WORCESTER – Medfield High School head coach Bob Aronson said if Friday’s MIAA Division 2 Boys’ Lacrosse State Final against Algonquin was close heading into the fourth quarter, he liked his team’s chances of winning a second straight state title.
“What we felt all along was we had a tough road to get here but I think [Algonquin] had a tougher road,” Aronson said. “With three overtime games coming here, we knew that we were all healthy and relatively fresh but if it was close it would come down to the fourth quarter and we would outlast them and that’s pretty much what happened.”
Right on point, Aronson’s Warriors led 9-8 after three quarters and dominated Algonquin over the final 12 minutes, outscoring the Tomahawks, 4-1 in the fourth to win 13-9, capturing their second straight state title and fifth in program history at Foley Stadium in Worcester Friday night.
“Winning and state championships never get old,” Aronson said.
It was a tight game leading up to the fourth quarter as Algonquin executed its game plan of maintaining long possessions in the first half.
“We were a little sloppy in the beginning,” Aronson said. “[Algonquin] is a good team and they had a good game plan. They wanted to keep it out of our sticks. They wanted to have long possessions, which they did.”
Medfield’s Peter Gill broke the ice with a goal at the 9:03 mark in the first quarter and Connor Roddy netted one of his team-high three goals on the next possession to give the Warriors a lightning quick, 2-0 lead.
“We proved we were dangerous when we had it,” Aronson said. “The two times we had it in the first quarter, second quarter, we threw a couple away but we scored some real quick ones too. We have that potential [to score quick]. It’s something we’ve been working on all year and we are clicking on it now.”
Algonquin responded with three straight goals to close out the first quarter and led 3-2 after 12 minutes.
“[Algonquin] was patient, “ Aronson said. “They worked it and killed a lot of clock and kept it out of our sticks and took advantage of some mistakes we made and did a great job on capitalizing on them.”
The second quarter featured more scoring from each team as two lead changes occurred in the period before the Warriors’ maintained a one-goal lead, 6-5, heading into halftime.
Chris Diana scored just 28 seconds into the second quarter to tie the score at three but Algonquin responded at the 9:50 mark to regain the lead. Andrew Melvin got in on the scoring at 9:33 to again tie the game and at the 5:25 mark, Matt Crowell gave the Warriors a lead they would hold onto for the remainder of the quarter. David Parsons joined the second quarter scoring frenzy with a tally at 4:49 to give Medfield a 6-4 lead. The Tomahawks got one back at the 2:07 mark to bring the score to 6-5.
“A little tight at the beginning but once we loosened up and were able to get [goals], we still had to battle their game plan, which was to sit on the ball and they have some great shooters,” Aronson said of the back-and-forth first half.
The second half belonged to Medfield as the Warriors would never trail in the final 24 minutes. Algonquin managed to tie MHS twice but could not get past the tournament-seasoned veterans in blue.
Algonquin opened the third quarter with a goal to tie the game at six but Medfield quickly answered to regain the lead, 7-6. The Tomahawks struck again to tie it at seven but from there, it was all Warriors as Medfield went on a 6-2 run to close out the game.
Parsons scored his second goal of the game as did Melvin to close out the third quarter with a 9-8 lead. Then came Medfield’s knockout punch in the fourth quarter as Algonquin simply ran out of gas and could no longer compete with a team as a talented and deep as Medfield.
Roddy netted two fourth quarter goals and Diana and Crowell each added their second goals apiece to put Algonquin away and capture their second state title in as many years.
“Our attack was awesome, creating turnovers and forcing them to make quick or unnecessary passes and turn the ball over and that gave us some extra possessions so it worked out pretty well,” Aronson said.
As the clock ran down, many Medfield players on the field congratulated each other around goalkeeper Sam Aronson and when the final whistle blew, the rest of the team joined in on the celebration in front of their own cage.
In some ways, Aronson said he is most proud of this state championship because of what his team had to overcome this season.
“I am maybe the proudest of [this team] of any team we have ever had,” Aronson said. “You know, the tough start, a couple of devastating losses mid-season and there was a lot of pressure on them to not get those and I think that was part of what released them to play.”
Aronson is referring to the team’s first Tri-Valley League loss in eight years – a span of 119 games – and falling short of a TVL title for the first time since the league came into existence 10 years ago.
“Once the pressure was lifted, they were able to say ‘OK, that’s done, what else can we do?’ We are here to win a championship, so that’s what we focused on and they seemed to respond to it very well. It’s a great group of kids and very coachable, very likeable and they really did a 180 and really developed into a great team.”
For many players, this is their second title in two years and for the seven seniors on the roster, they get to leave the high school game as champions.
“[Seniors] got two [titles] and they’ve been to the finals for three of them, some of them, there’s only seven of them and they did a lot of work,” Aronson said. “Three captains and the other four seniors acted like captains to bring the other kids along and to show leadership and to really set an example for them. They were able to keep the practice tempo up and keep the spirits up when things weren’t going well and just support the kids that might have been getting down and they all have just done an awesome job. It’s been a great season.”
Despite losing seven seniors to next year’s squad, Aronson said the team appears to be in good shape for a bid at a state championship three-peat.
“We got a great core of them coming back,” said Aronson. “The whole attack is coming back, plus you got an incredible freshmen class. Some of them were with us all season and some of them came up towards the end. [They] will make contributions if not impacts next year so we are thrilled with that.”
Medfield showed a variety of offensive weapons and tremendous team depth as six players had multiple goal games: Roddy (3), Diana (2), Gill (2), Melvin (2), Crowell (2) and Parsons (2).
While Aronson enjoyed the program’s fifth title with his team Friday night, the celebration would be short-lived.
“Next season begins tomorrow,” he said.