- Scott Barboza, ESPN Staff Writer
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WINCHESTER, Mass. – The boys’ lacrosse teams of Concord-Carlisle and Wellesley have customarily met, as if a rite of spring, in the Division 2 Eastern Mass. tournament each year. Those encounters are always close, evidenced by the Raiders’ 4-3 win in the teams’ first-round playoff matchup last spring.
But, with redistricting taking place this year, Wellesley moved up to Division 1 – meaning there will be no more such postseason classics. That didn’t mean the teams wouldn’t have a chance to renew their rivalry, however, as they met in Thursday’s Coaches Challenge Cup Tournament semifinal.
The Raiders used two early goals from senior midfielder Matt Dziama to build a lead they wouldn’t relinquish as they advanced to Saturday’s championship with an 8-5 win.
“They’re smart, they’re tough, they make it hard on you,” Wellesley head coach Rocky Batty said of the Patriots.
Dziama finished with three goals and an assist to lead all scorers, while fellow midfielder David Jennings also chipped in a pair of goals.
While the Raiders (8-2) never trailed, C-C (4-4) did come back to tie the score at the 7:56 mark of the second quarter on a goal by Will Blumenberg. But Dziama would put the Raiders back in the lead heading into the half, tallying his third goal with 17 remaining.
“John got off to a quick start and we need that because we didn’t do anything after that,” Batty said. “It was kind of walking through mud for a long time.”
Steven Armanetti led the Patriots with a pair of goals, while goaltender Aidan Long made 13 saves.
Wellesley advances to face Dover-Sherborn in Saturday’s championship game (4 p.m. at North Andover H.S.). And, while the Raiders look for another resume-builder, following last weekend’s win over nationally-ranked Cold Spring Harbor of New York, Dziama saw Thursday’s victory as another building block in settling into the offense.
“We’re possessing the ball longer than we had been earlier in the season,” Dziama said. “It’s a great tournament to work on everything. Offensively, we could have done more today, but we possessed the ball and that helped us.”
Semifinal: Dover-Sherborn 15, North Andover 4
After North Andover dealt Lincoln-Sudbury perhaps the biggest upset in state on the early season during its first-round matchup on Tuesday, the Scarlet Knights were hit with a chink in their armor against the Division 3 power.
The Raiders (6-2) turned in a dominant performance, amassing a 7-2 halftime lead with freshman Bailey Laidman ripping off three first-half goals.
“We’re starting to move the ball better,” D-S head coach Brian McLaughlin said. We’re been working at it in practice and trying to get better at it. We started off the season just dodging and trying to shoot and score.
“We’re being more patient, I’d like to see more patience, but we’re getting better at that.”
As a result, the Raiders turned in their highest offensive yield of the season, including four goals from senior attack Grant Gregory as part of a six-point game. It’s an encouraging sign from the all-league player who played his third game back following a broken finger.
“He did a lot of lifting this summer, put on a lot of weight and now he’s trying to catch his wind back because he hasn’t been playing as much,” McLaughlin said. “He’s definitely a threat for us.”
Chris Williams and Will Spangenberg also netted hat tricks for D-S, while John Enright led North Andover (7-4) with two goals.
The Scarlet Knights will play C-C in a consolation game on Saturday (2 p.m.).
Hingham 9, Andover 6
The Coaches Cup presents an early season litmus test to all of its participants and, after dropping its first matchup of the week to Wellesley (9-8), Hingham rebounded with a win that still left head coach John Todd looking for more from his squad.
“They’re quality enough to pressure us and put us in bad situations,” Todd said. “And then we made poor decisions. Some of it was on them, some of it was on us. We did enough to win and we took advantage of some chances, but we’re still making early season mistakes.”
The Harbormen (8-3) struggled on offense at times, but put forward a balanced attack with nine players hitting the score sheet, led by a pair of two-goal games from Caleb Brodie (2 G, 2A) and Matt Giarusso.
In the other half of the field, however, Hingham played the brand of defense Todd has become accustomed to. Goaltender Jack Santilli made 16 saves while All-American long-stick midfielder Jack Ullrich led all players with five ground balls.
“Our defense is extremely strong and our goaltender is phenomenal,” Todd said. “So that kind of works into our strength – not that we’re not worried about teams – but as long as we play the way we’re capable of playing, we should be able to limit other teams.”
Lincoln-Sudbury 17, Winchester 1
In an effort to move past Tuesday’s upset to North Andover (9-8), L-S flexed its offensive muscle, owning play from the onset of its second-round matchup against host Winchester.
The Warriors (7-2) held the Sachems (6-3) scoreless until the 7:19 mark of the third quarter.
Meanwhile, the offense came in bowlfuls for L-S, which had eight different point scorers. Mike O’Connell and Greg Roder (6 points) had four goals apiece, while Eric Holden had three.
Nick Brindisi (2 G) and Harlan Smart each distributed three assists.