SUDBURY, Mass. - Something wasn't right with Jordan Dow.
During the past few weeks, the Lincoln-Sudbury senior attackman was having trouble getting into a rhythm with his teammates. His coach, Brian Vona, said the two-sport athlete couldn't even score goals in practice. Before the Warriors' game against Billerica in the Division 1 East lacrosse quarterfinals, Dow decided to shake things up and go through a pregame routine he uses during hockey season.
Dow scored three goals and had seven assists against the Indians, as Lincoln-Sudbury cruised to a 14-1 win. With the victory, the Warriors advanced to the Division 1 East semifinals, which will be played on Saturday against Dual County League rival Acton-Boxborough.
“I prepared a little differently today. I went back to some of my hockey preparations, some of the routines that I did there. Things just clicked for me today. It's one of those things that you can't really put a finger on,” Dow said. “I just got out of it today, and hopefully it can continue from here.”
The Warriors put on a steady attack against an overmatched Billerica team, which spent most of the game in its own end. After testing the Indians' zone defense in the first half, Lincoln-Sudbury exploded in the third quarter with five goals – two of which came while a man up.
Dow netted all three of his goals in the third quarter. Chris Giorgio and Dan Delaney also scored during the period to put the score at 11-1.
The Indians, who began to sense a tide change, started getting extra aggressive with the Warriors and picked up a few penalties on some extracurricular pushing. John Merwin, a junior midfielder for Lincoln-Sudbury, said he could feel the momentum start to turn.
“When we really play together, we begin to notice that other teams start to fade away and turn on each other,” said Merwin, who had three goals in the game. “Once that started to happen, once it got a little chippy, we decided to stay together and play our game, and our offense moved the ball better than we've seen in awhile, and that's what we need going into this type of tournament.”
Lincoln-Sudbury put up another three goals in the fourth quarter, including a quick finish by Jake Klein, a junior attackman who game off the bench. It was Klein's first goal of the season.
Vona, whose Warriors squeaked by Billerica, 10-7, on May 6, knew his team needed to figure out a way to break through the Indians' zone defense, which tends to slow down the pace of the game.
“We practiced for the zone, and the kids moved the ball around well today. Ironically, we didn't do it so well in practice the last couple of days, but that's the way coaching goes,” he said. “We practiced for a couple of different looks, they gave us those looks … and they gave us the opportunities.”
Billerica goalie and UMass commit D.J. Smith slowed the Warrior attack through the first few minutes of the first quarter and made two point-blank saves on torso-level shots. Lincoln-Sudbury broke through with 7:14 left in the quarter when senior attackman Matt Hall went top shelf off an assist from Dow. The Warriors picked up another goal three minutes later when Greg Roder sidearmed a rocket to the top-right corner to put the score at 2-0.
Lincoln-Sudbury scored two more goals with less than two minutes left in the quarter – one on a quick-stick goal from Merwin and another from Hall, who hammered home a pass from Dow with 13 seconds left. The Warriors picked up where they left off in the second quarter when Hall scored an awkward goal on a pass that bounced off Smith's stick and rolled between the pipes. Merwin put the Warriors up 6-0 with 5:39 left in the half.
“They have some great athletes, they have a great team, and they're a force to be reckoned with,” said Billerica head coach Craig Flynn. “They can all move the ball really well. They don't have one-handed players – those guys play righty and lefty. … We put ourselves in a hole right away. It was one of those days where nothing bounced right.”
Billerica's only goal in the game came on an unassisted strike from senior caption Sean Farmer with 1:17 left in the first half.
The Indians, who entered the tournament as a No. 8 seed, will graduate 19 seniors.
“Our seniors have had a great four years and have a lot to be proud of,” Flynn said. “They were [Merrimack Valley Conference] champions four years straight. [Smith] was an All-American, he's had a great career here, and now he's going to UMass-Amherst. Those guys have a lot to be proud of.”