D1 South: Wellesley 14, B-R 8

WELLESLEY, Mass. – It looked as though Wellesley was going to be in for a dog fight, as No. 5 seed Bridgewater-Raynham grabbed a second-quarter lead in the teams’ Division 1 South quarterfinal on Tuesday. But then the fourth-seeded Raiders found another gear, taking a lead in the final two minutes of the first half that they would not relinquish, en route to a 14-8 win.

“The looks were there in the first half, but we were just playing pretty sloppy,” Wellesley attack John Caraviello said. “We weren’t catching and throwing and our shooting was pretty bad. Then, we came out in the second quarter … Then, we started sharpening up and our offense started to click then.”

Caraviello scored two of his team-high four goals within a six-second span of the second quarter. The tying and go-ahead goals – which put Wellesley (16-4) ahead, 5-4 – scored at 2:14 and 2:08 of the second proved an insurmountable momentum shift from which the Trojans (17-3) would not recover.

“Coming out of the half, we felt like we can play with these guys,” B-R head coach Matt Connolly said. “There’s no doubt about that, but then they went on a little bit of a run.”

The Raiders outscored B-R 5-2 in the third quarter and then distanced themselves scoring four straight goals to start the fourth quarter.

Wellesley advances to play at Duxbury in a section semi-final, Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

In too deep: The Raiders had a more than balanced attack, as nine different players scored goals. While Caraviello and Kerry Lyne (hat trick) paced the offense, no other Wellesley player had more than one goal.

“They were sliding pretty quickly, so when I got a step, I didn’t have anywhere to go,” said Caraviello, who also dished out three assists. “I was just trying to keep my head up and look for Kerry [Lyne] and Brian [Pederson] and the kids around the crease.”

While the Raiders were undaunted in the second half, it was Caraviello’s late string of two goals in six seconds that got Wellesley heading into the break.

After tying the game, Raiders faceoff man Tucker Dietrick (1 G, 1 A) won the draw cleanly, streaking up the middle of the field before dishing off to Caraviello to the side of the cage for the goal. Dietrick went on to win 14 of 19 faceoffs on the day.

“They have a tough faceoff guy and Tucker got those two and moved the ball,” Wellesley head coach Rocky Batty said. “We had looks inside early, but we watched the ball, or we cradled once and they took it out our hands really quickly. Getting those [goals] were a big deal.”

Rahill answers the call: While the game wasn’t in doubt for most of the second half, without Tim Rahill in the cage, things might have been much different for the Raiders.

Rahill made 14 saves – the bulk of which came in the first half. Although B-R attack Travis Reid still got his, leading all scorers with six goals, Wellesley turned up the defensive intensity in front of Rahill, slowing B-R’s offense to a halt in the second half.

“We knew they had two very good players [Reid and Gavin Perry] and they played very well today,” Rahill said, “but just stuck to our slide packages and played though.”

Part of that matchup was left to Wellesley midfielder Matt Dziama, whom Batty praised for his contributions which didn’t show up on the scorehseet.

“Matt is one of the most outstanding short-stick D-middies that I’ve coached,” Batty said. “And when we say we’re going to have to focus on four or five areas of the field, he’s going to be one of those.”

Another step for program: In its sixth year of varsity competition, Connolly can say his squad accomplished many things despite bowing out of the tournament. The Trojans finished their Maritime Conference schedule undefeated for the first time in program history. They also won a tournament game for the second straight season.

“I love this group, they’ve been unbelievable to coach,” Connolly said. “It starts with our senior leadership. Obviously, Travis [Reid] and Gavin [Perry], they get their names in the paper all the time, but our senior leadership, they do all the little things.”