HINGHAM, Mass. – On the precipice of returning to Harvard Stadium for the Division 2 East championship game for the first time since 2010, Hingham lacrosse head coach John Todd and his team had one thing at mind – transition. In particular, in regard to the Harbormen’s Sunday opponent, No. 5 seed Beverly, they simply couldn’t afford to let the Panthers run amok.
Hingham effectively snuffed out Beverly’s potent transition attack during the teams’ sectional semifinal matchup. In fact, the Harbormen turned the game on its head, building an 8-1 lead in the third quarter. While the Panthers showed some late signs of life in the fourth, Hingham held on for an 8-4 win, clinching its ticket to Harvard.
"I think we were able to get up and down more than I thought we going to be able to,” Todd said, “which was huge because they are an up-tempo team and we focused all on making sure we were taking that away from them. We were able to do that and then from that, a lot more up-and-down for us became available. It was not necessarily shocking but pleasantly surprising."
Hingham (21-3) will face No. 2 seed Medfield in Wednesday’s sectional championship game. It is also a rematch of the Harbormen’s last Harvard appearance, a game which the Warriors won in double overtime.
On Sunday, Hingham’s defense started with goaltender Tom Bannan’s 12 saves, but it extended to the midfield, where the Harbormen were tasked with slowing down the Panthers’ fleet-footed attack, led by Ryan Shipp (2 G).
However, Hingham’s midfielders and poles interrupted Beverly’s pace of play in the first half, while working in transition in the opposite direction. David Freitas and Jacob Brodie carried the offensive unit with three goals each for the Harbormen, but their offensive production had much more to do with the work that was conducted in their own end.
“We’ve been better six-on-six recently, but they kind of took us out of our offense in the first half,” Panthers head coach John Pynchon said. “They weren’t going to allow us to do the things we wanted to do and they forced us into more situations going in one-on-one. And it took us out of the flow of our offense.”
Bannan praised the work of the defense in front of him, namely defenseman Jack Ullrich, which all went according to plan.
“Transition defense did a great job compared to last game, we struggled a little bit,” Bannan said. “This game, I don’t even know if we gave up one in transition.”