NEEDHAM, Mass. – The word satisfied cropped up more than a couple of times in Needham boys’ lacrosse head coach Dave Wainwright’s message to his team following Wednesday night’s game.
Although the Rockets advanced in the Division 1 South tournament with a 9-5 win over Bay State Conference rival Newton North, Wainwright was left with a sour taste in his mouth. Less than two weeks ago, Needham had rolled over the Tigers, 15-5, in the teams’ regular-season meeting. And it looked as though the score would finish in the same ballpark as the Rockets launched to an 8-2 halftime lead.
Then, they sputtered.
“That’s why it’s so difficult to play someone the second time around,” Wainwright said. “They’re able to adapt, so what worked the first time might not work again.”
Still, Needham’s start was so strong it didn’t matter much that the Rockets were shut out in the third quarter. The Rockets (17-2) claimed a three-goal lead by the midpoint of the first quarter on goals from Timmy Peterson, Cliff Kurker and Mike Panepinto.
The attack was well-balanced as well, as only Dan Jacobs (hat trick) tallied a multi-goal game, with six different scorers getting into the act.
“We definitely had some frustrations against their zone,” Wainwright said. “We got rolling in the first half, but we didn’t really find those same answers again in the second half and we couldn’t establish some of the rhythm we wanted to find.”
Playing to strength: Although Newton North (10-9) struck for three fourth-quarter goals once the game was well in hand, Needham’s stout defense again was a force.
Anchored by a trio of titans in 6-foot-5 Cody Mosgrove, multi-sport standout Mike Elcock and Zach Kohl, teams have been thinking twice about dodging toward the cage all season.
“I’ve had other coaches tell me, ‘Our guys couldn’t find our other guys because all they could see was you,’” Wainwright said.
He added, “They’re big, they’re athletic and they know it.”