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Raiders capture seventh straight Central/East title

Captains Pierce Gregory (3), Ford Pegram (15), Luke Wiese (30) and the rest of the Raiders pose with their sectional championship trophy and banner. Photos by Mike Flanagan.

By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor

The reigning Division III state champion and top-seeded Dover-Sherborn Raiders found themselves in a dogfight with No. 2 Medway in the first half of Thursday afternoon’s Central/East sectional final. 

“Medway pushed us,” said DS head coach Brian McLaughlin after the game. “They play so hard and go to the net. They made us do a lot of different things to try and stop them. We had to keep changing things and the kids adjusted well.”

Despite a pair of first-half hat-tricks by Ben Teich (five goals, three assists) and Pierce Gregory (three goals, three assists), the Raiders found themselves ahead at only 8-5 at halftime after Sean Murphy and Nathan VanSaun (three goals, one assist) piloted a 4-1 run to end the half for the Mustangs. 

Ultimately, adjustments were made and Dover-Sherborn’s talent took over in the final two quarters. With his team leading 11-7, Brad Peterson (six goals, three assists) took over the game with four fourth quarter goals - and six total in the second half. Peterson’s clutch performance late, along with Teich’s fifth of the day, sealed a 16-7 victory and the seventh straight Central/East sectional title for DS.

“It was a great team effort,” said Peterson on the win. “I thought maybe we came out a little flat but really brought it through towards the end, and that’s really all that mattered. My teammates like Ben Teich, Pierce Gregory and all the middies did a great job dodging and getting me the ball. All the thanks goes to my teammates for getting me those opportunities.”

When the going got tough, the Raiders stepped up and outscored the Mustangs 8-2 in the final two quarters. McLaughlin credited his team’s toughness and coachability for their late-game success.

“I’m excited for the kids, they worked really hard for this,” said McLaughlin on the win. "Brad [Peterson] had a couple big finishes there at the end, which was nice, and [Ben] Teich had a great game. The defense really stepped up in that second half, and I thought we did a good job of winning ground-ball battles. I thought we did a lot better at the face-off X than the last time we faced Medway, especially late. The wing play was excellent. We’ve had some alumni come back and work with our wings in practice, and I thought it showed today.”

At the time of print, the Raiders will take on North champ Newburyport on June 27 in the state semifinals. If victorious, DS will head back to the Division III state championship game on July 1 to face the winner of South champ Scituate and Central/West champ Wahconah. 

For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.

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