SUDBURY, Mass. -- Lincoln-Sudbury's Jordan Dow scooped up one of the kids in L-S' youth lacrosse program and swung him in the hair. The last remnants of sweat dripped down his face as smiles abounded everywhere.
To the victor goes the joy.
Dow had a pair of goals and a pair of assists as L-S defeated Acton-Boxborough 13-4 to advance to Wednesday's state title game against Xaverian.
“Our community...you see the support we get,” Lincoln-Sudbury head coach Brian Vona said. “Our kids know almost every kid in the youth program. That's the truth. They work hard with the youth kids so they know them. We probably have 40 alumni here, and those guys didn't get [to this point]. Those guys paved the way for these guys. We talk about the history of the program a lot.”
This year's Warriors made their own history yesterday with a dominating performance. L-S scored the game's first four goals and survived a three-goal A-B rally in the second quarter to go into the half up 7-4.
The Lincoln-Sudbury defense was locked in during the final 24 minutes. The Warriors held Acton-Boxboro scoreless and to only five shots in the second half.
“We like to run; we're pretty good in transition,” Acton-Boxboro coach Pat Ammendolia said. “ That's our MO. Our guys do that well. Unfortunately we couldn't do any of that. They pretty much shut us down.”
Matt Hall led the Warriors with three goals and two assists. John Merwin added a hat trick of his own. Tom Cotter had a pair of goals for Acton-Boxborough.
YEARS TO PERFECTION
Dow and Hall have been playing together since grade school, and the chemistry showed yesterday. Each had an assist on another's goal and always seemed to know where the other was on the field.
The two also played together on the L-S hockey team.
“We've planning since we were five years old,” Hall said. “Everything just came second nature.”
BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE
The loss will be tough to swallow, but anyone who follows Acton-Boxborough lacrosse will call this season a success. Yesterday was the Colonials' first-ever semifinal appearance.
Ammendolia said that the long-term goal is grow the program into a consistent win – a la the A-B football program.
“We got a great football program there, [and] we're trying to do what they do in the spring,” Ammendolia said. “Hopefully we can get to that point someday. I think we definitely made improvements. We have a great youth program; we have kids signing autographs after our game on Wednesday. We got it cooking so I don't think we're going away.”
The Colonials will return 22 players from this year's team in 2014.
YOUTH IS SERVED
It was the upperclassmen who did the bulk of the scoring, but it was Lincoln's underclassmen that stepped up and proved to be the X factor.
Benzy Simons stepped in at defensive midfield and scooped several key ground balls for the Warriors. His work earned him Lincoln-Sudbury's “dirty ball” award for the game.
“It's not necessarily for [the guy] with the best points but the guy who really got dirty,” Vona said. “A lot of guys have been hurt and he stepped up to play [defensive] middie and he played awesome today. He had about 10 clears today.”
Vona was also quick to praise young players, including Harlan Smart, for stepping up during big moments.
“We had a few freshman out there who really played a lot,” Vona said. “Harlan Smart calmed us down. He did a great job today.
“We had some guys who didn't have great games today and the rest of the team picked them up. Our younger guys really stepped up.”