FOXBORO, Mass. –- Once again, the Medfield High boys’ lacrosse team showed why being the No. 9 seed in the Division 2 East Tournament is one of life's great mysteries.
After beating top-seeded Wellesley, 7-5, in the quarterfinals, defending state champion Medfield made short work of No. 4 Foxborough on Friday by cruising –- and that’s the operative verb –- to an 11-5 victory in a semifinal game.
“I don’t have a problem with the seeding formula or our seed,” Medfield head coach Bob Aronson said. “We had a bunch of losses (Medfield’s now 15-7). Many teams had better records overall than we did. Some of the teams we beat didn’t make the tournament which they typically do.
“You could say there are some flaws in it but I’m not dissatisfied. But in the end, the best team will be standing. If that’s us, then maybe we had a tough road to get there. We did what we had to do."
What Medfield did in this game was torch a Foxborough team that held two of its previous tournament opponents to a grand total of one goal. And it also made life miserable for goalie Greg Stamatov (10 saves), who was voted the Hockomock League’s MVP.
As a result, Medfield advanced to the division finals where it will play No. 2 Concord-Carlisle, at 5:30 p.m. on June 14 at Harvard Stadium.
Medfield’s offense was led by David Parsons (three goals), Connor Roddy (one goal, two assists) and Chris Diana (two goals). But as Foxboro coach Matt Noone emphasized, the play of Medfield goalie Sam Aronson (14 saves) and the team’s overall defense was key to the outcome.
“From the tape, it was shoot low, shoot low, shoot low,” Noone said of Foxboro’s strategy against Sam Aronson. “They’re very effective on their defense. Their goalie is very good and that was the difference today.
“They possessed the ball. They played better defense and their goalie was outstanding.”
Coach Aronson didn’t hesitate when discussing the effectiveness of his defense.
“Cam Donnelly, our long-stick middie, had a great game,” he said. “I thought Garrett Read had a tough matchup with a big, strong guy (attack Connor Whalen) and I think he did a nice job on him. He had one assist in the whole game.”
One could make a case that the “whole game” boiled down to the first quarter –- the first 7-1/2 minutes, to be precise.
Medfield bolted to a 3-0 lead during that span on goals by Matt Crowell, Roddy and Diana.
And if Foxboro (19-4) didn’t score on a shot off the stick of Jake Hyland with a nano-second left in the first quarter, Medfield would have led 6-0 at halftime.
“We did have a good lead,” coach Aronson said. “They’re a good team. They’re good in transition. Their goalie’s good and we certainly couldn’t stop at that. We had to keep pressing.
“We gave up an easy one toward the end of the first period. It was our fault. The goal counted and it should have counted. We just stopped playing with three or four second to go, and they took advantage of that. That’s a mental mistake we need to clean up.”
Medfield definitely “cleaned up” any mental mistakes in the fourth quarter which began with it leading 7-3.
After Medfield’s Peter Gill (during a man-advantage situation) and Hyland traded goals, the visitors really broke it open on an unassisted goal by Andrew Melvin and a superb goal by Diana with 4:51 left on the clock.
Diana, a junior middie, stole the ball, raced in on Stamatov and scored for a 10-5 lead.
Despite the loss, Noone readily noted his program has come a long way in a short period of time.
“This team made history this year,” Noone said. “We made it to the semifinals (for the first time) and the program’s barely nine years old. I told them what they’ve done for this town, what they’ve done for the youth program … they gave us something to believe in.
“They gave us something to be proud of. I can’t tell you how many kids are very happy that they live in this town and that they’re going to play lacrosse on the Foxboro Warrior lacrosse team. It’s a sad day to see it end. But what a ride it was.”
A ride that, unfortunately for Foxborough, will continue for Medfield.