Published April 17, 2019


LYNNFIELD — The first one is always the toughest. Until you can get that first win under your belt, you have to keep answering the same question.

Last week, the Lynnfield boys’ lacrosse team put that question to rest when they took down Cape Anne League rival Manchester Essex in the home opener. The following game against Triton would be another close one coming down to the end, but the Pioneers would find themselves on the short end of the stick moving to 1-3 on the early season.

Pioneers hang on over Hornets

Spring may have started three weeks ago, but those sitting in the rain-soaked frigid stands last Tuesday may have begged to differ. The 0-3 Hornets of Manchester Essex came to town in search of their first victory similar to the 0-2 Pioneers hosting them.

After Lynnfield sophomore goalie Nik Marotta made a point blank save to open the game, a failed clear would give the Hornets another shot that they would not miss. The Pioneers would tie the game up after junior attackman Mitch Mckay drove to the net and ripped one by the Manchester goalie. The next goal would belong to the Hornets but Lynnfield would come right back.

NIK MAROTTA makes a point-blank save early on during Lynnfield’s win over Manchester-Essex on April 9. (Kerrianne Allain Photo)

Marotta, playing in only the third lacrosse game of his career, made another great save and cleared it down the field. Once in Hornet territory, junior midfielder Jackson Hammersley made a man miss and proceeded to go bar-down tying the game at two. The Pioneers would then find themselves in the lead after sophomore attack John Briggs went top shelf on the Manchester-Essex goalie.

The Hornets grabbed the next two goals giving them a 4-3 lead over Lynnfield late in the second quarter. The lead would quickly disappear when McKay called his number again. The Pioneer attackman spun around his man and charged toward the net making a diving shot atop the crease like Bobby Orr himself. The acrobatic goal would tie the game at 4, but a late Manchester goal gave the Hornets the 5-4 edge going into the locker room.

The message at halftime was simple, win it for “Simo.” Early on in the first half, Lynnfield’s John Simonetti found himself on the receiving end of a late hit behind the play which none of the officials had caught. The Pioneer midfielder was writhing in pain on the ground for quite some time before finally being helped off.

“They committed the game at halftime to Simo,” claimed Lynnfield head coach Joe Papagni. “They knew he was hurting.”

An early Manchester-Essex goal would extend the Hornets lead by two, but the Pioneers would rally. With nine minutes remaining in the third quarter, Lynnfield found themselves on a 30-second power play. The Pioneer offense dished the ball around with great movement setting up John Briggs for another top corner snipe. A little over a minute later, McKay made another defenseman miss and whistled one by the Hornet goaltender tying it at 6-6.

After trading goals, both teams would head into the final quarter at a 7-7 stalemate. With just over nine minutes remaining in regulation, Lynnfield senior attackman Gianluca Alfe rolled to his right and fired one through the goalie’s wickets. Four minutes later, the Pioneers would add to their lead when Hammersley fed Alfe with a great pass before rifling it by the Hornet goaltender.

Leading 9-7 with only five minutes to go in the game, Lynnfield found themselves in a comfortable position. Nothing would come easy though for the Pioneers in the final minutes. With just under two minutes remaining in the game, Lynnfield gave Manchester-Essex a two man power play. Despite the advantage, the Pioneer defense stood their ground and Marotta shut the door securing the 9-7 victory.

“(Harry) Drislane, (Hunter) Allain, and (Michael) Dreher played a nice game,” praised coach Papagni on his defensemen after the game. “They settled down and led the defense the way it was supposed to be done…and Nik made some great saves.”

Lynnfield comeback comes up one goal short

Looking to build on the first win of the season, the Pioneers squared off against the 1-1 Triton Vikings last Friday. Similar to the Manchester Essex game, it would be a nail biter coming down to the end. Although it did not look as if this would be a contest when Lynnfield found themselves trailing by six goals at halftime.

With just under two minutes remaining in the game, Pioneer midfielder Jackson Hammersley would complete the comeback tying the game 11-11. Unfortunately for Lynnfield, it would not be enough as the Vikings would steal the last goal in the final minute to hold off the Pioneers 12-11.