WORCESTER — For some lacrosse programs, the choice to install a statewide playoff format has proved very beneficial. especially schools that played very difficult schedules, or compete in strong conferences,
Wahconah didn’t necessarily have access to either of those options, which only magnifies just how impressive of a season the Warriors just had.
Senior Devin Lampron sniped a team-high four goals Wednesday, while Joe Massaro registered a whopping 25 saves as the third-seeded Warriors captured their first-ever state championship with a thrilling 8-7 victory over No. 1 Sandwich in the Div. 4 boys lacrosse final.
“It feels great,” said Wahconah coach Joe O’Neill. “I’ve been around a lot of these kids for the majority of their lives. So, being able to do that with this group has been special.”
Entering the title bout, Sandwich (19-4) and Wahconah (21-1) had combined to score 127 goals during the course of their respective playoff runs. The first half followed a very unfamiliar script as Caleb Richardson netted the lone tally of the opening quarter to provide Sandwich a 1-0 edge. Senior midfielder Timothy Souza added a goal with 10:12 to play in the half and the Blue Knights took a 2-0 lead.
WORCESTER, MA – JUNE 22: Wahconah’s Tristen Sheldon checks Sandwich’s Caleb Richardson June 22, 2022 in WORCESTER, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Chris Christo/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
However, after being held silent all game, Wahconah found a spark in the second quarter behind the efforts of one of their primary scoring threats as Lampron registered a pair of goals in a 36-second span, helping the Warriors draw even at 2-all with 8:26 left in the stanza.
Souza netted his second goal with 7:16 to play in the frame, before University of Vermont commit Caden Padelford tied things up at 3-3 for Wahconah with 38.5 seconds remaining in the half.
Once the third quarter began, the Warriors caught fire as Billy O’Neill tallied two goals in the period. Wahconah also received goals from Lampron and Jon Howard. Massaro made one clutch stop after the next, and the Warriors took a 7-4 advantage into the fourth quarter.
“He was amazing,” O’Neill said when asked about Massaro. “Absolutely amazing. That was the game of his life… he’s a great goalie, but what he did was amazing.”
Sandwich staged a late rally as Souza tallied a pair of goals in the closing minutes. The Blue Knights drew as close as 8-7 with 2:58 remaining, but the hill was simply too steep to scale.
“We need to score more than seven goals, in my opinion, to win a game like that,” said Sandwich coach Mike McNeil. “We made some mistakes, and they capitalized on them, like anything else. I’m happy with the effort… the effort was there on my team. The sportsmanship was there. They played how we asked them to, and we had a lot of missed shots.”
In O’Neill’s eyes, the future appears bright. It’s only an added bonus that the Warriors made school history in the process.
“The younger guys see what it takes now to reach the level that we did,” O’Neill said. “For the older guys, it was a culmination of a whole bunch of years of hard work.”