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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Despite a malfunctioning scoreboard, the stadium lights flickering on and off throughout the game, and some harsh rain, the Medfield and Dover-Sherborn Regional High School varsity lacrosse teams renewed their intense rivalry and delivered an action-packed grudge match on Tuesday night at MHS. The Warriors (5-2, 4-0) were able to prevail by a final of 14-8 over the Raiders (6-3, 4-1) thanks to a monster second half by Medfield senior captain and Holy Cross commit, Jack Cahill (three goals, four assists), as well as a hat trick and three-assist effort by senior attack-man Mark Nevins.
Junior midfielder Michael Mastrobuono gave the Raiders an early 1-0 lead with a right-handed rip from five yards out less than three minutes into the contest. DS senior goaltender Ross Barnard stood tall in the early going, turning away a shot off-stick side by Jack Cahill and taking another off the right shin from Owen Murphy. The game remained 1-0 in favor of DS halfway through the quarter. However, the Warriors finally broke through with about three minutes remaining in the quarter when Mark Nevins fired one high short side to beat Barnard and knot the game at one. The Raiders responded with another goal from Mastrobuono with less than 10 seconds remaining in the quarter to take a 2-1 lead at the end of one.
Senior midfielder Jack Fitzgerald tied the game at two in the first minute of the second quarter on a fast break for Medfield. However, after DS set up shop in the Medfield end about two minutes later, North Carolina commit Bailey Laidman fed a pass to John Dillon who cut in towards the crease, dove, and snuck the ball through the legs of Medfield goaltender Liam Gately to reclaim the lead for DS at 3-2.
Three minutes following the Dillon goal for DS, Mark Nevins notched his second tally of the game with a rip from about 10 yards out to tie the game back up at three, but DS sophomore attack-man Timothy Polk gave DS back the lead just a minute and thirty seconds later with a low left-handed shot that squeaked its way through a sprawling Gately. Following a series of incredible saves by Ross Barnard, a man-up crank by Jack Cahill in the final minute of the second quarter allowed the game to enter halftime tied at four.
The Warriors made some adjustments at the half in the defensive end, and one of those adjustments was to give even less space than they had to DS’ most potent offensive weapon, Bailey Laidman. The strategy worked wonders for the Warriors, as despite working his way around the cage through screens and pick plays during the first few DS possession of the second half, Laidman was unable to get off a shot due to constant pressure or being tied up with one or two Warrior long poles in his face. Following a turnover in the DS end, Jack Cahill ripped home his second of the night to give Medfield its first lead of the contest at 5-4 approximately four minutes into quarter three. Nevins completed the hat trick less than two minutes later when he fired a right-handed shot through the legs of Barnard to give Medfield a two-goal edge at 6-4. However, Jack Mahoney got the Raiders back to within one at 6-5 on their next possession with a right-handed crank shot from about fifteen yards out.
Following the goal by Mahoney, Medfield senior midfielder Kyle Keegan notched his first tally of the night after he stepped into one from about 10 yards out, and the Warriors went back up by two at 7-5. Less than a minute later, Jack Cahill broke in on a fast break and dished a sweet little no-look pass to Brian Abely at the top of the crease, who faked high and shot low into the back of the net to put Medfield up by three at 8-5. In the final minute of the third quarter, Michael Mastrobuono completed his hat trick when he cut in from the top of the box and beat Gately five-hole to get DS back to within two at the end of three quarters of play at 8-6.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Warriors, as Cahill and the gang were able to put away the Raiders with a 6-2 run to conclude the game. Cahill found Kyle Keegan wide open on the edge of the crease less than a minute into the quarter to put DS ahead 9-6 before firing home a crank shot of his own from about 12 yards out to give the Warriors a four-goal edge at 10-6. Cahill would add another assist on Owen Murphy’s goal with made it 11-6 before DS cut the deficit back to 11-7. However, it was too much to overcome for the Raiders, as the Warriors would pot three more goals on the rain-soaked turf and prevail by a final of 14-8.
It’s hard to find moral victories in this rivalry, as these two teams share little love for one another. When DS and Medfield meet on the lacrosse field, you either win or you lose. However, despite having their most lethal offensive weapon be double-teamed throughout almost the entire game in Bailey Laidman, the Raiders were able to hang tough with their arch-enemies, thanks to guys like Michael Mastrobuono, Jack Mahoney, and Ross Barnard really stepping up.
Circle May 17 on your calendar, because it's going to be a wild time when the Warriors visit the Raiders for the second and final meeting this season.