Two days after suffering its first Tri-Valley League loss since 2002, the Medfield boys' lacrosse team encountered another first in nine years – a season without a TVL title.
The Warriors lost their second straight TVL game Thursday night, falling 7-5 to rival Dover-Sherborn, which captured its first league title in school history, ending Medfield's reign atop the TVL.
“It wasn’t a close game at all," said Medfield head coach Bob Aronson. "The score was closer than the game was. We couldn’t pick up a ground ball. They got every ground ball. They made passes and didn’t drop them, we made passes and threw them out of bounds or dropped them. They were doing everything right, we were doing everything wrong. It’s a bad combo.”
Dover-Sherborn was able to capitalize on Medfield miscues and play strong defense against a talented Warriors' offense to win the league championship.
It was a low-scoring game with both teams focusing on defense. After trading goals early, Medfield held a 3-2 halftime lead.
“I thought [Medfield's] defense put a lot of pressure on us," said Raiders head coach Brian McLaughlin. "We had trouble moving the ball at times. Our defense played great, the man-down defense was superb. Because they had a lot of good shots on the man-up and we got some stops there so that was key.”
The Warriors marched down the field in the beginning of the third quarter, scoring in the first 12 seconds of the period to take a 4-2 lead.
D-S responded by scoring four unanswered goals in the third quarter, capitalizing on errant passes and penalties made by Medfield.
The Warriors weren't able to battle back in the fourth quarter, allowing D-S to score two more goals enroute to a 7-5 Raiders' victory.
D-S goalie Jeff Williams was outstanding in net, shutting out Medfield for most of the third quarter.
“He’s been great for three years," McLaughlin said. "He’s a three-year starter and I don’t know where we’d be without him because he’s the backbone of our defense and just an all-around great kid too."
Aronson said poor offensive execution and shot selection played a role in the Warriors' lack of scoring in the second half.
“When we tell them not to shoot at his feet and they shoot at his feet 15 times, 20 times he looks like an All-American," Aronson said. "He’s a good goalie but on soft dirt when you shoot at feet it’s going to just stop in the mud and that’s what happened.”
For D-S, not only was the win the team's first TVL title but it was also the Raiders first victory against Medfield in quite some time.
"It’s been a very long time," said McLaughlin. "They’re a great team and they’ve been great champions so we were lucky to beat them this time. They’ve been so good for so long ... it was nice to finally knock them off once. We’ve been close a couple times but they’ve been great. It’s awesome. It’s a great feeling, the kids should enjoy it.”
Aronson gave credit to where credit was due after his team fell short of a TVL title for the first time in nine seasons.
“They’re a very good team," Aronson said. "They’re disciplined they can recognize opportunities and take advantage of them and they did that.”
Peter Gill led Medfield with two goals while Ben Mastrogiovanni, Chris Diana, and Matthew Ruzzo all scored a goal apiece. Billy Polk led the Raiders with three goals and Jared Spence, P.J. Copponi, Chad Huemme and Chris Flight each scored one goal apiece.
When asked what Medfield needs to do to end its current three-game losing streak and get back to its winning ways, Aronson had little to say.
"I have no idea," he said.
Medfield (11-6, 9-2) is next on the field Monday vs. Moses Brown, R.I., for a 5 p.m. game at home.