MARSHFIELD, Mass. –- In a tournament game between a No. 1 and a No. 17 seed, the thought of a blowout victory isn’t all that unbelievable.
However, during the third quarter of Friday’s Division 1 boys’ lacrosse first-round matchup between No. 1 Marshfield and No. 17 Lincoln-Sudbury, it was the underdog who was threatening to run away, taking a five-goal lead.
The previously undefeated Rams showed their mettle, pulling within two goals before the third was over. But undisciplined play and the relentless Warrior attack were simply too much for Marshfield to overcome and, in the end, L-S handed the Rams their first loss of the season in a 14-12 win.
“We’ve just had kids stepping up all the time [this season],” Warriors head coach Brian Vona said. “I’ve been coaching a long time, but it’s been amazing to see these kids step up.”
For most of the season, L-S (12-8) has been playing with up to eight sophomores and three freshmen. The Warriors have also battled injuries, loosing top offensive threat senior attack Marc Pace for the season.
Another of those players who missed time this season was midfielder Dan Delaney, who missed four games after sustaining injuries in a freak accident at church. The sophomore, like most of his underclassmen teammates, have had to carry a greater burden of the load for L-S.
But things might be coming together at the right time.
Delaney helped spearhead the Warriors’ offensive explosion against Marshfield (20-1), scoring three goals and adding six assists. Meanwhile, senior captain Connor Hall scored five goals (four of which came in the first half) to go along with an assist and senior midfielder Dylan Pike had a four-point game with a pair of goals and assists. Freshman Colby Hall chipped in two goals, as did sophomore midfielder Henry Guild.
“We knew they ran a zone, so we would kind of spread it out, and look for the open man,” Delaney said. “And I just saw my guys open.”
L-S took a 6-5 lead into halftime and started to pour in on during the third quarter, when the Rams were whistled for 11 penalties. Using three of their man-up situations to their advantage, the Warriors widened their lead to five scores.
“They really out-disciplined us,” Marshfield head coach Rick Bagby said.
However, the Rams showed the resiliency that had carried them through a perfect regular season scoring three goals in just over a minute to reduce the deficit to two goals.
Ryan Connors popped in two unassisted goals and Connor Bagby scored with an assist from Matt Entwhistle.
The Warriors pushed the lead back to three with Colby Hall’s with eight seconds remaining in the third.
L-S held on despite surrendering four goals – two each from Mike Carbone and John Powers – in the fourth while receiving two goals from Pike and Delaney capping the evening with his hat trick tally.
“Coming into this game, we thought rankings didn’t matter, we were just going to play another team and play our game,” Delaney said.
The Warriors will face the winner of tomorrow’s first-round game between Framingham and St. John’s Prep in the quarterfinal on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Rams are left to wonder what could’ve gone differently.
“The seniors were such a special group,” Bagby said. “They’ve been together … since about the third grade they’ve been playing together. It’s going to be hard to replicate that group.”