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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Growing up separated by just a popular ice cream place and a hairline of Dover, the players of the Westwood and Medfield High school varsity boys lacrosse teams have come to know each other extremely well, especially after their years upon years of playing against one another in their respective youths. Lacrosse has become a cultural brotherhood in both Medfield and Westwood, as both the Warriors (three time-defending state champs in DII) and Wolverines have excelled both within and outside of the TVL in recent years.
Despite the similarities between the two towns, there is very little love shared between these two when they face off twice during the regular season, and in recent times, their annual meeting in the state tournament.
On Wednesday, the Warriors (14-6) played host to the Wolverines (12-8) in the south sectional semifinals. The No. 2 seed Warriors took care of business in the quarterfinals against Wayland with a 13-7 win, while No. 6 Westwood defeated Dedham (19-3) in the first-round followed by a 10-7 upset at Hopkinton in the quarterfinals.
Behind a strong all-around effort, the Warriors were able to knock out the Wolverines from the state tournament for the second consecutive season by a final of 13-8. Notable offensive performances came from senior captain and Holy Cross-bound Jack Cahill (four goals, one assist), sophomore Johns Hopkins commit Owen Murphy (two goals, four assists), sophomore Mike Hauptman (three goals, two assists), freshman Jack McCordic (three goals, one assist), and a stellar 12-save effort in net from junior Liam Gately.
The Warriors started the game strong, as just 1:15 in, Owen Murphy found McCordic cutting to net and fed the freshman a crisp pass in which he corralled and fired past Westwood goaltender CJ Adourian (six saves) for the early 1-0 lead. Less than a minute later with 9:50 remaining in the quarter, Cahill ripped home a shot from 11 yards out to extend the lead to two. Westwood’s Robbie Antonucci (one goal, one assist) would respond, however, as he rushed in on a fast break and fired a shot through the legs of Gately to cut the deficit in half at 2-1. Less than two minutes later, Murphy countered for the Warriors by firing home an absolute missile from nine yards away to make it a two-goal lead once against at 3-1. Liam Gately’s four saves in the first quarter allowed Medfield to enter the break ahead by two.
Gately and Adourian were stellar between the pipes in the early stages of the second quarter, as both net-minders nabbed a pair of saves to keep it a 3-1 game midway through. However, Murphy finally broke the scoring drought for Medfield by cutting to the cage and firing a shot low to make it 4-1 with 7:38 left to play in the half. Just over two minutes later on the man-up, McCordic fired home his second of the game to extend the Warrior lead to 5-1. With 4:11 left to play in the half, McCordic set up Murphy’s third of the game on the doorstep of the cage to make it 6-1 in favor of Medfield. With 3:22 to play, Westwood responded through the efforts of Providence College commit Jake Antonucci, who let one rip on the man-up to cut the deficit to four at 6-2. A late stick save by Adourian off a Jack Cahill shot kept it a 6-2 game at the half.
Mike Hauptman got the Warriors off to the perfect start in the second half, netting two goals in a span of 40 seconds (one on man-up) to extend Medfield’s lead to 8-2 with 9:20 remaining in the third. Cahill then added a pair within a 54-second span to make it an eight-goal game with just over seven minutes to play in the third. With 6:25 to play in the third, Robbie Antonucci set up sophomore Conor Donohue in front and Donohue rifled one upstairs to cut it back to a 10-3 game. With 36 seconds to play, junior midfielder Tom Schofield extended the Medfield lead back to eight at 11-3 off a fast break. Jake Antonucci responded just 12 seconds later for Westwood off the ensuing faceoff to make it 11-4 at the end of three.
Cahill and Murphy went back-to-back to begin the fourth, extending Medfield’s lead to nine at 13-4. Westwood would go on a 4-0 run to close out the game, with goals coming from Jake Antonucci, Anthony Rael, and two from Ryan Healey, but the damage had already been done. The Warriors prevailed by a final of 13-8 to move on and face No. 1 overall seeded Walpole (19-1) in the South finals.