BOSTON – It was the biggest game in the history of North Reading boys lacrosse, but it may have been the best game Dover-Sherborn played all year.
The Raiders exploded for a nine-goal outburst and turned a two-goal first quarter deficit into a seven-goal third quarter lead and cruised to a 16-6 win to take the Eastern Massachusetts Division 3 crown yesterday at Harvard Stadium.
The Raiders were paced by a huge five-goal performance from junior Brandon Jaeger.
“It’s unbelievable really,” Jaeger said. “These seniors worked so hard, and I just wanted to give it all to them. They worked hard all year.”
The Hornets, playing in their first state title game in program history, came out ready to go against the top-seeded Raiders. Juniors Cam Knight and Anthony Lytle scored in the first seven minutes of the opening quarter. Dover-Sherborn answered 35 seconds after Lytle’s goal, and it was all Raiders from there.
North Reading coach Chuck Campobasso said that in order to beat a team like Dover-Sherborn his team needed to play a full, all-around game.
“You have to play 48 minutes and we knew that,” Campobasso said. “They are an unbelievable program, and we knew our work was cut out for us. We came out with a lot of emotion early ones; got a couple of quick ones, but at the end of the day their talent overwhelmed us. They are more than deserving to be state champs.”
The Raiders played nearly flawless lacrosse during the second and third quarters. They piled up 12 goals during the middle periods and held the Hornets to just two goals over five shots.
Dover-Sherborn senior Jared Spence scored two of his three goals during the two-quarter onslaught, including the eventual game-winning goal late in the second quarter.
“This senior group we’re going to miss them terribly,” Campobasso said. “They’ve meant everything to us. It’s not just the wins; it’s the culture. It’s the change in the culture you see it in the excitement at some of our games, and some of the younger guys want to play for North Reading High School. That’s their legacy.”
North Reading senior Cody Carbone scored the Hornets last goal of the game midway through the fourth quarter, and it was a fitting way for Carbone to finish his career in the green and gold.
Carbone notched over 300 points in his four years at NRHS, and was one of the trailblazers that made Hornets lacrosse the program it is today.
“It was a great time with the seniors,” Carbone said. “I enjoyed it a lot.
“Before we came here it was 2-17 I think, and it just kept progressing and we got more kids in the program. Once seniors from my grade, most of them didn’t play, and they started to be key players on the team.”
The Raiders dominated possession throughout the game and were able to keep the Hornets at bay with long offensive possessions that eventually turned into goals.
Dover-Sherborn coach Brian McLaughlin credited much of his team’s possession control to his face-off specialists: junior Keaton Stoner and senior All-American Billy Polk.
“If you can keep getting the ball in lacrosse it’s tough for the other team because they can score when they got it,” McLaughlin said. “Since we controlled the ball, and ran our offense, it was a big plus for us.”
When asked what he’d take away from his career as a Raider, Polk, who had lost in his two previous title game appearances, smiled and gave a three word answer. “A state championship.”