Published in the May 25, 2016 edition
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — The boys’ lacrosse team is firing on all cylinders with the Division 3 North state tournament just around the corner.
The Pioneers (10-4) began last week defeating Manchester-Essex 10-3 on May 16. The locals’ victory over the Hornets allowed the Pioneers to finish second in the Cape Ann League Small Division.
Lynnfield stormed out of the gate and used its athleticism to take an 8-0 lead at halftime. Senior captain Pat Garrity scored four goals in the first half. Senior Matt Miller scored two goals and had an assist. Junior Ryan Freitas got his first varsity start and scored two goals during the first half.
“(Freitas) has earned varsity playing time in practice and he produced when called upon,” said Pioneers head coach Joe Papagni. “Hard work paying off is really nice to see. I’m happy for Ryan and he will help us come playoff time.”
Sophomore Nick Kinnon and senior CJ Finn scored the Pioneers’ last two goals in the second half.
Senior captain Jack Ganter tallied 12 saves in net against the Hornets.
Lynnfield received strong defensive performances from senior captains Trevor Caswell and Max Robert in addition to seniors Ricky Johnson, Anthony Coletta, Brendan Rothwell and Greg Miles and sophomore Tyler Murphy.
The Pioneers kept rolling and defeated Wilmington 12-6 May 18.
After a slow start, the Pioneers began asserting offensive pressure and the locals took a 7-3 lead at halftime. Lynnfield had 21 shots on net against what Papagni called a “shell shocked Wildcat goalie.”
The Pioneers kept rolling during the second half and had 23 shots on goal.
Garrity had a monster game for the Pioneers, finishing with seven goals and two assists. Finn had four goals. Sophomore Nick Metrano scored a goal.
Kinnon had a hat trick of assists. Freitas and Robert had one assist.
Ganter tallied 11 saves in net.
Loss to Bedford
The Pioneers suffered a heartbreaking 6-5 loss to Bedford May 21.
“Bedford has been a school that has been a Lynnfield boys’ team spoiler over the last couple of years,” said Robert. “Bedford had beaten and ended the season for the Pioneers in football two years ago and in basketball this past season. The senior Pioneers didn’t want the same to happen to them. We knew from the scouting report and losing to them last season that they were a good team and playing them under the lights was even more special.”
Bedford scored 35 seconds into the game after the Buccaneers’ face off specialist won the face off and scored after going coast-to-coast.
After Bedford scored, the game became a defensive battle. Lynnfield possessed the ball for 17 out of the first half’s 24 minutes. Finn scored a goal late in the second quarter, tying the game at one at halftime.
Bedford scored two goals in the beginning of the third quarter after the Buccaneers scored a man-up goal and scored on a fast break opportunity, giving Bedford a 3-1 lead.
Lynnfield cut Bedford’s lead to one after Garrity ripped a shot past the Buccaneer goalie, making the game 3-2. Kinnon scored a goal after he was able to get open along the left wing, which tied the game at three.
With the game deadlocked at three, Bedford managed to score two goals, giving the Buccaneers a 5-3 lead.
Undaunted, Garrity and Finn each scored a goal, tying the game at five.
With four minutes remaining in the game, the Pioneers committed a turnover that enabled Bedford to score on a fast break, giving the Buccaneers a 6-5 lead.
Down by one with 40 seconds remaining in the game, Garrity had a chance to tie the game but Bedford’s goalie came up with the save, enabling the Buccaneers to escape with the 6-5 victory.
Papagni commended his squad’s performance against Bedford.
“We went out and won two out of three games this week and that to me should be considered a successful week,” said Papagni. “My seniors wanted more this week. In athletics as in real life, we try to set aggressive and realistic goals and my seniors had set some lofty yet achievable goals for themselves. My staff and I, like our seniors, are a bit let down when we fall short. We still have two games remaining and the MIAA tournament to rectify any disappointments we are feeling right now.”
The Pioneers faced Cambridge Rindge and Latin on Monday, May 23, taking place after deadline. Lynnfield hosts archrival North Reading on Wednesday, May 25, beginning at 7 p.m. The Pioneers’ contest against the Hornets will be the team’s Senior Night.