Thursday, May 18, 2017

Wakefield Pulls Away from Beverly to Remain Unbeaten

By Michael Abelson (@ABELS0N)

WAKEFIELD - To become the best, you must knock the champ off the mountaintop, and the Wakefield boys lacrosse team keeps knocking off the best teams in the North.

The Warriors gave up the first two goals of the game to perennial power Beverly before thumping the Panthers 18-8 at Landrigan Field to improve to 17-0 on the season.

“One of the big things we always talk about is we’re really big on mental toughness,” Wakefield coach Andrew Lavalle said. “We know what it’s like to be down. We know what it’s like to be in a battle. One thing we say constantly is there’s no shortcuts to mental toughness. We’re always prepared for a battle, and we like a battle.”

No one battled, and succeeded, more than Austin Collard. The senior middie went off for seven goals, including five in the second half, to power the Warrior offense.

Collard was aided by a four-goal performance from Patrick Leary, plus two goals each from Ryan Fitzpatrick and Braedan Langlois. Henry Miller had a goal and an assist.

“On offense, we just kept rolling,” Collard said. “When they run a couple of locks on me or P.J. [Iannuzzi], it’s nice for guys like Henry and Fitzpatrick step up and make plays for us.”

Kyle Chouinard scored the first three goals for Beverly to open up a 3-1 lead late in the first quarter, but the Warriors tied the game before the end of the period. Collard’s second goal, just 27 seconds into the second quarter, put the Warriors ahead for good.

Wakefield expanded the lead to 9-4 at halftime and 14-8 after three quarters.

“On offense we just kept rolling,” Collard said. “We had a few unsettled goals that we like to capitalize on. That’s big for us and getting our opportunities and taking advantage of our shots.”

The win moves Wakefield to 17-0 on the season, which matches the Warriors' 17 total wins from last season with two games to go. The Warriors have rolled through Middlesex League competition and beaten some of the state’s best in non-conference play.

Since the state realigned sections in 2014, the Warriors have lost in the semifinals to Winchester, Beverly, and Marblehead, which are the only three teams to play for the Division 2 North sectional title in that span.

This season Wakefield has beaten all three by a combined score of 54-19.

“I think the big thing is we come to work every day,” Lavalle said. “We have a target on our back, and we like that. We’re ready for every game. We’re prepared for a battle.”

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