Boston High School: Matt Dziama

D1 South: Wellesley 14, B-R 8

June, 4, 2014
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.”

Coaches Cup final: No. 14 D-S 8, No. 9 Wellesley 7

April, 27, 2014
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.
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.

Recap: Lincoln-Sudbury 5, Wellesley 3

April, 4, 2014
SUDBURY, Mass. – In recent memory, both Lincoln-Sudbury and Wellesley lacrosse have been staples in making deep runs in their respective divisions.

However, as Wellesley steps up to Division 1 from the D2 ranks this season, the Raiders got a sample of what they’ll encounter if they want to make another postseason drive in Thursday’s matchup with the Warriors.

Although Wellesley tried its best to draw even with a third-quarter comeback, L-S held on for a 5-3 win.

The defending Division 1 state finalists never trailed in the contest and ran out to a 2-0 lead at the end of the first on goals by Austin Barta and Chris Brindisi. Mike O’Connell added a third goal before the Raiders’ Tucker Dietrick broke up the shutout with less than three minutes to play in the half.

Wellesley (1-1) made its run in the third, winning the ground ball battle in the frame, 6-2. After Nick Brindisi’s goal gave L-S (2-0) its largest lead of the day at 4-1, the Raiders drew within a goal again on tallies from John Caraviello and Kerry Lyne.

Yet, the Warriors responded with a nice cutting goal from Colby Hall with Eric Holden hitting the University of Denver commit midstride on the feed.

Despite a couple of hit posts from both sides, the fourth quarter closed

“I think L-S is a little more toward mid-season and we’re a little more toward preseason,” Wellesley head coach Rocky Batty said. “I think there was a bunch to learn from today.”

X-factor: Wellesley’s third-quarter run came via a recommitment to winning ground balls in the midfield, accompanied by a slight variation in offensive attack.

“One of the places we had trouble with ground balls was at the faceoff X,” Batty said. “Tucker [Dietrick] did a good job of winning the draws, but John Sexton was just so tough in saying, ‘I lost the draw, but I’m going to win the ball.’

Both of the Raiders’ third-quarter goals came off of defensive ground ball wins. Then, in the offensive half of the field, they were able to get clean looks at the cage.

“We won the ground balls and we changed our strategy to go after their poles,” Batty said. “We just went for three, four straight possessions and we had some success.”

Closing stride: With several of its offensive mainstays out due to injury and facing a Wellesley side which was coming off an impressive 18-goal performance against Billerica, L-S looked to its defensive stalwarts to shut down a potent Raiders’ attack.

Enter Notre Dame-bound long-stick midfielder John Sexton.

“He played great,” Warriors head coach Brian Vona said of Sexton, “and he played against a great player in [attack Matt] Dziama – he’s the real deal.”

While Sexton turned in a multifaceted performance, slowing down one of Wellesley’s chief offensive threats and stepping in on face-off duty, it was put upon Matt Barker in close defense to mitigate the impact of Caraviello, who put in seven goals against Billerica previously. In a matchup of future Trinity College teammates, Barker disrupted the flow of the Raiders’ offense throughout, particularly in the fourth quarter, with the Warriors buckling down to close out the victory.

Recap: Needham 42, Wellesley 18

November, 24, 2011

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- The Needham Rockets clinched the Bay State Conference Carey Division title, and earned their second playoff berth in three seasons, after defeating their archrival Wellesley Raiders, 42-18, on Thanksgiving morning.

"It’s nice to win on Thanksgiving, especially for the senior class," said Needham head coach Dave Duffy. “I’m glad that they came out of here with a win, and I’m glad they’re going to the playoff’s.”

The Rockets were lead on offense by Nico Panepinto, who totaled three touchdowns. Defensively, Ronnie Rosser led the way with three interceptions.

But it was Wellesley (2-9) who scored the games first points with 3:54 remaining in the first quarter, on a 65-yard screen pass from Matt Pini to Dan Elfman.

Needham (8-3) scored twice before the end of the quarter, Panepinto scoring the Rockets first TD on a busted reverse. The Wellelsey defense read the play well, but Panepinto used some skill to avoid a tackle, and broke the play back across the field for a 16-yard touchdown run.

“I got the ball and immediately there was a guy right in my face,” said Panepinto. “I cut back and it completely opened up, it was a little bit of luck and a little bit of cutback.”

After the Rockets' defense forced a three-and-out from Wellesley, Needham went to their playmaking tight end Mark Riley for a 61-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Ryan Charter to give Needham a 14-6 lead after one.

On the first play of the second quarter Dan Pierce caught a 32 yard touchdown pass from Charter to give the Rockets a 21-6 lead.

It looked like Needham was pulling away from Wellesley for good, until Pini hit Matt Dziama over the middle half way through the second quarter and Dizama took it 71 yards to the house.

Panepinto scored his second touchdown of the day with 4:14 left in the first half with a leaping catch on the goal like to catch a 20 yard pass for the score giving Needham a 28-12 halftime lead.

Wellesley scored early in the second half when senior running back Alex Pernokas went 25 yards untouched up the middle for a touchdown cutting Needham’s lead to 10.

Panepinto scored his third touchdown of the game in midway through the fourth quarter, catching the ball on the one yard line and diving for the pylon with a defender on his back for a 30 yard score.

Rosser had the last score of the game when he returned his third interception of the game for a 55 yard touchdown and a 42-18 final.

“I just wanted to score,” Rosser said of his first varsity touchdown. “It feels good, coming into this game I didn’t think I’d grab three picks.”

The Rockets will face New Bedford on Tuesday evening in the Division 1 Playoff’s.

As a Team: After suffering season ending injuries to their starting quarter, Drew Burnett and playmaking running back, Ian Riley, the Rockets have continued to play strong and will be playing post-season football for the second time in three seasons. Coach Dave Duffy credits that to his senior class.

“There is only one other class that I can think of that was part of two Bay State winning teams and went to the playoff’s,” said Duffy. “I’m excited for the seniors and I wish Drew and Ian were with us, but they’re still helping us.”

“We always want to do it for Drew and Ian,” said Rockets senior captain Mike Vespa. “Were a big family, we’ve been playing together for years and we want to do it for each other.”