HANOVER, Mass. -- The Hanover boys lacrosse team can string together goals in a hurry. On a rainy, windy and cold Monday evening, the Indians proved that they were capable of surviving similar spurts from their opponents.
Sophomore Drexel-commit Dustin Vitagliano scored six goals, four in the third quarter, and No. 5 Hanover was able to hold off a late surge by No. 20 Cohasset to escape with a 14-12 victory in a Division 3 quarterfinal round matchup.
Hanover (14-5) will face top seed Dover-Sherborn, an 8-6 victor over Medway, in Friday's semifinals (5 p.m.).
"We have the ability to score in bunches and it gets our defense pumped up and everything just kind of works off of that," explained Indians coach Paul Zaylor. "We seem to put together little runs. We started the game with a little run, then Dustin had his little run in the third quarter and it seems like its enough to carry us."
The little run to start the game occurred as Hanover reeled off the game's first four goals, the last of which came courtesy of a strong ride that forced a Skippers (7-12) turnover and resulted in a transition tally for Chris Rosinski.
Cohasset, which struggled during the regular season while much of its roster remained on the sidelines for long stretches, dug down and forced a turnover of its own and cashed in with a score by Nick Tangherlini late in he first quarter.
After an extra-man goal by Hanover's Jon Nassif, the Skippers ripped four-goal run of its own, capped by another transition score off a turnover by Charlie Neaves. Each team added one more, then Vitagliano kicked himself into gear.
The sophomore managed to stick one in just ahead of the halftime horn, then opened the third with a spectacular series of stick fakes to pull the goalie out of position for another score. Cohasset got two of the next three, but Hanover closed out the frame with three straight, two off the stick of Vitagliano, to take a 12-8 advantage.
"Usually when they're giving me a hard time and hacking me in there, I throw a little fake to get them off me," Vitagliano explained. "Sometimes it works and I get it in for a goal. It really just helps me keep my hands open."
The inevitable charge by the Skippers took place in the fourth as Chris Carpenter, Cole Kissick and Tim Gillis each scored to pull Cohasset back to within a goal at 12-11, but Vitagliano put the stick-fakes to work once more and stuck in his sixth for what proved to a crucial insurance goal. Each team would add more to close out the scoring.
"They knew that they had to come out and play hard for 48 minutes because we knew that Cohasset, despite the record, is just a darn good team," Zaylor said. "Our kids were just ready today. They really have started to get the hunger of lets make something happen this season. I was really proud of the effort they put in. We had the lead, wilted a bit, but they didn't give up when Cohasset made their runs. We're pretty well rounded but I'll tell you, when our defense had to step up today they did."