WOBURN — The loss to Dover-Sherborn in last year’s state championship match may have occurred exactly 365 days and 23 games ago, but the Cohasset boys’ lacrosse team still remembers it as if it were yesterday.
The Skippers ensured they would get another crack at the two-time defending champions, defeating Hamilton-Wenham, 10-6, in a Division 3 semifinal matchup at Connolly Memorial Field Wednesday.
“Our goal at the start of the season was to get back to the state title, and actually win it this year,” said Cohasset sophomore midfielder/attack Danny Axelson. “[The 12-10 loss to D-S] has helped us keep up the intensity in practices all season. It feels great to get another shot at them.”
Playing against an opponent they had beaten six consecutive times by an average score of 12-3 — including a 14-3 shellacking in the season opener — the Skippers (19-4) were expected to handle business rather easily. Instead, for the second straight game, the team struggled to assert itself early.
Trailing, 4-3, early in the second quarter, Cohasset pocketed four straight strikes on its way to a 7-5 lead at halftime.
The Skippers dominated the second half. Axelson (three goals, two assists) and junior attack Jeff Powers (four goals, two assists) led the charge.
But a second consecutive trip to the state final wouldn’t have been possible without superb play from a defensive unit that conceded only one goal in the final 24 minutes.
“The [defense] just works so well together and plays great as a unit,” said Cohasset coach James Beaudoin. “They can shut down anyone. They’ll definitely have their hands full [against the Raiders], with two All-Americans on that attack.”
To their credit, the Generals (14-6) put up one heck of a fight.
Senior midfielder Matt Curran was a constant threat in front of the net and finished with three goals.
Meanwhile, senior Grant Thompson had an impressive 15 saves on the night.
“This was a different team than we saw in the beginning of the season,” Beaudoin said. “Their goalie was phenomenal. Hats off to them, they gave us a big fight.”
Cohasset will look to derail Dover-Sherborn’s bid for a three-peat on Saturday at Boston University.