By Brian Willwerth
HINGHAM – The Wellesley High School boy’s lacrosse team is going to Harvard.
Backed by a stellar defensive effort in the second half, the fourth-seeded Raiders defeated top-seeded Hingham on Saturday afternoon, 9-7, in the Division 2 East semifinals.
Wellesley held the Harbormen scoreless for nearly the entire second half, too.
While the Raiders’ defense – led by senior goalie Connor Darcey – dominated the second half of play, the game started out as an offensive explosion.
With a big crowd looking on at Hingham High School, Wellesley opened the scoring. But Hingham struck very quickly four straight times, two of them coming from Noah Ellis, but the Raiders rallied to tie the game at 4 with three straight goals of their own.
After Hingham’s Kevin Blair scored the first goal of the second quarter to give the Harbormen the lead again, the Raiders took control, as Andrew Volkmann gave Wellesley a 6-5 lead at halftime.
“We came out of the timeout, held our own, and fought back to get a lead,” said Wellesley head coach Rocky Batty. “That’s one of those gut checks for a team that hasn’t had to have a gut-check for awhile.”
“They had four early and they could’ve had 30 at that pace,” added Batty.
In the second half, Wellesley scored the next three goals to take a 9-5 advantage deep into the fourth quarter, then survived a frantic final two minutes in which the Harbormen cut the lead to 9-7 with 41 seconds remaining. But Hingham would get no closer.
“Usually I defer to the defense instead of the goalie,” said Batty of his team’s ability to keep Hingham off the scoreboard for a long period of time. “Darcey saved the hard ones today. He was sensational.”
Peter Crane and Oliver Saffery had a pair of goals each for Wellesley, while Ellis scored twice for Hingham.
The win sends Wellesley to the final against Concord-Carlisle on Wednesday at Harvard Stadium. Game time is 5:30 p.m.