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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Arguably two of the most dominant high school lacrosse programs in the state of Massachusetts over the last two decades have been Medfield and Xaverian, with each of the last four state titles residing at either 88 South Street in Medfield (’14, ’15, ’16) or 800 Clapboardtree in Westwood (’13).
On Wednesday, the Warriors (4-2) and Hawks (2-4) faced off on the Medfield High turf and the two heavyweight programs lived up to the hype by delivering an action-packed overtime thriller, with the Warriors coming from down 6-3 at the half to prevail by a final of 10-9.It was all Xaverian in the early going, as the Hawks began the game on a 4-1 run. After Xaverian senior attack-man and Roger Williams commit Jared Grier notched the game’s first goal with 9:24 to play in the first quarter, Medfield senior captain and midfielder Jack Cahill let one rip with the Warriors on the man-up to tie things back up at one. The Hawks would respond with three straight goals, however, as a left-handed rip by Grier gave Xaverian a 4-1 lead with 1:12 remaining in the quarter.
Just 11 seconds after the Hawks extended their lead to 4-1, the Warriors cut the deficit back to just two when sophomore attack-man Owen Murphy fired a crank shot from about 15 yards out to beat Xaverian goaltender Teagan Blum up high to make it a 4-2 game at the end of the first quarter.
The Warriors caught a string of bad luck throughout the majority of the second quarter, as seemingly every open shot they took clanged iron. While the Warriors were busy cracking pipe, the Hawks made due with their chances and extended the lead to 5-2 thanks to a goal by Grier on a fast break. Medfield sophomore midfielder Brian Abely cut the deficit back to two with a right-handed rip with just over two minutes to play in the half. However, the Hawks once again responded thanks to a nice quick-stick pass by Grier just outside the crease to set up Xaverian’s sixth goal of the game with just 22 seconds to play, giving the Hawks a three-goal edge at the half.
Despite being down by three goals, the Warriors knew that they possessed the talent necessary to pull off the comeback, and they immediately took action from the opening draw of the second half. Brian Abely notched his second goal of the game less than a minute into the third quarter to make it a 6-4 game. Less than two minutes after the Abely goal, the Holy Cross commit Cahill also notched his second of the game off of a right-handed rip from 10 yards out, putting Medfield within one at 6-5.
After a big save in net by Medfield goaltender Liam Gately, the Warriors made the clear and set up shop in the Xaverian end. Jack Cahill fed a pass to Owen Murphy, who dodged right off a pick and ripped a shot stick-side to tie the game at six with just over four minutes to play in the third. With just under than two minutes to play in the quarter, sophomore attack-man Mike Hauptman dodged from behind the cage and fired a shot up high to give Medfield its first lead of the game at 7-6, and the Warriors entered the final quarter of play ahead by one.
The Hawks responded in the fourth quarter by netting two goals on the man-up and taking back the lead at 8-7. Cahill and Murphy each scored goals to give Medfield back the lead at 9-8, but a late goal by Xaverian’s Grier tied the game back at nine and forced the match to come down to sudden-death overtime. In the extra frame, Mike Hauptman sent the Medfield fans home happy after driving to the cage and firing a shot off-stick side, as the Warriors completed the comeback and prevailed by a final of 10-9.
The Warriors will look to stick to their winning ways when they face off against Chatham High School (New Jersey) on April 29, while the Hawks will try and get back on track when they host Malden Catholic on April 27.