Tuesday, April 25, 2017

No. 12 Needham Hands No. 4 Walpole First Loss

Needham stood toe-to-toe with undefeated Walpole and came out on top
By Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7)

WALPOLE, Mass. - On a rain-soaked afternoon, the little things can often make the biggest difference in a heated high school lacrosse game. 

Undefeated Walpole and upstart Needham battled for two and a half quarters, trading the lead five times with four ties, but a couple of unsung heroes turned the tide to carry the Rockets in a 9-6 victory over their hosts.

Austin Shaver made 16 saves for the Rockets (6-2) while Joe Bruno controlled the Faceoff X to provide extra possessions and attack Danny McEvoy lead the scoring charge with three of his four goals in the second half, as Needham outscored Walpole, 5-1, in the third quarter to take control. 

“Austin [Shaver] really stood on his head and made some unbelievable saves at key points in time and Joe Bruno at the Faceoff X was really key in giving us extra opportunities to score,” confirmed Needham head coach David Wainwright. “So I think that those were the two biggest factors in us coming away with the win.”

Walpole (7-1) took a 4-3 lead into halftime on an incredible sidewinding shot from Jake Hurley (2 goals, 2 assists), but the Rebels offense came grinding to a halt in the second half while they struggled to possess the ball.

Needham’s standout long pole Sam Eisenstadt, who is committed to play at UMass next year, helped that defensive effort and initiated the offense with two key ground balls that led to goals for Jason Child (Goal, Assist) and McEvoy, giving the Rockets a 3-2 lead in the second quarter.

Eisenstadt even added a goal in the opening minute of the third quarter to round out his afternoon. 

“Sam Eisenstadt is a very talented young man and he knows how to carry the ball well, read situations and he’s just an educated player,” effused Wainwright.

While Child and Brendan Walsh (Goal, 2 assists) drew most of the attention, McEvoy was able to capitalize on his looks with a game-high four goals. 

“[The Rebels] prepare very well and they were ready for us,” said Wainwright. “We had to have guys step up based on their plans and Danny McEvoy was that guy for us.”

As a junior, McEvoy is one of the elder statesmen for a Rockets squad that plays a freshman and starts several sophomores. 

Yet so far this season, Needham’s young guns have stepped up to all challenges with narrow losses to Catholic Conference power BC High and Bishop Guertin (N.H.) while taking down Xaverian and now, handing Walpole its first loss. 

“I feel like we’re a very young team that’s growing in a lot of areas, but I feel really positive about the outcome from the beginning of the season to this point,” said Wainwright. “We definitely have more tests coming up and time will tell.”

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