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Cahill, Laidman excite in 10-9 thriller

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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor

Two of the state’s top boys lacrosse programs took to the field for the second and final time in 2017 on Wednesday evening, as the No. 10 Medfield Warriors (10-5) traveled down the road to face off against their arch-rival, the No. 11 Dover-Sherborn Raiders (12-4). DS entered Tuesday night’s tilt on the heels of a five-game winning streak, with their last loss coming to these same Warriors (14-8) on the rain-soaked turf at MHS back on April 25. Meanwhile, the Warriors were looking to rebound following losses in three of their previous four, all to elite competition (Duxbury, TVL-leading Hopkinton twice).

Thanks to an incredible effort in net from Liam Gately (17 saves) and a five-goal performance by senior captain and Holy Cross commit Jack Cahill, the Warriors prevailed by a final of 10-9 despite a strong fourth quarter effort by North Carolina commit Bailey Laidman (three goals, two assists).

The Warriors drew first blood with 8:25 remaining in the first quarter when Cahill let one rip on the man-up. Just over 30 seconds later at 7:52, sophomore midfielder Brian Abely put Medfield up by two with a strong drive to the cage and right-handed finish. Less than two minutes later, Cahill went off for a slash and DS went on the man-up with a chance to cut into the deficit. Gately made a massive stick save on DS’s Michael Mastrobuono, but following a Medfield turnover, Bailey Laidman got the Raiders on the board with a nice fake and dunk over Gately’s stick to make it a 2-1 game with 6:04 remaining in the quarter. With 1:33 remaining in the quarter, Medfield’s Jack McCordic extended the lead back to two goals when he fired home the rebound of a Cahill shot, as the Warriors entered the second quarter ahead at 3-1.

Jack Cahill notched his second tally of the night on a left-handed rip just over a minute into the second quarter, putting the Warriors up by three at 4-1. DS’s Jack Mahoney cut the deficit back to two at 4-2 with 6:32 remaining in the half with a right-handed cannon from 11 yards out. Medfield’s Mike Hauptman responded with a goal coming with just seven seconds left in the quarter to give the Warriors a 5-2 edge at the half.

Medfield got a strong start to the second half with another goal by Hauptman less than a minute in when Jack Cahill found the sophomore attack-man cutting around. Cahill fed a pass to Hauptman who faked and fired a shot into the top-right corner of the net to make it a 6-2 game. DS’s Hunter Gregory got his team back to within three at 6-3 with a crank from 15 yards out with 7:17 remaining, but Cahill responded almost immediately for Medfield off of a nice pass by Tom Schofield, making it a 7-3 game.

Following the Cahill goal, DS went on a big 3-0 run. Timothy Polk made it 7-4 off a cut to the middle and left-handed finish before John Dillon dodged and finished strong with a money shot short side. Less than 10 seconds after the Dillon goal, senior LSM Zach Gustafson scooped a ground ball on a faceoff win by Joe Paolatto, ran up the field, and fired a bouncer that beat Gately to make it a 7-6 game with 3:30 remaining in the third.

Kyle Keegan put an end to the DS run with 2:36 remaining in the quarter when he cut to the middle, received a slick pass from Cahill and fired it off-stick side on DS goaltender Ross Barnard (12 saves) to make it an 8-6 game at the end of three.

Bailey Laidman cut it back to a one-goal game for DS just 39 seconds into the fourth quarter following a strong dodge and drive, finishing up high with a missile to the top-right corner of the net. With 6:45 remaining in regulation, Laidman struck again as he cut to the middle and fired another cannon that went bar-in, tying the game at nine and sending the DS bench into a frenzy.

With 3:58 left and the game knotted at nine, Jack Cahill gave Medfield back the lead by cutting in from up top and firing a right-handed bouncer off-stick side. DS would win the ensuing draw and set up shop in the Medfield end in search of the tying goal. Michael Mastrobuono came within an inch of knotting the game at 10 for DS when he cut to the cage from up top and ripped a shot off the pipe. DS would win the race to the ball out of bounds, but a massive stick save by Gately on Bailey Laidman with 1:46 to play gave Medfield back possession with a chance to run out the clock. The Warriors got the ball to their main man, Jack Cahill, in the final minutes of regulation, who ran around and around the cage thanks to a series of picks and screens until the clock hit all zeros, and the Warriors prevailed with the one-goal win.

Following their win over DS on Wednesday, the Warriors returned to action on Saturday night for a non-conference showdown against Pinkerton Academy (NH). Sophomore attack-man and Johns Hopkins commit Owen Murphy (four goals, five assists) led Medfield to a come-from-behind 13-12 victory in overtime to finish their four-game non-Massachusetts slate at 2-2, with wins coming over Pinkerton and Shenendehowa (NY), and losses coming to Ridgefield (CT) and Chatham (NJ).

Trailing 12-10 with 1:26 remaining in regulation, Murphy fired home a goal to pull the Warriors within one at 12-11. With 26 seconds remaining and still down a goal, Murphy found senior midfielder Mark Nevins streaking towards the cage and delivered a crisp pass that Nevins corralled and fired into the back of the cage to knot the game at 12 and send it to overtime.

Following a scoreless extra frame, the game headed into a second overtime period. Owen Murphy delivered the game-winning dagger 1:56 into the extra period on a crank from 10 yards away, completing the comeback for Medfield and moving their overall record to 11-5.

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