WORCESTER, Mass. -- Medfield had its hands full with Algonquin for three quarters, but it was in the fourth where the defending Division 2 boys' lacrosse state champions turned back into reigning state champions.
The Warriors broke open what was a one-goal game by scoring four straight times in the opening 3:11 of the final frame to surge past the Tomahawks and take a 13-9 decision in the Div. 2 title game at Foley Stadium Friday night.
“I don't think we thought it was going to be as close of a game as it was,” said senior goalie Sam Aronson. “All the credit to them. They came out and played hard. They gave us one of the best battles of these playoffs, and we've had some pretty big battles. I'm proud of the mental toughness we all showed. We never gave up. We just kept fighting the whole game until the fourth quarter was ours.”
Algonquin (20-5) seemingly grabbed the momentum, capitalizing on a Medfield penalty with a big goal by Davis Kraft (hat trick) in a man-up situation with just 22 seconds remaining in the third.
Instead, the current chose to ride with the Warriors (18-7), who rallied behind faceoff specialist Clay Richard (12-for-13 on faceoffs in the second half) for quick goals by Chris Diana, Connor Roddy (twice) and Matt Crowell. That spurt turned a 9-8 affair into what proved to be an insurmountable 13-8 Medfield advantage with 8:49 left to play.
“We were in the hunt. We were in there in the third quarter,” said Algonquin coach Rich Luongo. “I think the difference was their faceoff guy took control of the game in the second half.”
The Warriors junior FOGO finished with 19 faceoff wins in 25 attempts but deflected a lot of the credit to his teammates.
“I do as good as my team, it's a collaborative effort,” Richard said. “I know I got a lot of help from Ben Mastrogiovanni on the sidelines, calling out where their defense was, where I should put it to best help my team. We've been saying all year that we need to make runs and we made a run and pulled away and that's what made the difference.”
Medfield pulled out to a quick 2-0 lead on goals by Peter Gill and Roddy, but received a quick wakeup call as Algonquin stormed back with three straight, one by Ian Kemper and a pair from Kraft, to take a 3-2 lead.
The two teams traded goals to open the second before Medfield went on it’s first run, getting consecutive goals from Andrew Melvin, Peter Gill and David Parsons (hat trick) to pull ahead, 6-4. Junior Connor Healey (two goals, two assists) got one back for the Tomahawks before halftime, and Zack Tarallo tied it at 9:52 of the third.
After another Richard faceoff win, Roddy spotted freshman Robert Treiber flashing toward the middle and hit him with a perfect pass for an easy look, but Algonquin responded again as Tarallo ripped a sidewinder into the back of the cage for his third goal just under two minutes later. Parsons and Melvin put Medfield back up by two before Kraft’s extra-man tally at the end of the quarter.
The final stanza, however, would belong to Medfield, who was bred for the moment thanks to a combination of having been there before and a brutal regular season schedule that featured some of Massachusetts’ elite lacrosse programs.
“One of the things that we told the kids coming in, looking at our run through the tournament and theirs, I think we had a pretty tough draw on our side of the bracket,” Medfield coach Bob Aronson said. “But even so, we came out unscathed. Everybody's healthy, everybody's eligible and everybody's playing.”
“And we knew they had three overtime games to get here so they're tired and a little beat up,” he continued. “We figured if we could stay ahead of them or hang with them for three quarters that we'd own the fourth quarter and that's pretty much what happened.”