SENIOR CAPTAIN Kingsley Corona celebrated the boys’ lacrosse team’s Senior Night with his sister Martina (left) and mother Tina. (Kerrianne Allain Photo)

Published in the May 24, 2017 edition


LYNNFIELD — The boys’ lacrosse team’s senior night was against Cape Ann rival Manchester-Essex May 15, and senior captain Kingsley Corona and fellow seniors Ryan Freitas, Jimmy Whelan and Dave Mineo were all honored by their coaches, teammates and families.

Lynnfield (4-12) came out and played with great determination early on, as the Pioneers had revenge on their minds after the Hornets knocked them out of the playoffs last season.

The Pioneers and Hornets battled back and forth throughout the first quarter, with Corona coming up with three saves while the Manchester-Essex goalie was equal to the task with five saves.

Captain Peter Look, junior Jack Razzaboni and Freitas started at middies, with sophomore Antonio DeLuca, sophomore Gianluca Alfe and junior Zach Huyunh starting at attack. The Pioneers’ attack was consistent in the first quarter, as they controlled the offensive possession for eight of the 12 minutes. However, they just couldn’t find the back of the net.

Early in the second quarter, Jack Razzaboni took a nice pass from Look and drilled a rocket of a shot past the stunned Hornet keeper, to put the Pioneers up 1-0.

The Hornets tied the game after winning the ensuing face off and scoring a fast break goal. Freshman Peter Razzaboni was able to win the next face-off, and the Lynnfield offense began to get back on track. The Pioneers possessed the ball in the offensive zone, but they just couldn’t get a shot past the Hornet goalie.

Once again, the Hornets were able to get behind the Pioneer defense on a missed pass and scored their second goal of the game on a fast break. The Hornets were able to score another goal with just under two minutes remaining in the half, making the score 3-1.

Lynnfield head coach Joe Papagni and his assistant Pat Lamusta said they were confident in what was to come in the second half.

“Our seniors were playing with pride and our younger players all jumped on their shoulders ready to compete,” said Papagni.

Sophomore Antonio DeLuca, who earned his first start with a great work ethic, scored his first career goal with a feed from Look to make it 3-2.

“Antonio weighs 130 pounds soaking wet, and yet he hung in the crease took a feed from Look and muscled a shot home,” said Papagni. “I really appreciate it when young athletes are given a chance and they produce for their team.”

The Pioneers’ momentum seemed to end shortly after that goal as the Hornets’ offense started to exert themselves. The Hornets were able to take advantage of the younger Pioneers and scored two quick goals to pull ahead 5-3. Then, just before the half ended with the Pioneers on a man-up situation, the Hornets intercepted an errant Pioneer pass and score their sixth goal. The third quarter ended 6-3 Hornets.

In the fourth quarter, the Pioneers didn’t let up as Jack Razzaboni took a feed from Look after Look picked up Peter Razzaboni’s face off attempt and got the Pioneers within two goals, 6-4.

With the Hornets looking to pull away from the Pioneers, they were able to force two Lynnfield penalties. Unfortunately for the Pioneers, the penalties led to two Hornet power play goals and an 8-4 lead.

As time was winding down, the Pioneers were forced to take defensive chances with 10 men rides and a man-to-man press defense, and unfortunately that led to three more Hornet goals and an 11-4 loss.

“Those last goals are on me,” said Papagni. “We desperately wanted to give our seniors a nice Senior Night so I chose to take some chances, so the score was closer and our efforts were top rate. Senior Night is a night to honor the four years the seniors and their families have been a part of your program and you really want to make it special. The good news is we have so many younger players getting quality time against first rate Cape Ann teams, so they can’t help but learn from these competitive situations.”

Stung by North Reading

On May 18, the Pioneers traveled to North Reading for the Hornets senior night. North Reading defeated Lynnfield 17-7.

“We got off the bus with the expectation of battling our league rival to the bitter end with the hope of beating them on their senior night,” said Papagni. “I think we just out-hyped ourselves.”

The Hornets came out flying and the Pioneers just seemed to be totally out of synch. The first quarter ended 8-1, with Jack Razzaboni taking a feed from Look for the only bright spot for the Pioneers.

Look and Ryan Freitas scored in the second quarter, with Jack Razzaboni getting both assists. The Hornets managed three additional goals to make it 11-3 at halftime.

Freitas, Look, Gianluca Alfe and Jack Razzzaboni finished the Pioneer scoring, but the 17-7 final score was disappointing for the Pioneers.

“Prior to this year, we had beaten the Hornets the past five times. I guess our time was up,” added Papagni.

In spite of the score, Kingsley Corona managed 23 saves, indicating the dominance of the Hornets.

“We will learn from this just as we have been learning from every game,” said Papagni. “The positives are our younger players are not only getting a few life lessons, but are learning what it takes to compete at this level.”

Loss to Tyngsborough

The Pioneers concluded last week falling 13-4 to the Tyngsborough Tigers on May 20.

Before the game, Papagni was thankful his team just helped out at the Lynnfield Geraniumfest. Some of his players had the junior prom Friday night, and then came to the Geraniumfest to give something back to Lynnfield.

“Just good kids doing what they should be doing,” said Papagni.

Giving the long day many of the Pioneers had already experienced, they came out a bit sluggish.

“They had a Division 1 scholarship player we really wanted to concentrate on,” said Papagni. “We put our best long pole, Jimmy Whelan, on him and tried to take him out of the game. Jimmy did a great job on him, but those kind of kids figure out a way to slip away from time to time and that’s what he did.”

The Tigers’ offense showed good ball movement and was able to put a lot of pressure on the Pioneers throughout the first quarter jumping out to a 3-0 lead. The Pioneers fought back with Jack Razzaboni hitting Freitas on a quick pass as Freitas beat the Tiger goalie cleanly.

After the Tigers made it 4-1, Freitas returned the favor to Jack Razzaboni, who beat the goalie with a nice low shot to make it 4-2 Tigers. That’s as close as the Pioneers would get as the Tigers scored two more second quarter goals to take a 6-2 lead at halftime.

The Tigers’ second half scoring continued, and Razzaboni and Freitas each scored for the Pioneers. Corona had 12 saves for the Lynnfield and Look and Anthony Murphy had assists.

The bright spots for the Pioneers included Whelan, Freitas, Peter Look and Corona, as they all played hard to the end.

While it was certainly another tough week, Papagni knows that better times are ahead.

“Once again, our young guys keep getting quality playing time against teams that are all tournament bound,” said Papagni. “I am sure this will pay off down the road.”