Boys’ lacrosse team suffers 13-6 setback in Div. 2 North semifinals

STEPHEN MARINO, a junior (#77), is pursued by Marblehead's P.J. Roy (#9) during last night's Div. 2 North semifinal game. Marino had a fine defensive game for the Warriors despite Wakefield's season coming to an end with a 13-6 loss at Landrigan Field. (Donna Larsson Photo)

STEPHEN MARINO, a junior (#77), is pursued by Marblehead’s P.J. Roy (#9) during last night’s Div. 2 North semifinal game. Marino had a fine defensive game for the Warriors despite Wakefield’s season coming to an end with a 13-6 loss at Landrigan Field. (Donna Larsson Photo)


WAKEFIELD — Landrigan Field was the site for the Div. 2 North semifinal boys’ lacrosse matchup between Wakefield Memorial High School and Marblehead High School.

The Warriors came in as the number two seed in the tournament having knocked out Shawsheen Tech in the round prior. Marblehead entered the semifinals as the number three seed, knocking off Burlington to earn the right to play Wakefield.

In the end it was the visiting Magicians that prevailed by a 13-6 score to advance to Friday’s Div. 2 North final at top-ranked Beverly at 5 p.m. Beverly edged Malden Catholic by a 9-8 score in the other semifinal last night to ensure that the North final would be an all-Northeastern Conference match-up.

Wakefield (15-5) was playing without senior center James McAuliffe, who sprained his ankle in the Shawsheen game, and was out due to the injury. McAuliffe’s absence was felt tremendously as Marblehead dominated the face-off X, 11-4. That type of ball control correlated to goals being put on the scoreboard as Marblehead came out on top when the final buzzer went off.

“We were in it the whole time” said Warrior first year head coach Andrew Lavalle after the game. “They’re just a strong transition team. We just didn’t have enough in the tank to go against them.”

Wakefield came out firing, shooting for the opening goal of the game. The problem for the Warriors early, as well as throughout the game, was that though they created a high volume of shots, many were either no threat to the goalie or easily stopped by him.

The Warriors ripped off four shots in the first two minutes but only forced Marblehead goalie Nate Maselek into one save.

All the attempts to score eventually paid dividends as Wakefield wheeled possession around the Marblehead zone. Just less than four minutes had gone by before Brandon Grinnell fed Austin Collard who put one by the goalie, making it 1-0 Wakefield.

Wakefield had to go on defense when play resumed as Marblehead took control of possession. It was a lengthy spell that bore fruit at the end for the Magicians, with standout Brooks Tyrrell getting the equalizing goal by Alex Flynn to make it 1-1. Tyrrell was a thorn in the Warriors’ side all evening, as he managed to account for two goals and three assists.

Marblehead controlled the ensuing face-off and Wakefield was on the defensive once again. The Warriors were put on their heels when Ryan Fitzpatrick took a 30 second push penalty, giving the visitors a man advantage.

Marblehead took advantage of their man up opportunity and put Wakefield down 2-1, a deficit the Warriors never reversed. This time Tyrrell fed Andy Clough for the goal and the frustration mounted on the Warrior sideline.

After the second goal, Vin Ferretti took an offside penalty but the Warriors were able to kill off the man down situation. Back to even strength playing after the penalty, the Warriors found themselves on the defensive end of the field once again.

Marblehead was able to control possession on Wakefield unlike any team it had faced previously. Every time they got the ball to Tyrrell, everyone could feel a play about to be made. A huge amount of credit must be given to Wakefield defender Steve Marino, who matched up one-on-one with Tyrrell the entire game.

Marino was physical and aggressive on Marblehead’s number one player and his modest numbers are reflective of Marino’s intense defending. In the first quarter, Marblehead’s star had a goal and two assists, the remainder of the game he managed just one goal and one assist.

Unfortunately for the Warriors, the Magicians had more tricks up their sleeve than just one player.

“They have guys that can go,” Lavalle said. “They have a good face-off guy, good guys in the midfield, good guys in attack. Really it was just a tough match-up for us.

With two minutes remaining in the first, Tyrrell found Max Orrock who beat Flynn making it 3-1 after one quarter.

The second quarter was a battle for possession and if scored individually this quarter would have gone to the Warriors. Wakefield held Marblehead off the scoreboard in the second quarter. However the frustration continued to mount as Maselek made save after save in net for the Magicians.

“As far as our offense is concerned, we were patient, we took the good shots,” Lavalle said. “They just have a great goalie.”

Scoring on Maselek is going to be hard for any competition in the future, as the mountain of a goalie filled up nearly the entire net.

Wakefield was handed a second quarter boost when Marblehead had two players take slashing penalties just 18 seconds apart.

The Warriors capitalized of the two-man advantage situation as Grinnell found MJ Urbano who scored to make it 3-2.

That was the score at halftime, with the game very much in the balance. Wakefield was looking for another strong second half performance. Unfortunately that wasn’t in the cards, as the Magicians grabbed control in the third quarter.

“They’re a scrappy team,” Lavalle said afterward. “Every ground ball goes to them because they work so hard for it.”

Marblehead put the heat on Wakefield in the third quarter, scoring three goals in one minute to bring the score to 6-2.

Wakefield came back with a pair of goals from Pat Leary and a second from Collard but Marblehead cancelled both goals out before the end of the quarter by netting two more tallies.

Heading into the final quarter of play, Marblehead held an 8-4 lead over the Warriors.

With one quarter to play, Wakefield needed an inspired offensive performance in the fourth, unfortunately for the Warriors, selling out on offense left them vulnerable on defense. The Magicians outscored Wakefield 5-2 in the fourth quarter to complete the 13-6 victory.

There is nothing for the Warriors to hang their heads about following elimination from the tournament. The fact remains that with a 15-5 record, this year’s team is one of the best Wakefield Memorial High School lacrosse teams in school history, a fact not lost on Coach Lavalle.

“We talk about character all the time,” he said. “These guys have great character on this team. We have a lot of good guys on this team. There are a lot of hurt feelings unfortunately because these guys play so hard.

“It’s unfortunate for these seniors it was their last game,” Lavalle added. “But for the rest of us we look forward to getting back to work next year.”