ACTON, Mass. --- The Dual County League Large awarded tri-champions last year as Westford Academy, Lincoln-Sudbury and Acton-Boxborough all shared the honor at the top. This year may prove to be the much of the same as A-B defeated L-S 15-9 on Thursday night to lock the three teams up at the top once again in one of the most completive leagues in Massachusetts.
A-B (11-3) led 5-4 at the half in a back and forth beginning that featured strong goalie play from L-S senior Dan Shaughnessy and A-B junior Rick Kronnenwett.
With under a minute to go in the half Kronnenwett made two big saves for the Colonials on a scoring bid from L-S junior midfielder Dan Delaney. The saves helped preserve the lead and momentum for A-B at the half.
“Rick has been great,” said Acton-Boxborough head coach Pat Ammendolia. “We inserted him midway through the year and he has really stepped up. His legs and feet are swollen with ball marks from saves and he has been just doing a great job for us.”
A-B midfielder Joe Cormier (two goals, assist) won the opening face-off of the second half and teammate Kyle Soroka (three goals, three assists) beat his man in transition and scored the opening goal at the 11:26 mark to give the Colonials a two goal lead. The 6-4 lead was the largest lead of the game to date for either team.
Soroka would come back and score again at the 8:48 mark in the third, followed by a tally from Cormier to give A-B an 8-4 lead midway through the third quarter.
L-S would battle back and score two man-up goals to cut the deficit to 8-6 but it would be all A-B from there on out in the third as they would take an 11-7 to the final quarter.
“It was infectious,” Ammendolia said. “One guy will make a great play and then another guy will make a great play and it snowballs. I thought we played a little timid in the first half but we came out and scored one right away and I thought that broke our hesitance.”
A-B would control the possessions and add four more goals in the final quarter to seal the win and create balanced chaos at the top of the DCL Large once again this season.
Despite the loss L-S (9-5) remains one of the most dangerous teams in Division 1 as they boast one of the state’s top young, explosive rosters.
Delaney led the Warriors in scoring on the night as the Fairfield commit scored two goals to go along with one assist. Sophomore midfielder Greg Roder also added two goals for L-S in the loss.
McKelvie Scores: Tyler McKelvie’s six goals earned the senior one of three game balls presented by Coach Ammendolia at the end of the game. (The other two went to Soroka and Kronnenwett ).
McKelvie proved that he did not need much room on the evening to get his shot off and also proved efficient burying six goals with three coming in each half.
“We were fired up to play them,” said McKelvie. “We lost in overtime the first time and clearing killed us. This time we cleaned it up and just did our jobs.”
The senior sniper also scored six goals in A-B’s 19-9 win over Westford Academy last week and leads the Colonials in scoring with 46 goals and 10 assists on the season.
Improved Clearing: The knock on A-B this season has been their struggle in the clearing game. L-S really took advantage of A-B in that department when the two teams met at the beginning of the season in a 14-13 overtime win for the Warriors.
Despite the occasional lapse on Thursday night it is evident that A-B has definitely improved their clearing game and looked fast in transition and composed off of saves.
“I would not say that we clear every day at practice but we do on most days,” Ammendolia explained. “They have been getting better and it is a credit to the kids. I just guide them and it all comes with their hard work at practice.”
Right Time to Be Hot: A-B has now won 10 out of their last 11 games after starting the season 1-2. They have defeated ESPN Boston Top 25 teams Weston, Westford Academy and L-S soundly over the past week and only lost to No. 2 ranked Concord-Carlisle by one goal, 8-7, at the end of the game.
“I think we are a lot more calm and comfortable with the offense and with our off hands,” McKelvie said. “It is nice to just go out there and play.”