Ronan Fahey (2) cuts into the middle during his three-goal and five-assist performance in Monday's 12-9 quarterfinal win at Foxborough. Photos by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
A dominant effort at the face-off X by Colin Birch (18-of-22) along with an eight-point night by Ronan Fahey (3g, 5a) helped Walpole High School boys varsity lacrosse pull off the first big upset of the Division II Central/East playoffs on Monday.
The No. 7 Timberwolves (7-6) took out Hockomock Davenport Division co-champ and No. 2 Foxborough by a final of 12-9 to advance to Wednesday’s sectional semifinal against No. 3 Concord-Carlisle.
“It was definitely a game of runs,” said Walpole head coach Jason Andalo on the win. “We came out fantastic and then got a couple penalties. Foxborough is a good team and they started capitalizing on it. Then we went on a couple runs and ultimately, I think we were kind of lucky to get out with the win today.”
Walpole opened the game on a 5-1 run before back-to-back goals by Conor Noone and a man-up goal by Anthony Sulham trimmed the deficit down to 5-4 for the Warriors (11-4, 9-1). A steal by Ronan Fahey on a clear by Foxboro goalie Adam Addeche was finished at the crease by David Pacella with less than a minute remaining in the quarter to give Walpole a 6-4 lead at the end of one.
“It was encouraging,” said Andalo on his team’s response after Foxboro fought their way back to within a goal. “We had some games this year where we weren’t able to finish the job and let a few leads slip away. To do it against a good team like that in the state tournament is good. It only gets harder from here, but that was big for us.”
Fahey continued to facilitate the offense early in the second quarter, assisting on back-to-back goals by Declan Hunter as Walpole pushed the lead to 8-4. Back-to-back lefty rockets by Noone cut the deficit to 8-6 for Foxboro, but Tim Sullivan answered in the final minute with a goal from the center-box to push Walpole’s lead to 9-6 at halftime.
A fast-paced and high-scoring first half was countered with a conservative third quarter. Max Beigel’s second of the night trimmed the deficit to 9-7 for Foxboro early in the third. The score stayed that way until Sullivan answered with a quick-to-stick finish off a feed from Fahey to make it 10-7.
Noone’s fourth of the day at the tail-end of the third, followed by a bouncer on the man-up by Noone, brought Foxboro to within a goal midway through the fourth. Off the ensuing face-off win by Birch, Pacella answered with a rocket up high to push the lead back to a pair at 11-9. Walpole chewed up some clock before Fahey put home an empty-netter with 50 seconds remaining to seal it.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.