|Left: Tantasqua junior midfielder Tom Muir (photo by John Pedace). Right: Hopedale junior goalie Dan Hollis (photo by Joe Parello).|
Ed. Note- This story is a collection of observations and stats provided by parents and coaches from both Tantasqua and Hopedale.
Thanks to some early season rain-outs, teams across the region are packing as many games into May as they possibly can. Tantasqua and Hopedale lacrosse were no different, as the Mid-Mass. foes had to face each other twice in a span of three days, leading to one absolute classic, and another game where the young Blue Raiders ran out of gas.
In the end, Tantasqua won at Hopedale 12-11 on Tuesday, then won on their home field against the Blue Raiders 9-5 on Thursday.
Here are a few notes from both of the Tantasqua (10-4, 7-3 Mid-Mass.) vs Hopedale (11-3, 4-3 Mid-Mass.) games this week.
Tuesday: 12-11 Tantasqua
The first meeting between these two programs was nothing short of a classic. It was a massive day offensively for Tantasqua's senior attack trio, as Ben Beaudry scored five goals, none more important than the eventual game-winner with less than three minutes to play. Not to be out-done, though, classmate Mike Frio registered a hat trick, and dished out six assists, while fellow senior attack Anthony Law tallied a hat trick of his own.
But don't look past the contributions of junior midfielder Tom Muir, who scored a goal and dished out two assists, but also won 11 of 18 face-offs on the day and collected 14 groundballs. In fact, it was Muir's face-off win and subsequent possession after Beaudry's go-ahead goal that iced the game for the Warriors.
On the other side, Hopedale may have played one of its most complete games in program history. Senior middie J.D. Waswill led the way with three goals and three assists, while senior attack John Rainville added a hat trick and an assist. Just a freshman, Blake Moxim chipped in two goals and a pair of assists, while juniors Nick Fayad scored a pair, and Brian Cerow finished with two points (1G, 1A).
But the star of the game for Hopedale was junior goalie Dan Hollis, who turned aside 22 shots to keep the Blue Raiders, still playing without star pole Isaac Moore, in the game against explosive Tantasqua.
"Let me say the Hopedale goalie is the best we have seen this year, no disrespect to anyone else," one Tantasqua parent told me. "Very athletic, and definitely kept a very tough and good Hopedale team in this the whole way."
Tantasqua goalie Mikey Lucas was no slouch between the pipes himself, making 11 saves against a still underrated Hopedale offense.
Thursday: 9-5 Tantasqua
Thursday's game wouldn't be quite as close, but was still a solid lacrosse game in its own right. Tom Muir and Cody Roberts led the Warriors with two goals each, while Mike Frio paced Tantasqua with three assists (and a goal). But, it was all about defense for Tantasqua, as goalie Mike Lucas again turned aside 11 shots, and helped clear the ball safely out of the Tantasqua zone all afternoon.
Hopedale, meanwhile, got a solid defensive effort, but just didn't have much gas left offensively. Still, both J.D. Waswill and Jake Wollensak made their presence known with a pair of goals each for the Blue Raiders.
It was a huge pair of wins for Tantasqua, who is now tournament eligible, joining Hopedale, Grafton and Nipmuc as Mid-Mass. clubs all headed to the postseason. But, even in defeat, it was a big two games for Hopedale as well. The Blue Raiders showed they could take a program like Tantasqua to the wire and, even dealing with some injuries and a lack of depth throughout the young program, could still turn in another solid performance less than 48 hours later.
Both teams are clearly headed in the right direction, and it will be interesting to see what they do come tournament time.