Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Wakefield Hangs On Against Melrose to Make D2N Final

By Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7)

WAKEFIELD, Mass. – In a carbon copy of Wakefield’s 11-10 overtime over Melrose in the Warriors toughest test during an undefeated season, the host Warriors edged Melrose, 12-11, in a thrilling Division 2 North semifinals matchup on Tuesday evening. 

After the top-ranked Warriors (20-0) expanded an 8-3 halftime lead to 10-3 early in the third quarter. But No. 4 Melrose (12-7) came storming back with six unanswered goals to put the pressure on undefeated Wakefield right down to the final whistle. 

“The big thing about Melrose is that there’s no quit in them and they always play hard,” said Wakefield head coach Andrew Lavalle. “No matter how much you get up on them, you’ll still get their best effort.”

Thanks to a clutch goal from senior Braedan Langlois (goal, 4 assists) and an assist from Langlois to Pat Leary (five goals), the Warriors were able to hang on and advance to face third-seeded Beverly (12-9) in the program’s first trip to the sectional finals. Beverly defeated Winchester, 12-11, to make a fourth consecutive trip to the D2 North final.  

Early on, the Warriors team chemistry was on full display, as Langlois found fellow senior Pat Leary three times for goals in the first half.  Manhattan commit Austin Collard added a hat trick before scoring two more goals to make it 10-3 early in the third quarter.

Yet Melrose rallied back thanks to the efforts of two-sport star Mike Pedrini, who netted all three of his teams’ goals in the first half on his way to five scores. Red Raiders goalie Matthew Rocha (16 saves) kept the visitors in the game, as Wakefield went scoreless for a 12-minute span while Melrose scored six times to make it a 10-9 game.

“We always have to keep our heads on straight,” said Leary. “We know teams are going to fight back and that Melrose would give us a battle, but we just had to relax and play our game.”

With the pressure on, Langlois hit Leary with yet another perfect pass in the slot and the attack jumped before beating Rocha high for a huge score to make it 12-10 and essentially seal the win with just 1:26 left in the fourth. 

“I’ve been playing with a couple of these guys for so long it’s kind of natural to know where to find each other,” said Leary. “In practice we talk about making that extra pass, that extra look and it pass off most of the time.”

While the Warriors are just three wins away from capping their miraculous season with a state title, Lavalle and his players aren’t looking too far down the road.

“We talk about tunnel vision a lot,” Lavalle said. “We’re focused on the journey, not the destination. We’re happy to be here every day playing lacrosse and we think about going forward, but we’re focused on the moment.”

Continue Below for Video:

No comments :