MEDFIELD, Mass. -- The noticeable glare emanating from the Medfield sideline during the second half of Sunday's nonleague matchup with Western Mass. power Longmeadow wasn't so much from the sun as it was from the smiles on the faces of Warriors coaches Mike Douglas and John Isaf.
Like many other teams, Medfield has suffered from the loss of several starters due to injury, most notably top scorers Conor Roddy (concussion) and Matt Crowell (knee). What the coaches, players and fans saw on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon should give them great optimism in regard to the remainder of the Warriors season.
Andrew Melvin led the offense with two goals and three assists, Chris Diana, Cal Given and Matt Ruzzo each scored twice and No. 10 Medfield used a 6-0 run in the second half to pull away from the No. 25 Lancers for a 12-7 victory at Medfield High School.
With Roddy and Crowell on the shelf for the time being, the Warriors (9-3) have been looking for some of their younger players to step up and help fill those voids. Sophomores Tyler Hagan, Jack Isaf and Matt Cahill each had scores and helped do exactly that.
"It was nice to see some of the younger guys step up," Douglas admitted. "It's a tough spot. You're playing for a good team and you've got sophomore stepping in that are used to being role players or secondary players and there's a learning curve there."
"If those guys can continue to build off this, when we get our big guns back, we're going to be much stronger team overall," he continued. "Hopefully, this will benefit us down the road."
The two teams traded goals back and forth in the first half with neither side able to get more than a one-goal lead. Dave Parsons potted a critical goal with just one second left in the first quarter that pulled Medfield back to a 3-3 tie.
Late goals proved big for the Warriors, who scored in the final minute of each frame. Given got one with 52 seconds left in the first half to make it a 5-5 game, and the Warriors retired to the sideline determined to start finishing plays they felt they had left out there for the taking.
"We felt like in the first half we beat ourselves a lot. We left a lot of plays on the field that we should have finished off," Douglas said. "We felt like we were playing well, but we weren't finishing plays. Once we got a couple goals in a row we thought we could push the game out of reach."
Although the Lancers opened the third with a snipe by John Mentor (two goals, assist), Medfield finally put together spurt it was looking for. With Clay Richard turning in another dominant performance on faceoffs (14-for-19), the Warriors started cashing in on those possessions.
Given got Medfield back to even and a minute later, Chris Diana ripped a laser through for the go-ahead goal. That started a string of six straight tallies by the Warriors with Isaf, Ruzzo, Cahill and Diana again closing out the run.
Frankie Elder potted his second for Longmeadow to stop the bleeding, but Medfield was able to hold the Lancers off and added a final tally by Ruzzo to close things out.
"We've struggled a little bit against better teams this year and in the last couple of games we've had with Wellesley and Dover-Sherborn and it was good for some of these young guys to step up," Douglas said. "That's something we hope that these guys can build off of - being able to have some success in an important spot against a really good team."