SUDBURY, Mass. – Even as Lincoln-Sudbury lacrosse found a sliver of daylight in the third quarter of its Dual County League game against Concord-Carlisle, Warriors head coach Brian Vona had anxiety.
“We didn’t feel as though the game was over at that point,” Vona said of the two-goal lead L-S opened up in the third.
But the sixth-ranked Warriors would not relinquish that lead as they again threw the hammer down on defense. L-S hardly allowed the No. 15 Patriots past midfield in the second half, holding them to one goal in the final 24 minutes while cruising to a 9-5 win.
It was one of the state’s most robust defensive units finishing the job once again as the fearsome trio of Matt Barker, Eamon Hunter and John Sexton made scoring chances hard to come by for C-C, while senior goaltender Jack McCready made nine saves.
“Last year, it was our offense that we relied on; this year, it’s our defense,” Vona said. “I love the defense, they’re playing great. I love the intensity they play with. They’ve worked a lot together as a group, so they rely on each other. Jack [McCready] talks a lot directing the defense and that’s the most important thing.”
L-S (9-2) held a slim 5-4 advantage at the half, but watched the Patriots (4-6) draw even early in the third on Tommy Standish’s second goal of the game, assisted by Steven Armanetti (1 G, 2 A).
Eric Holden (2 G, 1 A) provided what stood up to be the game-winning goal with 3:37 remaining in the third before Austin Barta netted his third goal of the game with 1:43 to go. The Warriors added insurance goals in the fourth from Michael Yenke and Harlan Smart (1 G, 1 A).
Meanwhile, defensive midfielder Ryan Koenig stepped in to win some key faceoffs down the stretch, winning three of the game’s final four draws to salt the clock away.
“Concord plays tight-game lacrosse,” Vona said of his opponent, which happens to be coached by former high school teammate Tom Dalicandro. “They’re well-coached, the possess the ball. At that point in the game, we still had a lead, 7-5, but we still needed to win faceoffs.”
Shuffling the deck: While the Warriors’ defense appears in midseason form, they’ve yet to play with a full complement of players on the offensive half of the field.
L-S has lost Denver-bound attack Colby Hall during the season and has been without promising sophomore midfielder Connor McCarthy, who continue his rehab from offseason surgery.
The Warriors only recently saw one of their offensive stalwarts from seasons’ past return, with senior captain Greg Roder returning to the rotation.
“He settles us down,” Vona said of Roder – a four-year letter-winner. “He’s a guy that we know can move the ball and be in control. He’s a great athlete and he plays both ways. He got stuck on defense four times today, and he made great plays.”