Hat tricks send Dracut packing, Melrose advances in tourney
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE—Perhaps the Dracut Middies would like to blame it on the rain, on Monday June 1 they were flooded by the Melrose Red Raider boys lacrosse team by a score of 10-5 in the opening round of the Div. 2 North playoffs at Fred Green Field in Melrose With the win, Melrose advances to play Beverly on the road in quarter finals on Thursday (post deadline) at 5:00 p.m. at Endicott College.
Playing in what was, at times, a complete deluge, Melrose (9-8) relied on Corbin White and Jack Siebert’s hat tricks to lift them over Dracut (9-10). At the net Melrose’s Connor Locke limited the damage with 12 goals. “Connor had a great game for us,” said Melrose head coach Matt James. “Since our Beverly game, something has clicked. He’s just a very smart player.”
Dracut led 2-0 early while Melrose played conservatively in the opening minutes, missing out on ground balls and faceoffs. That changed when Melrose’s Mike Pedrini scored unassisted with two minutes left in the first. Melrose offense kicked into gear when Jack Siebert tied it up at 2-2 with 17 seconds left in the quarter. The turning point of the game followed when Melrose’s Cam Hickey fed an assist to Mike Doucette in what amounted to a buzzer-beating goal that closed the first quarter with Melrose’s first advantage of the game at 3-2.
“That was a huge goal for us,” says James. “We’ve been really focusing on taking advantage of the last 10-20 seconds in a game to get an easy, dirty goal. That was textbook. I think that woke up our attackers, who may have been thinking ‘If Cam and Mike can do that, we better step it up.”
And they did. Melrose went on a 7 point run, behind the shooting of attackers Corbin White and Siebert. Siebert gave Melrose a 4-2 advantage at 7:34 and White followed with a shot at 5:59, then again at 2:34, which made it a 6-2 game. Another shot by Siebert made it 7-2 at the close of the half, effectively taking Dracut out of the contest in terms of momentum.
“I think we played with hesitation in the beginning. This was the first playoff experience for some of our newer players but you saw them playing more confidently as it continued,” says their coach.
By the third, the Middies climbed back on board, with Steve Maxim and Kyle Maxim making it just a 7-4 game. But Jack Mandracchia was fed an assist by Siebert with 1:20 left in the quarter and his goal made it an 8-4 game. In the fourth, Pedrini hit again and Corbin White delivered the finale to make it a 10-5 final.
With the win Melrose will face an exciting rematch against Beverly on Thursday (post deadline). Melrose narrowly fell to the Panthers earlier in the season by just two goals in a clash that James describes as pivotal in the season. “That was a turning point for us defensively, and some of our younger players stopped playing like underclassman after that game. We’re really excited to face them. We plan to change things up a bit and keep them off guard by putting wrinkles in our formations. We are ready for this rematch.”