DOVER, Mass. - On Friday night, Medfield made history by beating Duxbury for the first time, but rather than allow himself to be carried away by the accomplishment Warriors coach John Isaf immediately began talking about the next game on the schedule.
Medfield went into Tuesday night’s rematch with Dover-Sherborn at Nora Searle Field having already clinched a share of the Tri-valley League title by virtue of an 18-7 win in April. But, the Warriors did not want two names on the TVL championship -- they wanted a second straight outright title.
“We shared my first two years and I don’t like sharing,” said Isaf with a smile. “I’m sure Coach Mac [Dover-Sherborn coach Brian McLaughlin] doesn’t like sharing either. It was good to get two in a row with outright titles; it’s important to the guys.”
Knowing that there was bound to be a reaction from the Raiders (13-3) in response to the first meeting, Isaf made sure that his team was prepared for the hosts to be fired up and to not allow a letdown after Friday’s history-making win.
“These guys did a great job putting it behind them over the weekend,” said Isaf. “I texted the captains before the game and asked are we ready and they said absolutely coach.”
The Raiders did come out with energy, but Medfield (15-2) took the lead late in the first quarter and never looked back. Juniors Matt Treiber and John MacLean each scored five goals and Jack-Henry Vara continued his stellar career numbers against D-S by winning 26 of 31 faceoffs, as the Warriors pulled away for a 19-10 win.
“They’re arguably the first or second best team in the state,” said McLaughlin, whose team’s only losses this season have come to Medfield (twice) and to Lincoln-Sudbury. “It’s good to play against tough competition like that; it definitely makes you better.”
D-S won two of the first three faceoffs and took a 2-1 lead when Will Spangenberg and Bailey Laidman answered the opening goal by Treiber. From that point on, Vara would control the “X” and possession for Medfield by winning 25 of the next 29 faceoffs, including a run of 12 straight that ended in the final seconds of the first half.
Sam Hurley cut into the middle to tie the game at 2-2 and then with 3:17 left in the first quarter Jack Cahill scored on the run in the left channel to give Medfield a 3-2 lead -- a lead it would not relinquish.
McLaughlin said, “We hung with them for a while. It was a pretty good start; we slowed them down a little bit. They were attacking from behind and we did a good job with that.”
After MacLean got his first, Spangenberg cut the lead back to one with a strong move near the goal line, but the momentum was only with the Raiders for six seconds, as Vara won the face-off raced down the middle and scored to make it 5-3.
After a Cahill goal pushed the lead back to 7-4, Laidman scored his second on a low-angle shot to the top corner and got D-S as close as it would be for the rest of the game. Treiber and MacLean each scored in the final minute of the half to give Medfield a four-goal cushion at the break.
It could have been a much bigger lead but for the play of D-S goalie Jack Fontaine, who recorded 10 of his 13 saves in the first half, including seven in the first quarter alone.
“One of the first timeouts in the first quarter I said guys we need to place our shots, this guy is killing us,” explained Isaf. “I thought we had a lot of good looks in the first quarter and should’ve been a little more.”
The lead ballooned to as many as six in the third quarter after senior LSM Will Murphy sprinted in from half and received a pass from Cahill (three goals, two assists) and fired a low shot that made it 12-6. But, D-S was not going to lay down and the Raiders bench was fired up after first Spangenberg and then Chris Williams found the back of the net.
MacLean calmed down the home team and stole momentum back with a spin move that escaped two defenders and a rip from straight on that found the top corner with only eight seconds remaining in the third.
Medfield would go on to score the first six goals of the fourth quarter, extending the lead to 19-8, and effectively putting an end to the game.
Isaf said, “We got hot and I think we wore them down in the second half and I think that’s the way we can play when we’re focused for four quarters.”
He added, “It was great to get the TVL championship tonight and I think this is our modus operandi to be peaking at the end of the season and play good teams to test ourselves and see what we’re capable of.”
McLaughlin was clearly disappointed at the end of the game and knows that his team struggled to match the offensive firepower of the Warriors. He said, “When you don’t get the ball down [on offense] and flowing, it’s tough. You don’t want to run up and down with Medfield.”