goals in the fourth quarter. Two more came from Grinnell in the fourth with Ferretti getting a goal and an assist in the quarter. Pat Leary had a fourth quarter goal as did James McAuliffe to round out the scoring and bring the game to an end at 17-3.
With Grinnell’s seventh goal of the day and Wakefield’s 17th and final goal of the game, the Warrior junior set the school’s all-time record for goals in a season.
“That puts him at the most goals in a single season in Wakefield history,” Lavalle said after the game.