Published in the April 13, 2016 edition


LYNNFIELD — The boys’ lacrosse team opened the 2016 season with two victories last week.

The Pioneers began last week defeating Arlington 7-6 April 6.

The game started slowly for the locals, who struggled finding their offensive rhythm. Senior captain Pat Garrity scored the locals’ first goal after being set up by sophomore Nick Kinnon. Lynnfield’s defense, particularly senior captain and goalie Jack Ganter, limited the Spy Ponders’ to only two shots on goal during the first quarter. Senior John Caruso scored the Pioneers’ second goal after being set up by senior midfielder Greg Miles.

“It’s nice to see our new seniors fitting right in with the team and playing key roles right away,” said Pioneers head coach Joe Papagni.

Arlington started playing better during the second quarter but Ganter used his athleticism to either stop or clear 10 Arlington shots, which kept the Spy Ponders scoreless.

“We were lucky to be scoreless at halftime,” said Papagni. “Jack saved us.”

Arlington went on the attack during the third quarter and scored two goals, tying the game at two.

Undaunted, Garrity navigated his way through Arlington’s defense to find the back of the net, which gave Lynnfield a 3-2 lead. Attacker CJ Finn scored the locals’ fourth goal, giving the Pioneers a 4-2 lead.

Arlington fired right back and scored its third goal. Caruso responded by scoring a goal a short time later, giving the Pioneers a 5-3 lead.

Despite Papagni’s repeated calls urging the Pioneers to stay focused, Arlington managed to force overtime after scoring two goals with less than four minutes remaining in the game.

Lynnfield was able to draw a penalty in overtime after senior Alex Soden was tackled. After a couple of shots went wide, Kinnon nailed a shot from the right wing past Arlington’s goalie to give the Pioneers a 5-4 victory.

Ganter tallied 18 saves in net against Arlington.

“Jack stood on his head to keep us in the game,” said Papagni.

Papagni commended the Pioneers’ performance against Arlington.

“A good start to the season,” said Papagni. “We may have found some players that can really help us at the varsity level.”

Defeats Belmont

The Pioneers kept rolling and defeated Belmont 5-4 April 9.

Belmont used a box-and-one defense to limit Garrity’s scoring chances but Garrity managed to beat his defender and found Finn, who buried a shot past Belmont’s goalie. Finn scored the locals’ second goal after being set up by sophomore Peter Look, which gave Lynnfield a 2-0 lead at halftime.

The Marauders came out strong during the third quarter. Halfway through the third quarter, Papagni said a Belmont defenseman was “ejected with an expulsion penalty.” Lynnfield went on a three-minute power play and Kinnon, Finn and Garrity each scored a goal to give the Pioneers a 5-0 lead.

Belmont came roaring back during the fourth quarter. The Marauders scored two goals in the beginning of the fourth quarter and added two late goals in the contest. The Pioneers hung on for the narrow 5-4 victory.

“We have to learn how to compete at all times,” said Papagni. “When we’re up or down or tied, that will come with more experience and in becoming a true team. Our senior leadership is working hard to bring us together and be one unit with all of the new faces. It won’t be easy but it will get done.”

Upcoming games

The Pioneers travel to North Reading on Friday, April 15, beginning at 4 p.m. Lynnfield hosts Newburyport on Tuesday, April 19, beginning at 10 a.m. The locals host Revere on Friday, April 22, beginning at 9 a.m.