Friday, June 9, 2017

Ipswich Pulls Away From Hamilton-Wenham in D3 North Final

Kilian Morrissey scored two goals and added two assists despite facing an aggressive defensive game plan

By Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7)

PEABODY, Mass. – The Ipswich Tigers are heading to the boys’ lacrosse state semifinals for a third consecutive year after outlasting conference rival Hamilton-Wenham in the Division 3 North final at Peabody High on Friday night. 

On April 27, Ipswich dealt Hamilton-Wenham a slice of humble pie in the form of an 18-2 loss to snap an undefeated start, so the top-ranked Generals were fired up for a rematch. And while the Generals avenged that loss with a quality effort, the Tigers prevailed, 11-7, in front of a raucous crowd of local supporters.

With the win, Ipswich (18-2) advances to face D3 South champion Hanover (16-4) in the state semifinals next week.

“We feel comfortable here,” Tigers senior captain Kilian Morrissey said about playing in the D3 North final. “But we have two other [sectional championship] trophies. We’ve been here before, and now we want to go one step further and deliver a state title to Ipswich.”

Hamilton-Wenham (17-2) took a 4-3 lead late in the first half on a score from senior captain Joe Lattanzi (4 goals), but the Tigers (18-2) responded with three goals over the final 47 seconds of the second quarter to snare the momentum heading into the second half. 

The Generals rallied to tie the game, 6-6, early in the third quarter on a couple of impressive goals from Lattanzi and Hamilton-Wenham’s all-time leading scorer, junior Andrew Riccio (2 goals, assist), but Ipswich responded with another strong finish, scoring four goals to close the third up 10-6.

Along with Morrissey (2 goals, 2 assists), fellow seniors Duke Kriksceonaitis (2 goals), Charlie Gillis (2 goals, assist) and Tommy Ginolfi (goal, 2 assists) all provided standout play for an experienced Tigers team.

“You’ve got seniors with experience that can play with each other and it adds up,” said Foster. “At this time of year, you are what you are and it’s always interesting when you face a team like [Hamilton-Wenham] twice, because you know each other’s tendencies.”

While the Generals tried to wall off Morrissey with a long pole and junior goalie Mayo Amorello (17 saves) was outstanding, the Tigers simply had too many weapons to be contained down the stretch. 

On the other side of the field, poles Jack Sotiropoulos, Alex Bruhm and senior captain Tyler Starr made some great defensive plays in front of goalie Aidan McAdams (10 saves) to preserve the Tigers 10-7 lead before Pat Gillis added one more insurance goal late.

“This is a testament to this senior class,” Foster added. “I’ve seen a lot of classes come through in different sports and this group here came in as freshmen and jumped right in and to win [the sectional title] three times is a feather in their cap and something they’ll remember.”

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