MARBLEHEAD — It was a back-and-forth affair for much of the game at Piper Field on Thursday evening, but the Marblehead boys lacrosse team was able to take control late in the first half and ride that momentum to a 12-8 win over Peabody. Marblehead never trailed in the game, but Peabody did come back to tie the score twice. Both head coaches were on the same page when discussing the events of the game.
“It’s a game of runs, and we played a little sloppy at times out there,” said Marblehead coach John Wilkens. “We threw the ball around a little too much, and we have to learn to be a little more patient out there.”
“Lacrosse is a game of runs, it’s just a matter of whether or not you can withstand those runs and respond to them,” said Peabody coach Greg Welch. “And I thought our guys did respond and made our run, but you’ve got to play four full quarters against a team like Marblehead if you want to win.”
The Magicians got four points each from Loch Sheridan (three goals, one assist) and Sam Cioffi (two goals, two assists), while Sam Thompson added three goals. Andy Clough had two goals, Will Shull had one goal and Paul Heffernan had one assist.
For Peabody, Stephen Ell led the way with six goals. Colby Therrien added one goal and one assist, Nick Patturelli had one goal and Connor McCarron had one assist.
Marblehead jumped out to an early lead with a goal from Sheridan 34 seconds into the game. The Tanners came back and pressed on offense, putting several shots on Marblehead goalie Matt Mills but they couldn’t get anything by him. Finally, with just under five minutes to go in the first quarter, Ell found the back of the net for Peabody to tie the score at 1-1. Marblehead scored nine seconds later when Cioffi found Thompson over the middle for a goal, but then Therrien tied the score for Peabody. The Magicians then closed out the first quarter on a high note when Thompson knocked a ball loose in the offensive zone, picked up the ground ball, spun around a defender and fired in a laser to make it 3-2.
That didn’t slow Peabody down, as the Tanners netted the first goal of the second quarter when Ell tied the game. But the goal seemed to spur something in Marblehead, and the Magicians went on a 4-0 run over the next five-plus minutes to stretch the lead out to 7-3. Cioffi, Thompson, Clough and Shull had the goals for Marblehead. Ell scored for Peabody to break the run with just under three minutes to go in the half, but a late goal by Clough gave the Magicians an 8-4 lead going into halftime.
“We had a lot of empty possessions on plays where we missed a pass or made a wrong decision, and those kinds of plays are critical,” said Welch. “We might not have scored a goal on every one of those possessions, but some of them led to goals for Marblehead on the other end, and that’s a killer against a good team.”
Once again, the Tanners were hot coming out of the break. Ell scored two goals in a row for Peabody over the first five minutes of the third quarter to cut the deficit to 8-6. Sheridan scored on an assist from Cioffi with three minutes left in the quarter to get the Marblehead lead back to three goals.
In the fourth quarter, Marblehead made all the plays it needed to. It started with a great goal from Shull, who scooped up a rebound off the ground and fired the ball into the back of the net to make it 10-6. Cioffi added a goal just over a minute later to make it a five-goal game, but Patturelli kept Peabody alive with a goal to make it 11-7. After Sheridan scored his third goal of the game with just under seven minutes remaining to make it 12-7, Marblehead played lock-down defense to keep the score where it was. Ell scored one more goal with about five minutes left, but that was as close as the Tanners would get.
Peabody (5-7) tries to right the ship Saturday against Minnechaug. Marblehead (8-1) plays a tough non-conference game against a strong Wayland team Saturday.
“That’s a very tough game coming up for us,” Wilkens said. “It’s great to get a conference win like this but now we’re going out to play a strong team out of conference that we don’t know much about. So we’ll try to clean some things up and see how it goes on Saturday.”