HANOVER, Mass. -- Once the MIAA released its pairings for the Div. 3 East tournament, Weston head coach Jim Wilcon knew there was a chance his Wildcats would face Norwell in the quarterfinals.
“When I saw the draw, I said, ‘Oh, we may have to go against Norwell if we win a couple games,’ [and] that I knew was going to be tough,” Wilcon said. “Whether we [seek] revenge or whether we weren’t healthy the first time, none of that matters [because] they’re a great team.”
Norwell defeated Weston earlier this season, but struggled to keep pace with the Wildcats on Monday, as they transformed a three-goal halftime advantage into a 12-8 victory at Hanover High School to claim a spot in the semifinals on Thursday.
“I think it was just two good teams battling tonight, and we just got a couple breaks that went our way, and we got some momentum and stayed on top,” added Wilcon.
Weston’s Joey Pasquale powered the Wildcats attack with four strikes and Geoffrey Ziobro added three tallies, while Jordan Fong handed out three assists in the win.
“We came out hungry today,” exclaimed Pasquale. “We came off a loss against Norwell [three weeks ago] and we [wanted] our revenge because we know that we can compete with these guys, we can win this game, so we came out firing and I guess that we were just hungrier that they were today.”
“Norwell’s got a lot of firepower, and what we’ve been trying to do all season is get our possessions and get quality possessions and I think that was really one of the big keys that we got quality possessions and got the looks that we were looking for,” Ziobro added.
Both teams swapped leads for a majority of the opening frame, but after Norwell used one of its timeouts, Weston’s offense rattled off three consecutive tallies to secure a 5-2 lead at the break.
“We [knew we] could compete with these guys, we can beat these guys obviously, and to go out there and play our game,” Pasquale said of his opponent’s first-quarter timeout. “[We needed to] pass the ball, have good shots, and we will win the game when the clock runs out.”
Weston padded its lead once the second half started, as Pasquale recorded his third and fourth goals in the third quarter before the Wildcats constructed a 3-0 run to begin the fourth quarter. Ziobro, Jay Mussina and Adam Guerin each recorded a strike during the final frame before Norwell answered with a 5-0 run to conclude Monday’s contest.
“Our guys came to play, and we were ready and it was nice to be healthy. I think this was the first time we’re healthy – everybody’s healthy all year, so it was the right time for us, and again it was just a great game between two great teams and back and fourth a little bit, and I think we just made a couple more plays than they did,” said Wilcon.
Weston’s Offensive Firepower: Despite a back and fourth first quarter, Weston’s offense came to life after Pasquale netted his second goal at 1:50. The Wildcats complimented their teammate’s effort by producing nine additional tallies off ground balls, transitions and dodges to secure their third tournament victory.
“Our whole offense today was amazing, so I think that it’s a perfect time for us to be clicking right now going into [our next game against North Reading],” said Pasquale.
“I think when we take our time and share the ball, we have a lot of guys that have offensive skills, so we’re very good at being unselfish and making sure we make the extra pass, so I think that was really just part of it, and the momentum just started to build from there and we just kept it going,” said Wilcon.
Norwell’s Rally Comes Up Short: With eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, and Weston leading, 12-3, Norwell attempted to erase the deficit, but only mustered five goals before the final whistle sounded. Daniel Lockwood recorded two tallies, while Williams Waters, Joe Ricciuti, and Cabot Noyce notched one strike.
“I think that when the score gets to 12-3, you’re kind of check out a little bit, but I had to pull the troops together, and tell them that we’re not moving on until that clock hits zero, and it’s a little disappointing that we let those five goals in, but in the end we pulled it together, so I’m just glad we got the win,” Pasquale said.