By Hayden Bird
NEWTON, MA – Behind sharp defense and impressive goalkeeping, Wellesley high school’s boys lacrosse defeated Newton North on Wednesday, 7-0.
Wellesley (14-3) appeared to be the stronger team for a majority of the afternoon, but it was the home team, Newton North (11-4), which got the first effort on goal. Although, after the early nerves settled, it was the visitors from Wellesley, who opened the scoring behind midfielder Brian Pedersen.
Within minutes, the Raiders doubled their lead behind another midfielder by the name of Oliver Saffery, who executed a perfect catch and shoot into the lower third of the goal.
“I was really happy with our offense,” said Wellesley head coach Rocky Batty. “They did a couple of the things we’ve been working on for the last few weeks. They clicked a lot more.”
Yet it was Wellesley’s defense which accounted for much of the early success.
“I thought the defense played really well today,” noted Batty. “Guys were coming off the field tired, but that just meant they left it on the field. I thought the entire unit on the defense played big today.”
And even when Newton North managed to snipe a random shot, Wellesley goalie Connor Darcey was ready.
Darcey exhibited his customary versatility against Tigers throughout the game. Still, it was his work as a goalie, which made the difference.
Shot after Newton shot was turned away, and his distribution was well taken too, igniting counterattacks.
But Batty was quick to credit his defense as a whole.
“He is as valuable as the defense in front of him is, and that’s the reality. We weigh them all equally. Connor Darcy’s fantastic, he’ll tell you himself, but he sees shots he can save,” added Batty.
Right at the end of the half, Wellesley exhibited a great move that involved Pedersen, who found John Caraviello, who in-turn found attacker Peter Crane for the score.
The movement came so quickly and fluidly that Crane was nearly wide-open, and he predictably buried the ball in the net, leaving only nine seconds on the clock.
The second half began with renewed vigor from Newton North, who pelted Darcey with a series of shots.
“Newton North is a very, very good team,” said Batty. “They challenged us.”
Darcey, however, was more than up to the challenge, saving time and again.
Even when he turned the ball over after making a save, he immediately made yet another save.
By the end of the third quarter, Wellesley’s momentum was beginning strangle the game. Three goals came in quick succession from Kerry Lyne, Saffery and Pedersen.
The final quarter of play was quiet, with Crane adding one more to round out the scoring at 7-0 before the game ended.
“Were getting there” said Batty afterward. “We’re not there yet though.”