With the Division 3 boys’ lacrosse state title on the line, Ipswich’s Pat Gillis would not be denied.
With the score tied at 6 midway through the fourth quarter, the Tigers junior wove through traffic and buried a bouncing shot to put his team up for good, as Ipswich held on for an 8-7 victory at Nickerson Field. It was Ipswich’s first state championship since 2003.
“I just did it for my team,” Gillis said. “I love every single one of them. They’ve been my brothers since second grade and when I scored that goal it felt great to know that these guys who had worked so hard are going out with a state championship. There’s nothing better.”
Grafton (22-3) had advanced to the state final with a thrilling 8-7 win over Dover-Sherborn in triple overtime and wound up in another dogfight with Ipswich (20-2).
Ipswich came back from deficits three times in the first half, tying the contest, 5-5, right before halftime on a score by senior Tommy Ginolfi (two goals).
After a scoreless third quarter, Grafton senior Brendan Coates (four goals) broke the deadlock, but Tigers senior Kilian Morrissey (three goals) answered with a nifty shovel score to level the game once more.
After Gillis scored with less than four minutes to go, Ginolfi added an insurance goal with 1:58 left. Grafton made it 8-7 in the waning seconds.
“After seeing [Grafton], I figured we were pretty identical in terms of strengths and weaknesses and the fact that we’ve both been here before,” said Ipswich coach Glenn Foster.
“Our senior class has goals and they’ve been close to it for three years. You could tell how much they wanted it in that fourth quarter. So, they got it.”Nate Weitzer can be reached at email@example.com.