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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
For the last four years, maybe no other player has meant more to their respective lacrosse team in the state of Massachusetts than DS’ Bailey Laidman. Having committed to North Carolina when the attack-man was just a freshman, it’s safe to say that in 2014, the pressure was on Laidman to keep the winning lacrosse tradition going at DS throughout the next four years.
On Tuesday, Laidman and the Raiders fell to Grafton 7-6 in triple overtime in the Division III state semifinals, thus putting an end to their 2017 season and Laidman’s incredible high school career. On Wednesday, it was announced that Laidman was voted to the Boston Globe’s All-Scholastic lacrosse team for the third straight season, a feat that very few players in a state as rich with lacrosse talent as Massachusetts is have ever been able to do.
Laidman and the 2017 senior class go out as two-time Division III state champions (2015, 2016), and three-time Division III Central/East Sectional champions (2015, 2016, 2017).
Junior attack-man Jack Dillon got the Raiders on the board first on Tuesday, receiving a pass from junior midfielder Michael Mastrobuono and firing a shot low for the early 1-0 Raider lead. Grafton would respond with two goals in the final 4:23 to take a 2-1 lead into the second quarter.
Dillon gave the Raiders the response they needed with 6:02 remaining in the half on a left-handed bouncer, tying the game at two. Grafton seized back the lead at 3-2 just over 30 seconds later with 5:30 remaining in the half on the man-up, but DS responded with goals by Laidman on an absolute rocket with 3:20 remaining and Timothy Polk with just 27 seconds left to play in the half. Thanks to the goals by Laidman and Polk, the Raiders entered the half ahead at 4-3.
Grafton netted a pair of goals to begin the second half, taking a 5-4 lead with 2:58 left in the third. Senior captain Jack Mahoney knotted the game at five with a right-handed rip following a nice feed from Mastrobuono with 1:36 to play, and the game entered the fourth tied at five.
The Raiders surrendered a goal to Grafton on the man-up in the early minutes of the fourth quarter, but Polk’s second of the contest tied the game at six with nine minutes to play. Both teams traded missed opportunities throughout the remainder of the quarter, and regulation concluded with the game still tied, meaning that sudden death overtime would determine who advanced on to the Division III state finals.
Despite having his vision restricted due to poison ivy on his face, DS senior goaltender Ross Barnard could not have been more clutch in overtime for the Raiders, and the vision restriction due to the swelling on his eyes seemed to have very little effect. Barnard snagged two massive saves in the first overtime, but DS was unable to cash in with the game-winning goal on their ensuing possessions, thus forcing a second overtime. Barnard made an incredible leg save to begin the second overtime after Grafton won the opening draw and rushed in on a fast break, keeping DS’s season alive. With a minute to play in the second overtime, DS got the ball to Bailey Laidman but the UNC commit was swarmed by a pack of Grafton defenders and was unable to get a shot off, and the game headed to a third overtime still knotted at six.
In the third overtime, Grafton was finally able to put one past Barnard on a left-handed drive and low finish on the left side of the cage to win the game 7-6, putting the demons they’ve had against DS throughout these last three seasons to rest.