WAYLAND, Mass. – Tuesday’s match-up between the high scoring offense of No. 5 Beverly and the lock-down defense of No. 4 Wayland figured to be a battle of lacrosse attrition.
Beverly entered the Eastern Mass. Division 2 quarterfinal having outscored their first two post-season opponents 33-10 and having won eight of their last nine games.
Wayland entered the contest having won 16 straight games, dating back to April 11, when they lost an 11-6 contest to Acton-Boxborough.
Beverly midfielder Brendan Flaherty would come out on fire as he scored three of his game-high four goals in the opening quarter as Beverly led 4-1 early and never looked back. Beverly would lead by as many as seven goals in the first half as they defeated Wayland, 9-4, to advance to the Eastern Mass. D2 semifinals.
“We talk about the first five minutes of each quarter and I think we won those first five minutes,” Beverly head coach John Pynchon said after the game.
Flaherty scored his first goal less than two minutes into the game but was quickly answered by Wayland middie Roby Williams to tie the game, 1-1.
Beverly (19-4) would then take control of the first half as they controlled the possession and converted a key man-down goal by Flaherty to give the visitors the momentum in the middle of the game.
“They are a real good possession team, real athletic,” Wayland head coach Joel Bates said. “I don’t now if it was a little bit of nerves but we definitely tossed the ball away too many times to recover from.”
Beverly would go on a 7-0 run in the first and second quarters to extend the lead to 8-1, before Williams added one for Wayland (19-4) with under one minute to play in the first half, cutting the lead to 8-2 at the break.
Wayland came out of the half with renewed energy as they struck for two early goals as attack Jimmy Lampert and midfielder Carson Hart scored to cut the Beverly lead to four.
Beverly attackman and leading scorer Nick Albano would answer Hart’s goal less than one minute later to quell the run and take a 9-4 lead to the final quarter of play.
Beverly would hold on in a scoreless fourth quarter as the experienced Beverly defense, led by junior goalie Kevin Lally, held strong to secure the victory.
“Our defense was just great today,” Pynchon said. “Kevin [Lally] came up huge.”
Wayland returns a slew of talented underclassmen next season, led by Williams and defensive captain Jake Baxter.
“They [Wayland] are young and so they are so good,” Pynchon added. “We talked about that and said let’s use our experience. That is where the experience comes in, during the first five minutes of the game.”
Wayland does graduate Hart, who will graduate as one of the top midfielder’s in program history. The Navy-bound senior also did a great job on faceoffs for the Warriors, along with adding a third quarter goal in tonight’s finale.
“Carson Hart is going to be tough to lose.” Bates said. “He works hard with all of our seniors. The seniors are a real good group with Brian Murtagh, probably our biggest leader, and just a real charismatic guy.”
Beverly will travel to Hingham on Friday to take on the No. 1 seed Harbormen. Hingham (20-3) defeated Winchester 13-7 in the quarterfinals and has now won 12 games in a row. In Hingham’s’ three losses this season, they lost by a total of just three combined goals.
Game time is scheduled for 5 p.m.