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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Following a 12-10 season-opening loss to Newton North on April 3, the Westwood High School varsity lacrosse team responded with a 19-8 victory over arch-rival Holliston on April 6 to climb into the win column.
On Thursday, the Wolverines hosted perennial Division I North power Acton-Boxborough at Flahive Field with the opportunity to move above .500 on the season and earn a statement win.
Behind a six-goal performance by senior captain and Providence-bound attack-man Jake Antonucci, the Wolverines (2-1) were able to gut out a 9-8 statement victory in overtime, thanks to a goal by senior midfielder Tommy Leone with time winding down in the extra period.
Following an opening goal by Acton-Boxborough in the game’s first two minutes, Antonucci knotted the game at one with a beautiful back-handed shovel shot after dodging from behind the cage. Less than two minutes later, Antonucci fired home his second with a bouncer off of transition to give the Wolverines a 2-1 lead with nine minutes to play in the first quarter.
Just 48 seconds after the tiebreaking goal by Antonucci, Conor Donohue was left alone on the crease and the junior attack-man made AB pay by catching a feed from Antonucci and depositing the ball into the back of the cage to make it a 3-1 lead for Westwood.
Acton-Boxborough cut the deficit to 3-2 with a goal on the man-up with 5:10 remaining in the quarter, but a low-to-high right-handed rip by Antonucci with 3:51 remaining pushed Westwood’s lead back to two goals at 4-2 at the end of one.
AB cut the deficit back to one at 4-3 just 1:45 into the second quarter, but Antonucci again responded with a low-to-high rip on the man-up to push Westwood’s lead to 5-3. Acton-Boxborough again trimmed the deficit to one goal at 5-4, but the trend of Antonucci pushing the lead back to a pair of goals continued as the senior captain dodged and let one fly off-hip with 4:17 remaining to make it 6-4 Westwood at the half.
The second half saw a quick two-goal run by Acton-Boxborough to tie the game at six, and the Wolverines were held without a goal for the entire third quarter. Conor Donohue gave Westwood back the lead at 7-6 with six minutes remaining with a fake and finish at the crease before Antonucci made it a two-goal game with a drive from X and jump-shot finish with 4:11 left in regulation.
Acton-Boxborough scored two straight in the final four minutes to knot the game at eight and force overtime. However, four minutes into the extra frame, Tommy Leone served as the hero for Westwood when the senior grabbed a rebound off of an initial laser by Antonucci and dumped the ball through the legs of the AB goaltender to give the Wolverines the thrilling 9-8 overtime win.
At the time of print, Westwood will look to stick to its winning script when the Wolverines host Catholic Memorial on April 17 before getting back into TVL play against Ashland on April 25.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0, or read his blog at www.flannylive.wordpress.com.