Saturday, June 10, 2017

Longmeadow Wins Division 2 Central/West Once Again

By Ryan Bowman (@_ryanbowman_)

EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. - Stop me if you have heard this one before; the Longmeadow Lancers are the D2 Central/West Champions. 

To complete their third title in a row, the Lancers ended the unexpected run from the Westfield Bombers and won 16-6. 

The Bombers had upset Minnechaug 5-4 in the quarterfinals, and shocked the Saint John’s Pioneers with an 8-7 victory in the semifinals, but were unable to complete the upset against the Lancers.

Clay Moseman (2G, 1A) opened the scoring for the Lancers early in the first quarter, and Kristopher Campbell (2G, 4A) tacked on two more goals to give Longmeadow a quick 3-0 lead. London Reyes (1G, 1A) responded for the Bombers to bring the game back within two. The Lancers added another before the end of the first quarter with a Noah Skole (3G, 1A) goal and they went into the first break with a 4-1 lead.

The second quarter was a back and forth affair, with teams trading goals for fifteen minutes. Goals from Spencer Robbins (4G, 3A) and Clay Moseman added to the Lancers total, but goals from Max Maggipinto and Khol Lunardini kept the Bombers within a few. Westfield will definitely look back at the last few minutes of the half as a time where they could, and should have made up ground. 

They were on the man up twice in the last five minutes of the half and were unable to convert and fell victim to the stingy Lancers defense.

The game really opened up in the third quarter after Westfield scored the first two goals of the half to bring the game within two. After a timeout, the Lancers regained composure and rattled off five straight goals. Spencer Robbins really displayed his talent, scoring an insane goal where he powered through three defenders and displayed his individual strength and athleticism. 

The momentum swing was huge and palpable in the Longmeadow players; they showed more hustle on both sides of the field, won ground balls, and had a type of swagger that eluded confidence. Two goals from Jack Barron (3G, 1A) ended the third quarter and the Lancers had a 12-5 lead.

From then on, it was simply a formality for Longmeadow to see the rest of the game out. Westfield is a very good team and they showed that they had the resilience to get back into the game, but they simply could not capitalize on the man up opportunity. 

They had eight man up opportunities, and failed to score on any of those possessions. 

“There’s not a lot of colleges that run seven different defenses,” Longmeadow Coach Keith Campbell said after the game. “They changed how they were dodging around the crease and we were able to adjust and stacked the crease and made it confusing for them.”

Seven players were on the scoring sheet for Longmeadow, exemplifying the depth of this roster. 

“We had a strong showing from every today, especially the midfield,” Spencer Robbins commented. “If a team shuts me down, I have faith that my teammates can step up and do what is needed.” Coach echoed this theme of depth, saying, “At this time of the year, you need to have a lot of threats and we have had a lot of success with our attack. Our midfielders, and especially our juniors, stepped up today and got the job done.”

While Westfield’s season came to an end, it is certainly one they should be proud of. After beating Minnechaug, they followed with an upset of one of the best teams in CMASS in Saint John’s. 

“[Westfield] has a great defense, Mitch Weiss is one of the best defenders around,” Campbell said. “We had to make adjustments throughout the game before we broke through.” 

Robbins had trust in their game plan, adding, “Our coaches had confidence in us and our playbook, and we knew if we kept doing what we did all season it would work out.”

Looking forward, the Lancers will face off against the winner of Walpole and Medfield on the June 13 in the state semifinals at Concord-Carlisle High.  

Coach Campbell mentioned that they were some improvements that needed to be made moving forward. “The 50-50 groundballs, you can always improve on those and that’s where we got outhustled today.” 

The Lancers actually won groundballs 28-19, but don’t tell Coach.

“This is our side of the state! Let them know!” Longmeadow Senior Michael Pierre Pierre yelled during a timeout to his teammates early in the third quarter. Yes it is Michael, yes it is.


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