LONGMEADOW, Mass. — Six days ago, Longmeadow lost its first game in 38 tires when Medfield avenged last season’s loss in the Division 2 state championship game with 10-9 win on Saturday night.
The Lancers have since started a new, modest three-game win streak, the most recent of which was an 11-6 win over St. John’s of Shrewsbury on Friday night at home, handing the Pioneers their first loss of the season.
“Yesterday (versus Westfield) we came out really slow,” Longmeadow senior midfielder Drew Kelleher said. “Coach talked to us and told us we needed to have a four-quarter effort for tonight.
“This is a huge momentum swing. St. John’s was undefeated, came in here today playing some great lacrosse, so for us, this is a big win.”
Kelleher wasted no time getting points on the board, scoring the his first of five goals 27 seconds in. That was followed by his younger brother, Cam, posting another goal, giving Longmeadow a 2-0 lead only 90 seconds in.
The early offense provided some comfort for goalie Matt Draymore, who put forth a 13-save effort for the Lancers.
“When we played Medfield, I think he had two saves,” Longmeadow coach Ryan Liebel said. “He was really down on himself, and we tried to stay positive and keep him going. He turned it around real quick. It woke everybody else up.”
St. John’s attempted to cut into the lead in the third quarter, scoring three unanswered goals from Jared Ward, Drew Smiley and Andrew Cox. The trio of goals, made it a 7-5 game. Longmeadow would counter with a goal from Drew Kelleher, who knocked in a shot midair after a scrum of white and red jerseys attempted to scoop a ground ball outside the crease.
Ward’s second goal made it 8-6, the last time the game would be that tight. Max Stukalin ripped in a netter with less than a minute to play in the frame, and the Lancers added two more in the fourth quarter.
“The defense is aggressive and pushed out on us,” St. John’s coach Terry Leary said. “I thought Draymore had a great game. We had as many easy opportunities and he was the difference maker.”
The face-off battle between Kelleher and Connor Maloney was tight throughout the game, but Longmeadow was able to control the game, scooping ground balls, resulting in transition for the Lancers.
While Kelleher had five goals, Will Lukas set up a handful of his own for Longmeadow.
Smiley recorded a hat trick for the Pioneers.