Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Central Mass Playoff Preview: Shrewsbury vs Medfield in D2 Semis

Shrewsbury middie/attack Derric Dell'Olio
 By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Shrewsbury lacrosse is in the midst of one of the state's most improbable runs, having just captured the Division 2 Central/West district title, the Colonials sit only two wins away from a state championship.

Standing in their way is yet another Commonwealth power and Division 2 favorite, Central/East champion Medfield. Here's what to watch for in tonight's state semifinal in Worcester.

Shrewsbury vs Medfield: 7:30 pm at Foley Stadium

The Warriors come into the game as prohibitive favorites, but it's not like Shrewsbury hasn't been the underdog in its last two games. The Warriors are an impressive 21-2, and were the only team to knock off reigning D2 state champion Longmeadow in the regular season.

That 10-9 squeaker avenged a three-goal loss to the Lancers in last year's title game, also played at Foley, and showed that Medfield was ready to not only play for, but win a championship in 2014.

The Warriors blasted state power Concord-Carlisle 12-4 in the D2 CE district final, and have scored over 10 goals in 9 of their 12 games since dropping a surprising decision to Catholic Memorial in late April.

That offensive surge comes courtesy of the recent stellar play of All-American middies Matt Crowell and John MacLean, but the Warriors, like Shrewsbury, have truly won with defense this season.

Medfield leads Eastern Mass Division 2, allowing just 5.35 goals per game, and All-American goalie Robert Treiber has been a wall in recent weeks, holding playoff opponents to just five scores a game.

The Colonials will look to crack the Medfield code with a heavy dosage of senior Derric Dell'Olio, both at his normal midfield spot and on attack.

While the scoring load has fallen on attackman Joe Buduo and middie Derick Tinsley in recent weeks, Dell'Olio is still a stabilizing force and outstanding passer that can make all the difference against an elite defense.

Player to Watch: Chris Gorman, G, Shrewsbury

As Gorman and the defense goes, so go the Colonials. Saturday Shrewsbury held Westfield off the board for over 17 minutes of game time, allowing Buduo and the attack to tie and, eventually, win the game in double overtime.

The Colonials will need another great effort from their All-American goalie, who has some of the quickest reflexes in the entire state. If Gorman can rob a few would-be Warrior goals and get the break going the other way, Shrewsbury has a chance to pull off yet another upset. He won't be able to do it himself. He'll need a ton of help from poles Griffin, Sean Travers, and Tim Hally, but keeping Medfield off the board for long stretches of time will allow the Shrewsbury attack and midfield time to figure out the Warriors' stingy defense.


Anonymous said...

Shrewsbury's close defense is griffin, tim hally, and sean travers not chandler

Joe Parello said...

Right you are, complete brain fart on my part. Don't know how I forgot about Travers. Getting that corrected now.

Anonymous said...

Crowell is a midfielder, not an attackman.

Joe Parello said...

Wow, sorry again. That's two cases of me reading one line off on a roster. Must be the end of the school year... Either way, congrats to Shrewsbury on a great year, and to Medfield for making the D2 state final. The Warriors looked phenomenal Tuesday night.