MARSHFIELD, Mass. — It’s a question posed to just about every coach in every sport when their team carries an unblemished record this far into a season: Do you lose a meaningless late-season game or go for broke and attempt the undefeated season?
After the Marshfield boys' lacrosse team ran its record to a perfect 18-0 with two games to play thanks to a 12-8 win over Hingham (15-3) on Monday at the Paul Deftus Fields, Rams head coach Rick Bagby was quick to give his answer on the matter.
“People always say would you rather lose one to get the taste in your mouth, no thanks,” said Bagby. “I’ll take it to the last game of the season to Harvard. … We want to try to win every game. I have no interest in losing a game, so we will see.”
It’s easy to see why these balanced Rams have maneuvered their way through the schedule without a scratch on the record. Tyler Martina and John Powers both picked up four-goal games against Hingham, and the goal was well protected by a 17-save performance from Will Contento.
The Rams were out and running the first quarter with transition goals from Martina and Powers. Contento actually sparked the second goal of the game as he ran from his crease all the way to the Hingham net, fired a shot on Derek McInnis (28 saves) and Powers was there to scoop in the rebound.
But the Harbormen were able to slow down the runnin’ Rams and pick apart the defense to take a 5-4 lead going into the half. The Rams were also putting themselves in man-down situations because of over-aggressiveness, so Bagby had to reel in his bunch when the break came.
“We were playing emotionally, not with emotion,” said Bagby. “I said we can’t play this game emotionally. You got to play with emotion, but if you let the emotions take over then you are out of sync. They needed to channel their energy, settle down and play smart.”
Play smart is exactly what they did. Connor Bagby’s hustle in the Harbormen zone led to second possessions for the Rams and they were able to capitalize. Martina tied the game at 5 with 11:19 left to play in the third as he maneuvered his way through the middle to beat McInnis. Tyler Virtue scored his lone goal to give the Rams a lead for good with 10:13 to go and Powers scored two straight to pull away.
“They got on a run and they broke us,” said Hingham head coach John Todd. “That’s the spurt that they needed to kind of knock the wind out of us a little bit. We couldn’t dig back.”
The Harbormen did score the next two goals after the four-goal spurt, but the Rams got two goals from Martina in the fourth and tallies from Matt Entwistle and Mike Carbone to got on a 4-1 run to end the game.
“We just tried to get up quick and see where it took us,” said Martina. “We tried to keep the pressure on them and work their defense.”
Marshfield has tilts against Hanover and Plymouth North this week to try run the regular season to 20-0.
“Our main goal is a state championship against Duxbury,” said Powers. “We want them so bad.”