LYNNFIELD — A host of mistakes put the Lynnfield boys lacrosse team in a hole early against defending Division 3 state champion Ipswich, and despite a strong second half the Pioneers fell 13-4 at home Friday afternoon. The mistakes for Lynnfield were small ones, but it was the amount of errors that really put the Pioneers in a hole.
“We came into the game thinking we had a pretty good shot at winning, but the execution just wasn’t there,” said Lynnfield coach Joe Papagni. “It was almost like the fog of competition got in our guys’ heads, and when the time came to get things done they just made mistakes out there.”
Gianluca Alfe led the way for Lynnfield with two goals, while Jack Razzaboni and Jackson Hammersly each scored one goal. Peter Look had two assists and Anthony Murphy had one assist.
Things didn’t get off to the best start for the Pioneers, as Ipswich jumped out to an early 3-0 lead behind three straight goals from John Gillis. Alfe got Lynnfield on the board with one minute to go in the first quarter, but Ipswich stole back the momentum when Gillis found the back of the net once again, this time with just four seconds left in the quarter.
Lynnfield opened up the second quarter with a goal from Hammersly less than two minutes into the period, but Ipswich wouldn’t let the Pioneers capture any momentum whatsoever. Just eight seconds after the Hammersly goal, Gillis scored for Ipswich to make it 5-2. Ben Yanakakis added two goals over the next 1:03 to give the Tigers a commanding 7-2 lead. While the Pioneers were able to get one goal back when Alfe scored on the man advantage with about five minutes left in the half, but Ipswich closed the quarter with two more goals (one each from Yanakakis and Will Zambernardi) to take a 9-3 lead into halftime.
“It was just very inconsistent out there for us,” Papagni said. “There were a lot of guys out there thinking they had to do things that they really didn’t have to do, and it got everybody out of sorts. We had some undisciplined plays and took some bad penalties as well, so there’s a lot of work on.”
While Lynnfield did play a better, more fundamentally sound game in the second half, it still didn’t stop Ipswich from finding the back of the net. Yanakakis, Zambernardi and Kevin Swenson all scored for the Tigers in the third quarter to stretch the score to 12-3, then Yanakakis scored his fourth goal of the game midway through the final quarter to put Ipswich up by 10 goals. Razzaboni was able to score for Lynnfield with just over a minute to go in the game, but it was too little, too late.
The Pioneers (5-7) now face a tough road for the remainder of the season. Lynnfield needs to win three more games to qualify for the state tournament with four contests remaining on its schedule. The Pioneers have a tough slate of opponents on their path to the tournament, with Pentucket, Georgetown, North Reading and Danvers on the docket.
“Call me crazy, but I still think we can work through it and get it done,” Papagni said of his team’s chances of making the tournament. “But we can’t play like this if it’s going to happen. We’ve got to go into Pentucket and play close to perfect. This next game is very important, because it will set the tone for the rest of the season.”
Lynnfield will look to get back to its winning ways Monday afternoon against Pentucket.