In a razor-tight Division 1 state quarterfinal, every play counts.
Playing in its final home game of the year at James Cotter Field, the BC High boys’ lacrosse team left it all out there, and made enough clutch plays down the stretch to pull out a 12-10 victory over Acton-Boxborough.
The No. 3 Eagles (16-5) advance to the state semifinals for the seventh straight season, and will face No. 2 Lincoln-Sudbury (15-3) on Saturday.
“That’s the type of game we want to win, especially in the playoffs,” BC High coach Marcus Craigwell said about Wednesday’s battle against A-B, which featured six ties and five lead changes.
“A blowout really doesn’t teach you much. That type of game teaches you a lot. I told all the seniors that this is the last time you’re going to play at BC High. So they had that sell out mentality and they might as well sell out, and empty the tank. All gas, no brakes, that’s our motto.”
After the teams traded blows in the first half, BC High gained a bit of separation with a 3-0 run, and took a 6-5 lead into the break.
Tim Rogers (3 goals, 1 assist) and Pat Maroney (2 goals, 2 assists) sparked another 3-0 run to start the third quarter, but the sixth-seeded Warriors (18-4) came right back with a 3-0 run, capped by a goal from sophomore Matt Chimento.
Early in the fourth, A-B pulled ahead for a 10-9 lead after goals from Cam Matthews (2 goals) and Tyler Clayton (2 goals, 2 assists), but Eagles junior Will Emsing responded with three of his game-high five goals in the final frame, each one set up by great passes.
“We were making small mistakes,” said Emsing. “I think today wasn’t our best game overall. We knew we had a point to get higher to win this game, and at the end we got there.”
Andrew Toland made 12 saves, including a pair of clutch stops in the fourth quarter. Maroney dove to strip an A-B player and deny a clear attempt at a key point during the final frame, and junior pole Jack Pyne denied A-B star Ryan Cho (2 goals) a last-second shot attempt, deflecting the ball to Toland, who tossed it the length of the field for Emsing to bury an insurance goal in the final seconds.
“Playing for BC High, the bar is high,” said Craigwell, who led the Eagles to the D1 state final last season. “We’re used to winning, used to getting deep in the playoffs, so we have to carry on the legacy of the guys who got us in the position we are now.”
Division 1 State
Hingham 13, Xaverian 8 — Senior Owen Hoffman (5 goals, assist) powered the fourth-seeded Harbormen to a win over the fifth-seeded Hawks to punch their ticket to the Division 1 state semifinals.
Hingham (20-2) never trailed after facing an early 2-1 deficit, but Xaverian (13-8) continued to linger late into the third quarter, trailing by just one at 8-7, before the Harbormen racked up five straight to put the game on ice.
“We just kept hustling for ground balls and started winning faceoffs,” Hoffman said. “We just kept pounding until we were up by enough at the end.”
The Harbormen draw top-seeded St. John’s Prep in the semis, a team which dealt Hingham one of its two losses in the regular season, a 13-8 result over Memorial Day weekend in Hingham.
Division 2 State
Longmeadow 20, North Attleborough 3 — Luke Szyluk and Coleson Hanrahan combined for 14 points to lead the top-seeded Lancers (20-1) to a decisive quarterfinal victory over the No. 8 Red Rocketeers (18-3). Longmeadow advances to face No. 5 Reading in the semifinals.
Reading 14, Westwood 4 — Robbie Granara (3 goals, 2 assists) and Cullen Granara (3 goals) combined for six goals, leading the No. 5 Rockets (18-3) past the No. 13 Wolverines (13-6) to advance to the semifinals.
Division 3 State
Dracut 14, Foxborough 7 — Brock Desmarais (4 goals, 2 assists), Josh Gagnon (5 goals), and Timin Carter (4 goals, 1 assist) dominated offensively to lead the No. 4 Middies (18-3) over No. 5 Foxborough (14-7) for a quarterfinals win. Dracut coach Paul Ganley credited his team’s ball movement for the win, especially from his top scorers. “All three of them were moving their feet, dodging down hill, finding their spot and putting shots on cage,” Ganley said. “They were a big emphasis on us scoring 14.”
Medfield 18, Swampscott 3 — Luke Murphy (5 goals, 1 assist) led the scoring and TJ Casey won 18 of 19 faceoffs to propel the top-seeded Warriors (18-3) past the No. 25 Big Blue (11-9) and reach the semifinals, where they will face No. 4 Dracut. With 26 seniors on the roster, Medfield coach John Isaf recognizes the advantage his side has with experience. “Having these kind of guys to make plays is a luxury,” Isaf said. “Our defense played very well. Earning possessions was important tonight.”
Norwell 14, Austin Prep 3 — Joseph Daly netted three goals, and John Mullen chipped in two to power the No. 2 Clippers (19-2) to the quarterfinal win. Norwell will face No. 3 Hanover in the semifinals.