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By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
The Division III Central/East sectional may as well be called the Dover-Sherborn invitational at this point.
On Monday, the top-seeded Raiders advanced to their sixth straight Division III Central/East title game with a convincing 16-8 victory over Medway at Medfield High School.
Sophomore attack-man Pierce Gregory (four goals, two assists) and senior captain and attack-man Timmy Polk (four goals, two assists) led the way for the Raiders, while Peter Barnard threw home a hat trick, with Erik Niit also contributing a pair. Asked about his team’s core offensive group performing at the biggest moment of their season to date, DS head coach Brian McLaughlin says his group is rewarded for all the hard work they put in year-round.
“They all practice together in the offseason, and they are always looking for ways to get together, throw around and play wall ball,” said McLaughlin. “They definitely work for what they get.”
DS took a 5-1 lead after one quarter, thanks to a pair of goals by Gregory, one from Polk, and two from Barnard. Medway was able to trim the deficit down to 7-4 with 55 seconds remaining in the half, but back-to-back goals by Will Kenney and Gregory, the latter coming with one second left in the half off of a feed from Polk, allowed DS to extend their lead to 9-4 at halftime.
“Medway is a very scrappy team,” said DS head coach Brian McLaughlin. “They are tough to cover. They dodge hard, so I’m really proud of the way the guys stepped up in the defensive end and got it done today.”
Back-to-back goals by Ford Pegram and Gregory to begin the half gave DS a commanding 11-4 lead. Medway cut the deficit to 11-6, but a low-to-high snipe by Niit and a man-up goal by Polk gave the Raiders a 13-6 lead heading to the fourth.
A pair of big saves early in the fourth quarter by junior goalie Matt Gallitano (nine saves) allowed DS to quickly transition into offense, both rushes leading to goals by Polk and Parker Walsh. McLaughlin praised the play of his net minder following the victory.
“Matty played great today,” said McLaughlin. “He had some nice clears and some nice saves so that was really great to see.”
DS will take on Littleton on Thursday in the Division III Central/East finals, where they will look to reign as champs for the sixth consecutive year.
For funny and insightful sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter @fLAno0.