Published in the June 1, 2016 edition
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — After winning its final two games of the regular season, the boys’ lacrosse team is looking to make some noise in the Division 3 North state tournament.
The Pioneers (12-4) celebrated Senior Night in style as the locals defeated North Reading 5-2 May 25. The locals honored senior captains Trevor Caswell, Pat Garrity, Jack Ganter and Max Robert as well as seniors Ricky Johnson, Matt Miller, Greg Miles, John Caruso, Alex Soden, CJ Finn, Anthony Coletta and Brendan Rothwell during a pre-game ceremony.
“Senior Night is always a special night in Lynnfield when the players show appreciation to their parents for their support over the past four years as Lynnfield High School athletes,” said Pioneers head coach Joe Papagni. “The kids rightfully look forward to Senior Night to express their thanks to their parents and at the same time start thinking about things coming to an end.”
Lynnfield jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after Garrity and Rothwell each found the back of the net.
“Both goals came with tremendous personal efforts from both players,” said Papagni. “Garrity drove from the restraining box by three players and beat the Hornet goalie. Brendan drove off the right wing and beat the goalie with a one handed lefty shot, which brought a roar from the crowd and the Pioneer bench.”
After the Pioneers received a penalty, the Hornets scored a man-up goal, cutting Lynnfield’s lead to 2-1. Papagni said defensive specialists Johnson, Robert, Coletta and Miles “did a great job fighting off the Hornet attack.” He also noted Ganter made some key saves as the Hornets were trying to rally from the one goal deficit.
“Ganter saved the game for us at this critical point in the game,” said Papagni.
Finn gave the Pioneers a 3-1 lead after receiving a pass from Garrity. The Hornets scored its second goal late in the second quarter, making the game 3-2 at halftime.
Junior Ryan Freitas found the back of the net in the beginning of the third quarter, giving the Pioneers a 4-2 lead. Finn scored the locals’ final goal in the fourth quarter.
Ganter tallied 10 saves in net against North Reading.
Papagni commended the locals’ performance against the Hornets.
“North Reading is always tough,” said Papagni. “We love our rivalry with North Reading. It usually brings out the very best in our competitive nature.”
The Pioneers began last week defeating Cambridge Rindge and Latin 9-7 May 23.
Lynnfield struggled out of the gate and fell behind 3-2 in the first quarter.
“We have never lost to Cambridge over the past eight years that we have played them and they came out flying,” said Papagni. “They are a very athletic team and if you don’t bring your A game, which we didn’t, you can be in trouble, which we were.”
Finn scored two first quarter goals to keep the game close.
“CJ has been playing great lacrosse over the past few games,” said Papagni. “His hamstring finally seems 100 percent and he is flying. When CJ gets going, he is a force in an opponent’s crease. We really need his presence come the tournament.”
The Pioneers committed a few penalties and turnovers during the second quarter but quickly recovered. Sophomore Nick Kinnon scored a goal in the second quarter, making the game 4-3. Miller was credited with the assist.
Garrity scored two more goals during the second quarter, giving Lynnfield a 5-4 lead at halftime.
Lynnfield headed into the fourth quarter with a 7-6 lead after Garrity and Finn each scored a goal during the third quarter. The locals outscored Cambridge 2-1 in the fourth quarter to pull out the 9-7 victory.
Garrity led the Pioneers with four goals. Finn scored three goals. Kinnon scored two goals. Miller, Soden and sophomore Nick Metrano each had an assist.
Ganter tallied nine saves in net.
“I think Cambridge’s athleticism forced us into too many unforced errors,” said Papagni. “At the end of the game, we tried to get more speed into our line-up. Junior Kingsley Corona was inserted into long stick middie and did an outstanding job for us. Kingsley has been a valuable role player for us for the past two seasons. He stepped up when we needed him and allowed us to run with Cambridge.”
The Pioneers are currently the third seed in the Division 3 North state tournament and will face either sixth seed Manchester-Essex or 11th seed Winthrop in the D-3 quarterfinals. The MIAA will announce the date and time of the game at www.miaa.net.