By Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7)
WAKEFIELD, Mass. – The Warriors spotted conference rival Winchester a 2-0 lead to start their Middlesex League boys' lacrosse tilt on Tuesday afternoon, but then their offense came alive.
Wakefield was able to respond with five unanswered goals to take control of the game early and came up with another key run late to pull away for a 15-8 victory over the Sachems at Landrigan Field.
Once again, the Warriors (10-0) were led by senior attack Austin Collard, who netted nine goals in their previous over Marblehead, and led all scorers with six goals in this contest.
“[Collard] is really a tough matchup for [The Sachems],” said Wakefield head coach Andrew Lavalle. “Every time he got the ball I thought everybody kind of panicked for the most part and that allowed us to do some of the things we wanted to do offensively.”
With Collard leading the charge, the Warriors went on an 8-1 run to take an 8-3 lead into halftime, but the Sachems (7-4) were able to respond with a stout defensive effort in the third quarter.
The visitors scored three times to make it 8-6 heading into the fourth, but Collard responded again with three goals in that quarter to maintain Wakefield’s perfect record.
“Going scoreless in the third was tough, so we had to get one early and get the momentum on our side,” said Collard. “We looked a little deflated and any big play like that will help you out.”
Winchester managed to penetrate the cracks of Wakefield’s defense early on, but junior goalie Ryan Chambers (11 saves) made a couple of point-blank stops to cover up any mistakes.
Down the stretch, the Sachems made their run with Jack Rockhold, Jake Mabardy, Brennan Clarke and Jack Carpini all producing two goals, while Jack Keane wound up with four assists.
And the player of the game may have been Winchester’s freshman goalie Matt Suffradini (14 saves), who kept Winchester in the game with a number of spectacular saves.
Yet in addition to Collard, sophomore Anthony Forziati (3 goals), Pat Leary (3 goals) and Braden Langlois (2 goals, 2 assists) spearheaded a lethal offensive attack for a Wakefield team that is the only undefeated program in Divisions 1 or 2 throughout the state, with the meat of the schedule behind them.
Defeating Winchester all but ensures that Wakefield will earn the number one seed in the Division 2 North tournament barring a late-season collapse.
“Honestly, that would be huge, but we’re really not worried about being the number one seed,” said Wakefield coach Andrew Lavalle. “We’re confident going into the tournament no matter what, and we usually play the underdog role, but might be nice to be the top dog for once.”
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Jack Rockhold from Keane for the second time (Man-up on this one) to make it 2-0 Winchester early Q1 @GlobeSchools @HerewegoJoe pic.twitter.com/lK1DZ5VfAO— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) May 2, 2017
Henry Miller whips one in to make it 3-2 Wakefield 5 min left in Q1 @GlobeSchools @HerewegoJoe pic.twitter.com/0m34DSKizB— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) May 2, 2017
Collard blazes through the defense for his second and Wakefield is suddenly in control up 4-2 late Q1 @GlobeSchools @HerewegoJoe pic.twitter.com/cROkvQLldo— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) May 2, 2017
Great save from Sachems freshman Matt Suffradini, but turnover leads to an immediate goal from Forziati. 6-2 Wakefield early Q2 pic.twitter.com/wkbFCW0e9m— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) May 2, 2017
Hat trick for Collard, 7-3 Wakefield 2:20 left Q2 @GlobeSchools @HerewegoJoe pic.twitter.com/IGzbZPEWi4— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) May 2, 2017
Halftime: Wakefield 8, Winchester 3. Here's the 2nd for Forziati with :08 left in Q2. @GlobeSchools @HerewegoJoe pic.twitter.com/Yr1bDzgsDV— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) May 2, 2017
Mabardy with another wraparound goal and Winchester is making a push. Wakefield still up 8-5 mid Q3 @GlobeSchools @herewegojoe pic.twitter.com/gMtz7v07jz— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) May 2, 2017
Collard finally nets one for Wakefield in the second half. 9-6 Warriors 9:41 remaining @GlobeSchools @HerewegoJoe pic.twitter.com/6F87PXNUuf— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) May 2, 2017
Acrobatic finish from Collard (5 goals) to make it 11-7 Wakefield with 6:48 remaining @GlobeSchools @HerewegoJoe pic.twitter.com/aUJa8bSTFX— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) May 2, 2017