Monday, May 22, 2017

Dover-Sherborn Handles Hopkinton to Clinch Share of TVL Title

By Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7)

HOPKINTON, Mass. – The Tri-Valley League has seen unprecedented parity this season, but on Monday afternoon, the top two dogs in the conference reasserted their status.

Dover-Sherborn controlled host Hopkinton from start to finish in an 18-8 victory, while Medfield dominated Westwood, 18-7, later that night. The two teams will share the TVL title for the fourth time over the last six seasons and both are serious contenders to respectively repeat as Division 2 and Division 3 state champions. 

“Everyone knew we were playing for a share of the TVL,” said Raiders star attack Bailey Laidman. “It’s been a pretty crazy year. Everyone is playing really well and it was a lot closer than everyone expected, but being a senior you love to see your league getting better every year.”

Hopkinton (13-4) fell behind early, but made it 6-4 midway through the second quarter on a goal from Jeremy Hazzard. 

Yet that's when the Raiders (13-4) kicked into an extra gear, scoring five unanswered goals in a span of two and a half minutes.

First, the UNC-bound Laidman (3 goals, 3 assists) found Jack Dillon (4 goals) for a score before netting one himself. Then Georgetown commit Jack Mahoney (4 goals) scored consecutive unassisted goals and the Hillers bad luck continued as Matt Paolotto was disposed in the slot, but the ball flew over the head of goalie Ryan Bannon (10 saves) to make it 11-4 Raiders.

Mahoney, Laidman and Dillon all produced hat tricks before halftime, but it was the play of Raiders faceoff man Joe Paolatto that allowed D-S to run away.

The senior combined with his younger brother, Matt, and Joe Walsh to win 24 of 28 draws at the faceoff X on the afternoon, as the Hillers could not compete for possession with their top two FOGOs inactive.

“Lacrosse is a game of possession and the final score tells you that exactly. Joe Palotto played amazing today and I’m glad he’s on my team,” said Laidman.

Senior midfielder Will Abbott (3 goals) would lead a Hillers push early during the second half, but D-S closed the third quarter with a three-goal run and put it beyond all doubt by opening a 17-6 lead two minutes into the fourth.

“We came to play today against a well-coached Hopkinton team,” said D-S coach Brian McLaughlin.

For the Raiders, getting both Laidman (who missed several games with a concussion) and Mahoney (who missed the first three weeks of the season with a medical condition) out on the field together has been huge.

When opposing defenses try to key in on one star, the other attackmen are able to step up and take advantage. In this contest, Hopkinton looked to take Laidman out of the game by face-guarding him, but that only opened things up more for the other Raiders.

“A lot of teams have been locking off Bailey and I don’t blame them because he’s a huge threat,” said Mahoney. “But we need other guys to step up and a lot of guys have, which is what we’re going to need heading into the playoffs.”

Along with Laidman, Mahoney and Dillon, Timmy Polk also scored three goals for D-S in a balanced attack that should frighten all potential competitors ahead of the postseason.

“It’s great to get [Laidman and Mahoney] out on the field together,” McLaughlin added. “The team has really improved all year and guys are stepping up around them.”

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