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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Westwood boys lacrosse has had their chances to upend the rival Medfield Warriors (10-6, 9-2) throughout the last two seasons, most recently falling 10-9 back on May 2 in Medfield. Entering Monday night’s second and final regular season contest with the Warriors at Flahive Field, Westwood boys lacrosse had never beaten Medfield - something that didn’t sit well with Jake Antonucci and the 2018 Westwood senior class.
Coming off of a tough 14-6 defeat to rival Hopkinton on senior night in which they lost their goaltender and defensive anchor, C.J. Adourian, to injury, the Wolverines fought through adversity and battled back for their program’s first-ever victory over Medfield on Monday night. The Wolverines hung on, 9-8, behind a big performance between the pipes from Adourian’s replacement, Peter Rael.
Each team had goals waived off due to crease violations to begin the game, but Medfield entered the half ahead at 6-3, thanks to a pair from Jake Antonucci and one each from Charlie Harrington, Conor Donohue, Connor Deehan, and Ryan Healey.
Medfield cut into the deficit with a goal in the first minute of the third quarter to make it a 6-4 game, but Antonucci and Healey responded for the Wolverines with back-to-back goals on the man-up to make it an 8-4 game midway through the quarter. Corey Strickler cut it to 8-5 for the Warriors before Mike Hauptman finished a cut to the crease with a quick stick off of a feed from Jimmy Cosolito to make it 8-6. Donohue’s second of the game with under a minute to play extended Westwood’s lead back to three at 9-6 but a late tally by Cosolito with .8 seconds to play made it a two-goal game at the end of three at 9-7.
Peter Rael stole the show for Westwood in the fourth quarter, making a series of clutch saves to help preserve the lead for the Wolverines. The Warriors finally put one past Rael with 8:20 to play in regulation with a goal off of a fast break by Jack McCordic to cut the deficit to 9-8. Westwood then killed off an EMO opportunity for Medfield, thanks to a series of pass breakups and a key kick save by Rael.
Medfield recovered possession with under 20 seconds to play and called timeout to set up a play to try and tie the game at nine. Following the timeout, Westwood’s Sheamus McCusker was able to force the ball out of Jake Sherman’s stick off of a well-timed stick check near the crease. Sherman recovered the ball and fired a shot wide of the cage as time expired and the Wolverines hung on for the 9-8 milestone victory to clinch the TVL regular season title.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0, or read his blog at www.flannylive.wordpress.com.