NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The fifth annual Coaches Challenge Cup concluded on Saturday at North Andover High School. After a full week of action-packed lacrosse, pitting eight of the state’s top lacrosse programs against each other, it would be Wellesley and Dover-Sherborn who would take the field in the Championship game.
In a classic duel of conflicting lacrosse styles it would be Dover-Sherborn who would claim the Championship as they defeated Wellesley, 8-7.
D-S, which defeated North Andover, 15-4, in Thursday’s semifinal, likes to play at a faster pace than the calculated and defensive oriented Wellesley team, who defeated Concord-Carlisle, 8-5, in Thursday’s other semifinal game.
With the game tied at 6-6 at the half, Dover-Sherborn would hold Wellesley to just one second half goal. The D-S defense buckled down behind the stellar play of goalie Jack Fontaine and the stingy defensive team led by the close defensive group of Rogers Boylan. Chase Hyde and Mark Czeisler.
“Coach [Gene] Zanella is the defensive mastermind for us”, D-S head coach Brian McLaughlin said after the game. “He is the one who tells them where to go. I think we may have been out-thinking ourselves at the beginning and then we went back to our base defense, started sliding regular and did a better job in the second half.”
In a true back and forth first half that saw 12 tie or lead changes, both teams had their shining moments offensively.
Wellesley received big first halves from John Caraviello and Kerry Lyne as the duo hooked up on two separate occasions with Caraviello scoring on two pretty goals, both assisted by Lyne. Lyne also added his own score to help spark the Wellesley offense early.
D-S was led offensively by middie Chris Williams and attack Grant Gregory, who each netted a pair of first half goals and continued their explosive weeks for D-S.
“Early in the season the offense was still looking for our identity,” Gregory said. “I think after that game we regrouped, found ourselves and we are really starting to click right now.”
Gregory (4G, 1A) would score both D-S goals in the second, with the first one coming early in the third quarter on a pass from Will Spangenberg (1G, 1 A) to tie the game at 7-7. Gregory would also add the eventual game-winner late in the third quarter.
The Boston University commit has taken his game to another level this season after returning recently from an early season injury.
“It is nice to have him back, that is for sure,” McLaughlin said of his star attackman. “He was dialed in out there for us today.”
Gregory concluded his three game Coaches Cup week with 11 goals and three assists. Williams, freshman attack Bailey Laidman, and Spangenberg also had high output weeks for D-S.
Wellesley received strong efforts on the day from middie Matt Dziama (2 G), LSM Sean Mathews, and defenseman T.J. Noonan.
In earlier Coaches Cup action, North Andover defeated Concord-Carlisle, 8-7, in the third place game. Attack Matthew Moody paced the North Andover offense with four goals and Pat O’Connor had a strong game in the cage for the Scarlet Knights.
Lincoln-Sudbury defeated Hingham, 9-3, in the fifth-place game and Andover squeaked out a 7-6 win in the seventh place match-up.