Saturday, June 10, 2017

Medfield Rallies Back to Stun Walpole in Division 2 Central/East Final

By Ethan Winter (@EWints)

ASHLAND, Mass. – It’s about how you start – and finish.

After getting off to a hot start in the first quarter, the Medfield Warriors battled back from a five goal deficit to upend top seeded Walpole Warriors 13-12 in overtime to face Longmeadow in the Division 2 State Semi-final.

Medfield (15-6) senior, Jack Cahill completed the comeback and the upset with the game winner coming with 2:49 left in overtime.

“I just got the ball and went to the cage, that’s all I got,” said Cahill on his overtime game winner.

Cahill, who led Medfield with five goals, wouldn’t have had the opportunity for his own overtime heroics had it not been for the heroics of sophomore teammate Michael Hauptman, who scored twice in the final 15 seconds of regulation to force the extra period.

“We practice end of plays like that, we spent about 10-15 minutes at the end of practice yesterday working on precisely that because I knew it was going to come down to a one possession game,” said Medfield head coach John Isaf. “We worked on an infield play and an end line play yesterday and fortunately we had enough time to execute.”

Isaf gave all of the credit for the last play that resulted in the game tying goal to his team’s preparation and his players.

“Just to let you know, I didn’t draw anything up at the end there,” admitted Isaf. “If you have coaches drawing up a play at the end of the game for 17 year-old kids, the likelihood of it working coming out of the timeout is not good, at least in my experience.”

“We had a look that we went too and we changed some offensive sets that we went after and we liked the matchup, we liked the speed at the top so we just talked about that and Mike Hauptman, who scored the tying goal, was undercutting his guy on that dodge and that’s precisely what he did,” explained Isaf on Hauptman’s game tying goal.

Hauptman finished with four goals on the night – all coming in the fourth quarter.

Medfield got off to a hot start in the first quarter, scoring the first three goals of the game. The Warriors held Walpole without a shot on goal for the first nine minutes of the game. However Walpole came storming back, scoring two goals in the final minute of the first quarter, and ended up going on an 8-0 run from the final minute of the first quarter to the first minute of the third quarter building an 8-3 lead.

“It’s important you know, to get off to a good start, but our nemesis all season for whatever reason has been the second quarter and I thought we had fixed that towards the end of the year but I guess that is still something that we are going to have to work on,” said Isaf.
Walpole (19-2) shutout Medfield in the second quarter, outscoring the Warriors 5-0 to head into halftime with a 7-3 lead.

The Rebels opened the second half with a goal from junior Darragh Fahey to extend the Walpole lead to 8-3 with 11:11 left in the third quarter. That is when Medfield began their comeback as Owen Murphy would score the next two Warrior goals to cut the deficit to three.

“A three or four goal lead is not enough in lacrosse, you can make your way back as long as you make one play at a time,” said Isaf, and Medfield showed a perfect example of that tonight – on both ends.

Even as Medfield continued to eat away at Walpole’s lead in the second half, Rebels head coach John Andalo, didn’t feel like his team panicked or lost their composure.

“Not really, I just think they [Medfield] made plays,” said Andalo on whether he thought his team lost composure or focus in the fourth quarter. “You got two teams, basically going toe to toe with each other of two and a half quarters, so I don’t think we lost composure.”

As a result, Medfield will face Central/West Champion, Longmeadow in the Divison 2 State Semifinals on Tuesday at Concord-Carlisle High School. Time is yet to be determined.

“Every team faces adversity, it’s the playoffs and you just have to overcome it. Put the ball in the net, stops on D, it takes a full team effort,” concluded Cahill.  

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