CONCORD, Mass. -- No. seed 2 Concord-Carlisle is headed back to Harvard Stadium for the second consecutive year as they defeated No. 3 Catholic Memorial, 11-6, in an Eastern Massachusetts Division 2 semifinal game.
The Patriots are making their third trip in four years to the Eastern Massachusetts finals and the first time with an undefeated record since their 1998 state championship squad.
“To go to Harvard, back to back, we would have never thought it at the beginning of the year,” C-C head coach Tom Dalicandro said. “These guys just have just played so hard all year. They give it everything all the time. That is a great team we just played there.”
CM (19-4) would strike first, 41 seconds into the game, as senior attack John Harrison (2 G, 1 A) beat his man and found the back of the net to give the Knights the opening lead.
C-C (20-0) would come back and answer with four straight first quarter goals before CM freshman attack Tyler Bogart (2G) would score with 1:09 remaining in the first quarter to cut the C-C lead to 4-2.
The second quarter would prove to be the turning point in the game as C-C senior midfielder Kevin Delehey took over in the face-off circle and helped the Patriots gain crucial possessions.
Delahey, who has been hampered by injury of late, came back in full force on Friday as the senior scored both of his goals in the first half to help lead C-C to an 8-2 halftime advantage.
“Kevin Delehey, coming off an injury, played great for us,” Dalicandro said. “Our whole offense played great.”
Despite an early second half surge by CM, C-C would maintain their comfortable lead and grind out the 11-6 victory.
C-C senior All-American goalie Doug Gouchoe made nine of his 13 saves in the second half as he fended off the enhanced CM pressure.
“Doug is just special,” Dalicandro explained.
The Air Force commit continued his consistent play in the cage and the C-C close defense, led by senior All-American Henry Bumpus, also maintained their strong play.
D-Middies: The C-C short stick defensive midfield group of seniors Anthony West (1G), Tyler Koning and junior Brendan Finigan (1G) came up with some of the most important plays on the evening as they held CM’s midfield in check and also provided unexpected early offense as West and Brendan Finigan scored the first and third goals of the game for C-C.
“Our defensive middies were unbelievable for us,” C-C midfielder Jackson Finigan said. “They were all over the field and they started off the goal scoring for us, which was huge.”
Brendan Finigan had the goal of the night as the junior vaulted into the air and took a pass from freshman middie Will Blumenberg (2G, 2A) on the crease for an athletic quick stick goal.
“Our defensive middies did a great job, scoring goals and stopping them.” Dalicandro said.
Playing through Harvard: Concord-Carlisle will face the winner of No. 1 Hingham and No.4 Wellesley in a game that was re-scheduled to Saturday at 5 p.m. in Hingham due to weather.
With Harvard on their minds and graduation day tomorrow for the C-C seniors the Patriots are not looking past their ultimate goal.
“We do not want to just get to Harvard,” Jackson Finigan explained. “We want to get through Harvard. The last couple of years the goal has been to get to Harvard but this year we want to get all the way.”
The Eastern Massachusetts Division 2 champion will face off against the winner of the Western Mass. and Central Mass. championship game for the D2 state championship late next week.