Thursday, June 1, 2017

Second Half Surge Pushes Scituate Lax Past Sandwich

By Tom Joyce (@TomJoyceSports)

SCITUATE - It was a second half breakaway for the Scituate High boys’ lacrosse team in Thursday's MIAA Division 2 South Quarterfinal.

At home, the No. 4 Sailors (13-8) entered the second half up two goals, but it was their five unanswered goals in a nearly 20-minute span in the second half that gave them the edge over the tough and aggressive No. 5 Sandwich Blue Knights (10-9).

“They played real physical,” Sailors head coach Mark Puzzangara said. “We were flat in the first quarter. I thought the third quarter was where we really started to play and hit our shot. Some of our better shooters were snake-bit today, but we played great defense and had great goaltending. If you can get that, you’re going to advance in the tournament.”

Specifically, the Sailors adjusted to the Blue Knights defense and started to capitalize on that advantage as the game progressed, running a two-man game which gave them opportunities for pick-and-rolls. It also freed up senior attacker Jake O’Brien to take more shots, and he had seven on the day.

With 6:56 remaining in the third quarter, O’Brien rolled around and took a sidearm shot on the run, putting the Sailors up 6-3. Less than a minute later, senior midfielder Spencer McKinnon tomahawked in a goal with three Blue Knights defenders closing in on him.

Junior midfielder David Murray added to the Sailors' run with 4:17 left in the quarter, though he got knocked down while shooting. Three minutes later, senior midfielder Joseph Mauceri capitalized on the Blue Knights delayed recovery time in transition and scored on a fast break.

“We always try to dodge and move the ball,” Puzzangara said. “We weren’t really doing that well in the first half. We just told our guys to keep shooting and they certainly did.”

Murray capped off the Sailors scoring effort with 6:09 left in the game, scoring his second goal to give his team a 10-3 lead.

Junior attacker Sean Boden put up both the Blue Knights second half goals. The first came on a fast break with 4:33 remaining in the contest, snapping his team’s scoring drought that lasted 19:36. He also put up another goal about three minutes later, making it a 10-5 game.

In addition to Murray, O’Brien, Mauceri and senior midfielder Peter Churchill had two goals apiece for the Sailors while Boden and junior attacker Mather Negron each scored two goals for the Blue Knights.

Senior goalkeeper David Theodore recorded eight saves in net for the Sailors and sophomore midfielder Brendan Hannon played well on faceoffs.

Coming into the game, the Sailors were well-prepared for the tournament, having played a tough Patriot League schedule that included both Hingham and Duxbury, among other playoff contenders.

“It definitely helps playing a lot of tough teams,” Puzzangara said. “We know it’s going to prepare us and help us hang with teams we’re not familiar with. We feel we’re prepared for anything a team can throw at us because of who we’re playing.”

The Sailors move on to face top-seeded Hingham on the road on Tuesday, June 6 in the Division 2 South Semifinals.

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