Warriors have late surge to top high-powered Rockets, 13-9
Published in the April 13, 2017 edition.
By DAN BYRNE
WAKEFIELD — Yesterday, Landrigan Field was the stage for an early season lacrosse matchup featuring two high-powered Middlesex League teams. Coming in at 2-0 the Warriors were ranked number 22 this week by one Boston publication, while their guest, Reading came in ranked number four by the same media outlet.
The Warriors were able to capitalize on turnovers and overturn a halftime deficit to take down the Rockets by a 13-9 final.
“We were able to capitalize on mistakes, once that started happening, things started rolling our way,” said head coach Andrew Lavalle following the win. “We were ready for this game. We came to work yesterday and we prepared all week.”
This one didn’t get the crowd such a highly anticipated matchup would normally draw due to a nasty downpour that moved in just before the game, but by the start of the third quarter things cleared up.
On the field, the conditions may have factored into a slow start for both teams as they struggled against the elements. Wakefield’s Ryan Fitzpatrick opened the scoring, and with just over a minute to play, Austin Collard made it 2-0 Wakefield.
Reading won the face-off and quickly responded with a goal less than 30 seconds after Wakefield doubled its lead.
Pat Leary had a goal with under a minute to give the Warriors a 3-1 advantage after the first quarter.
“This is the best we’ve started a game, usually we’re a second half team,” the coach said.
Reading got on a roll in the second quarter as they outscored the Warriors 4-1. Rocket junior Jack Geiger had two of the four goals for the visitors and his second put Reading up 5-3.
Anthony Forziati netted his first of four goals on the day to cut the Reading lead to 5-4 at halftime.
The Rockets got on the board first in the third quarter to re-establish their two goal lead at 6-4.
A pair of penalties saw the Warriors go two men down with around six minutes to play, but a surprise attack saw Leary nick one back while Wakefield was shorthanded to cut the lead to 6-5.
“We really wanted this one, you could tell,” Lavalle said. “We tried really hard and our effort was there.”
A minute and 10 seconds later, Forziati struck again to tie the score at 6-6, where it stood until the end of the third quarter.
It was a dead heat for the first 10 minutes of play in the fourth quarter, with Forziati opening the scoring just 20 seconds into play to put the Warriors on top 7-6. The two teams traded punches with Collard and Forziati scoring goals eight and nine just 2:30 apart.
But each time Reading came back and scored to tie the contest on the next attack.
With 2:12 to play, Nolan Collins came up with a big defensive play that led to PJ Iannuzzi scoring his first goal. A minute later, Iannuzzi rifled home a second to place the Warriors in front by two goals with just over a minute remaining in the game.
“Something that we focus on is just staying focused and making the right decisions,” Lavalle said. “Guys played smart. The big thing today was lacrosse IQ, and that’s the thing that really got us the “W” at the end.”
Reading’s defense switched things up and pulled the goalie in desperation for the final minute, but Collard found his way inside the D-line and calmly slotted into the empty net on two occasions to give the Warriors goals 12 and 13.
Wakefield’s special teams really separated it from its opponent, with two goals down one man and one goal down two men.
“That was huge,” Lavalle said. “We never beat these guys, None of the calls were going our way. We just kind of took destiny into our own hands and we were able to finish.”
There is no time to celebrate the win, or even rest, as the Warriors head back out to play again tomorrow after school on the road in Arlington.
“We have Arlington tomorrow (Thursday) right after school,” Lavalle said. “It’s going to be tough, and we just can’t have the emotional hangover.”
Wakefield is now 3-0 after wins over Shawsheen (14-1) and Malden Catholic (12-5 in a game played last Saturday at MC) as well.
The Warriors face the Spy Ponders this afternoon at 4 p.m. at Pierce Field at Arlington High School.
WARRIOR GOALS — A. Forziati 4, A. Collard 3, P.J. Iannuzzi 2; Leary 2, Langlois 1, Fitzpatrick 1.