Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Walpole Comes Back to Down Newton North

By Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7)

NEWTON, Mass. - While they were down 8-4 at the half on the road against Newton North, the Walpole Rebels kept the faith.

In a battle between Bay State Conference front runners, they were able to draw on a lesson from earlier in the season and storm back for a 12-10 victory over the Tigers.

“In the game of lacrosse, four goals isn’t that much,” said Walpole head coach Jason Andalo. “At halftime when we were down, I explained to the guys that a month ago I was [at Newton North] watching Cohasset get down 12-1 at the half and they made a run, so why not us?”

Led by the dynamic senior duo of Owen Hunter (2 goals, assist) and Jake Hurley (4 goals), the Rebels scored two goals early in the third quarter to regain the momentum and finished the game on a 6-1 run to win going away and clinch a second straight Bay State Herget Division title. 

“We’ve been in similar situations this year and we know that it’s just about getting one back at a time,” said Hurley. “There are no two-point goals, so we just had to keep chipping away and just possess the ball, because that’s when good things happen.”

Newton North (13-2) was led once again by star senior Bryce Adam (4 goals, 2 assists), who scored a key goal to make it 10-8 Tigers after the Rebels (15-1) had cut the deficit to just one early in the fourth quarter.

Yet Walpole did not stop coming, as junior midfielder Ryan Birch (goal, 2 assists) scored to make it a 10-9 game and two minutes later, junior Cullen McGlynn (goal, assist) hit Hurley right in front of the cage for a quick finish to tie the contest.

Aside from Bryce Adam’s goal early in the fourth, the Tigers offense was virtually shut down in the second half as Walpole won the face-off battle and dominated possession. 

“We didn’t deserve to win the game,” said North head coach Bussy Adam. “Everyone was a little tentative at first. We’re both well coached teams and we were trying to figure out the strengths and weaknesses, but it comes down to the kids. Our kids made some critical mistakes at the end of the game and I think we beat ourselves a little bit too. You can’t give a good team the ball at the end of the game like that.”

Walpole scored a pair of key man-up goals to take control of the contest by using a similar approach that worked in the first half.

On the game-tying goal, Hurley cut in front of the net and received a long pass from McGlynn before beating North goalie Spencer Harris (10 saves) low to make it 10-10.

“[The Tigers] were kind of locking me off and we got some good looks out of it,” said Hurley. “We had a few guys dodge, beat their man and feed the open guy.”

Yet it was the play of senior goalie Jackson Kelley (9 saves) and the Walpole defense that might have won the day by shutting down the Tigers star duo. 

“Bussy’s two sons are excellent lacrosse players,” Andalo said about the play of Bryce and Adam’s younger son Hunter (2 goals). “They scored a couple of goals that you can’t do anything against really. They got a few of those early on, but luckily in the second half, they didn’t and we buckled down defensively while Jackson made a lot of great saves.” 

North will have little time to rest with Bay State Carey Division leader Needham on tap this Thursday and a trip to Franklin scheduled for Saturday, while Walpole is enjoying its in recent success. 

“For a couple years we were kind of pedestrian and just hoping to get back in the position to compete for the [Bay State Herget] league and we’re very fortunate that we are,” said Andalo. “[North] is a great team and we had to play really well in the second half I just wish we played better in the first.”

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