Warriors take control against Danvers in 14-3 rout

BRANDON GRINNELL tallied four goals and had a terrific offensive effort in Wakefield’s 14-3 triumph over Danvers in a non-league game yesterday. (Donna Larsson File Photo)

BRANDON GRINNELL tallied four goals and had a terrific offensive effort in Wakefield’s 14-3 triumph over Danvers in a non-league game yesterday. (Donna Larsson File Photo)


DANVERS — The Wakefield Memorial High School varsity boys’ lacrosse team played on the road on Wednesday as their non-league schedule continued with a trip to Danvers to face the Falcons at the Thorpe School.

First year Warrior head coach Andrew Lavalle got a complete team win from his side as they dominated the Falcons on their home field, winning by a 14-3 final score.

The game was never really in doubt as the Warriors jumped ahead early and cruised to victory. The win comes off a pair of heartbreaking one goal losses for the Warriors, most recently to Malden Catholic on Monday.

The Warriors got back into the win column Wednesday behind an outstanding defensive performance and patient, effective offensive execution for the full four quarters.

“We have had a couple tough ones,” Coach Lavalle said after the win. “(We had) A couple close losses. All our games that have been close we’ve been going so hard in the fourth quarter. We wanted to focus on the whole game.”

What caught Lavalle’s eye from the opening whistle was the defensive intensity.

“This is a game where we really set the tone physically,” the coach said about his defense. “The ‘D’ came out, they were flying, they were arriving on hands, crunching hits, crumbling the other team.”

One player coach Lavalle highlighted from this game was the performance of “The Hammer” Nick McGee.

“Nick McGee has really turned it on for us as the season has progressed,” Lavalle said. “When they were dropping the ball he was coming up with the GBs and bringing it down the other end and helping us punch it in. The Hammer really helped us in that portion of the game.

“Nick is a real team favorite because he just works so hard,” added Lavalle. “He got himself in a position to be successful. At the beginning of the year we really liked his work ethic and his attitude so we needed to find a way to get him on the field. Offensively we’re pretty strong, so we put McGee on the defensive side. He emerged as a guy that was dangerous in transition with the ability to analyze and attack and he can really drop the shoulder into guys that’s why we call him ‘The Hammer.’”

McGee was aided at the back by Steve Marino among others.

“Steve was really harassing the other guys,” Coach Lavalle said. “There were kids that were making 50 yard passes because they didn’t want to carry on Steve.”

As always, Lavalle felt confident in his team’s preparation coming into the game and that preparedness was the key factor in coming out on top.

“It’s no surprise that the guys who work hardest on the practice field are the guys who do the best in the game,” Lavalle said. “The best part about that is, everybody is working hard on the practice field. We have a lot of success in our games because of that work ethic.

“We have a great team character,” Lavalle went on, commenting on his team as a whole. “I absolutely love their effort, I love their intensity, I love their character. They really cheer for each other and get themselves going. That’s the big thing. They get up for one another, they want to see their teammates make a play and that’s the biggest thing they get real excited for our guys.”

Lavalle felt the game hinged on controlling loose balls and getting it out of the defensive end saying, “Our focus was on ground balls and clears. We were successful on every clear we had and we really won the ground ball battle. That’s really big time for us.”

The turning point in the ground ball battle came on a first half play that left a Danvers player absorbing a big hit.

“Andrew ‘The Hose’ DeLeary absolutely bundled a kid on the other team,” Lavalle said. “He folded him in half.It was just a hard ground ball that he was going after and he really took that effort speech we were talking about to heart. He dropped his shoulder and put it right through the Danvers guy. On every ground ball after that nobody on the opposite side was going into those hard ground balls, everybody had to keep their head up.”

Offensively for the Warriors the team was led by some of the usual standouts including four goals each from Brandon Grinnell and Vin Ferretti as well as three goals from James McAuliffe.

Austin Collard scored two goals and Pat Leary had the other for the Warriors.

“Brandon Grinnell was very patient on the offensive side, analyzing and attacking the defense,” Lavalle said. “He’s a total predator out there, when he starts smelling blood he starts going for it. It was nice for him to really see the field, take his time and just grip and rip.”

Coach Lavalle emphasized the team coming together saying,“It’s not just one guy on the offense, it’s a lot of guys working well together and putting it together. Austin Collard is a matchup nightmare, he had another great game for us. Every time he [Collard] has the ball he is such a danger to score.”

Coach Lavalle felt the need to mention another player that didn’t appear in the score sheet saying, “Bryan Noyes was a guy who really ran well for us today. Whenever he is on the field he’s directing people where to go and what to do.”

Noyes is big character guy and a leader in the locker room for Coach Lavalle.

“He helps us out on Tuesday night with our youth clinic,” Lavalle went on. “He’s really good with the kids and you can see coaching is going to be in his future.”

Lavalle feels Noyes’ leadership cannot be undervalued saying, “Bryan is one of two guys on the team this year that was on the team as a freshman. Between him and Flynn, those are the only two four year seniors.”

The Warriors are back in action on Friday as they look to improve on their 13-4 record with one final road trip to Gloucester to wrap up their regular season and tune up for the playoffs. Game time is at 4 p.m. at Gloucester High School.