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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Entering the day at 1-3, the Walpole High School varsity boys lacrosse team was in big need of an out-of-conference win to bolster their tournament resume for later on this spring.
Backboned by two of their senior captains in UMass Lowell committed attack-man Conor Foley (five goals, one assist) and goaltender Joe McGrath (11 saves), as well as a 14-for-17 day at the face-off X by Ben Quinn, the Rebels fought off Lexington for a 10-5 win. The semifinal victory of the Coaches Crosse Cup advanced Walpole to Saturday’s final vs. St. John’s Prep.
“To beat a team as good as Lexington, I think we needed it,” said Walpole head coach Jason Andalo. “I don’t think we wanted to go into Saturday with another loss. It remains to be seen where a win like this can take us because we still need to get better at some things but I like where we are going. We’ve had a couple good days at practice, not perfect, but I like where we are going and hopefully we can build upon this.”
Foley netted a first half hat trick, including a pair on the man-up, to allow the Rebels a 4-2 lead at halftime.
The third quarter saw goals from Chase Conrad and Foley along with a pair of big leg saves by McGrath to keep the Rebels ahead at 6-3 entering the fourth. In the final quarter, Quinn simply took over for Walpole, going a perfect six-for-six on face-offs and scoring off of one.
“He’s a kid who’s only a sophomore and face-offs are something he’s working very intently on,” said Andalo on his sophomore fogo. “We’ve played some really tough teams to start the season and he’s done well but today, yeah, he was the player of the game.”
Conor Foley potted home his fifth of the day midway through the fourth before assisting on another goal by Thomas Shea to put the Rebs in double digits at 10-4. Walpole would kill the remainder of the clock and emerge with the 10-5 victory.
The Rebels will look to keep up the momentum heading into a big week that features match-ups with reigning Division III champ Cohasset as well as Division I Catholic Conference power Xaverian.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0.