Warriors begin state tournament run with decisive 19-3 rout over MC
Published in the June 5, 2017 edition.
By JIM SOUTHMAYD
WAKEFIELD — Saturday was a special day for Wakefield Memorial High with graduation ceremonies in the morning and then a boys’ lacrosse victory in the early evening.
The Warriors made sure the day didn’t end on a down note as they came out and cruised in a Div. 2 North quarterfinal game against Malden Catholic by a 19-3 score at Landrigan Field.
Wakefield increased its record to 19-0 on the season and will now face Middlesex League Freedom division rival Melrose (10-9 winners over Burlington in a quarterfinal Saturday at Green Memorial Field) in a semifinal round game on Tuesday night at 5 p.m. at Landrigan Field. The Warriors had their toughest game against the Red Raiders as they needed overtime to pull out an 11-10 victory on May 11.
As for Saturday’s game, Wakefield played it in honor of former lacrosse star Zach Frank. Frank, a 2010 WMHS graduate who played collegiate lacrosse at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, is currently in a coma after going into cardiac arrest while playing basketball at the Galvin Middle School several weeks ago.
Zach’s younger brother Dylan is a junior on the current Warrior team and older brother Max is also a former Warrior.
A moment of silence was held for Zach along with Danielle Benedetto and Logan Dunn. Benedetto, a former field hockey and lacrosse player from the Class of 2016, was killed in automobile accident last week. Dunn, a former football and hockey player also a member of the Class of ‘16, remains hospitalized in the intensive care unit the fatal crash.
When the game got underway, if Wakefield had any rust from the 12 day layoff, it really didn’t show as the Warriors built up a 4-1 lead after one quarter and led 9-2 at halftime. Wakefield increased its lead to 14-3 in the third quarter and added four goals as the time ran in the fourth quarter with the Warriors leading by such a big margin.
“It was a great overall game. We were focused and the effort was there,” said coach Andrew Lavalle. “The throwing and catching were a little off in the beginning, probably the result of the 12 days off we had. But we figured it out.”
Even though it was graduation day for WMHS, the seniors on the team weren’t distracted and were ready to play.
“It was a special day for the seniors and they wanted to get the “W”,” said Lavalle. “We pride ourselves on mental toughness and the players on this team are mentally tough. There was a lot going on a day like today.”
Senior midfielder Austin Collard had a big game with six goals to lead they way. Seniors Henry Miller and Pat Leary also had good offensive games with five goals and four goals, respectively. Seniors PJ Iannuzzi and Braedan Langlois each tallied a goal apiece.
While the offensive performance was impressive, the Warrior defense dominated holding the eighth-seeded Lancers (9-11) to just three goals with one in each of the first three quarters. Wakefield shut out Malden Catholic in the final quarter.
“Austin had six goals to lead us, but I like the way our defense played giving up just three goals,” said Lavelle. “They played great. I was happy with the way we played.”
Senior Ty Collins played well on defense and the Lancer forwards didn’t even want to challenge him said Lavalle. Also playing well was junior Ryan Fitzpatrick who has been solid in the backfield all season long.
Goalie Ryan Chambers, a junior, wasn’t tested too often. But he when he was, he made some fine saves.
Wakefield left little doubt as to which team was the better club on Saturday as it tallied the first four goals at 9:31, 8:54, 7:59, and 6:14. Miller scored the first goal and then Collard found the back of the net the next two times. The second goal was particularly impressive as he fired the shot by MC goalie Eric Almquist, a junior captain who is from Wakefield, while falling down. Anthony Forziati, a sophomore, scored the first of his two goals on the day as well.
The Lancers got on the scoreboard with 2:43 left in the first quarter. Junior midfielder Connor Bond, who is from Wakefield, finished off a pass by senior captain Cameron Arrigo, from Burlington.
Wakefield then tallied the first four goals of the second quarter at 10:30, 9:07, 8:20, and 7:28. Miller, Iannuzzi, Leary, and Collard netted the four goals. Langlois assisted on two those scores and Miller on one.
Malden Catholic scored its second goal of the game with 6:18 left in the second quarter. Junior attackman Dan O’Brien, of Medford, beat Chambers with a shot. Melrose’s William Kezerian, a junior captain, assisted on the goal.
The Warriors added one more goal before halftime at 1:15. Langlois took a Collard pass and fired it by Almquist as Wakefield led 9-2 at the break.
Collard and Leary found the back of the net at 11:23 and 10:34 of the third quarter with Iannuzzi and Forziati assisting on the two goals.
The Lancers got their third and final goal with 4:24 left. Bond scored his second goal of the game with senior captain Samuel Palmisano of Boxford earning the assist.
Collard then tallied two more goals at 3:37 and 3:17 with Forziati and Miller assisting on the play. Leary notched the final goal of the third quarter with 4.5 ticks left on the clock to give Wakefield a commanding 14-3 lead after three.
Wakefield scored five more goals in the fourth quarter with running time being used with the score being over 10 goals. Miller tallied two more goals with Iannuzzi and Forziating earning the assists. Forziati scored his second goal of the game. Then Leary finished off a Forziati pass. The last goal was scored by Miller in the closing seconds for the 19-3 final score.
“The big thing is that our offense and defense played really well. It’s also nice to have Chambers back there in goal when we do get beat in transition,” said Lavalle. “It was nice to come away with the win.”
Malden Catholic also had two more players from Wakefield on the roster in Saturday’s game. They were junior midfielder Mark Delory and freshman defender Joe Rivers.