By Bruce Lerch
MEDFIELD – A year ago, the Medfield boys lacrosse team rode the bus into Billerica and left tiremarks on the Indians with a 12-5 romp smack in the middle of what was a 22-game Warriors winning streak.
In 2010, it was Billerica’s turn to wield the big sticks, and the Indians used a physical, aggressive defense to set the tone for a 10-6 victory over the Warriors at Fisher Field.
Senior captain Jimmy Holland led a tenacious defensive effort that killed off 11 extra man opportunities, and freshman goalie D.J. Smith made 13 saves. Junior captain Grant Whiteway paced the Indians offensively with three goals and two assists and Cam Slatton added two goals and an assist as seven different Indians scored.
“The guys were hungry and eager to get back and play them again. The story was a little different last year,” said Billerica coach Craig Flynn. “We play tough defense. It’s a little unfortunate we were man down that much. We hardly had possession the entire second quarter. Our defense really rose to the occasion.”
Whiteway, who has been on a torrid scoring pace to start the season, got Billerica (6-0) going early on, spinning and shooting through the Medfield defense from 10 yards out 3:58 into the game
Less than two minutes later, Whiteway made a great pass to a wide open Mike Allan on the far post, who batted in the easy goal. Ben Melaugh and Ross Murphy also scored as the Indians took a 4-0 lead into the second quarter.
Penalties began to plague Billerica in the second, but the defense was able to hold the fort by killing off three consecutive 30-second EMOs and a one-minute penalty as well before Matt Bletzer (two goals) got Medfield (5-2) on the board with 1:55 left in the half.
Whiteway had an answer off the ensuing faceoff, winning a one-on-one battle against a Medfield defenseman and finding just enough space to get off a bouncing shot that found the back of the net, allowing the Indians to carry a 5-1 lead into the break.
Holland got himself a rare goal for a long pole after Chris Smith hustled down a ground ball off the opening faceoff and sent the big, strong defenseman on a rush downfield that resulted in a score.
That one play was a microcosm of the game itself, as Billerica seemed to be winning the race to every ground ball, regardless of who won the faceoff itself.
“They won almost every ground ball and even when we got there first, they ended up with it,” said Medfield coach Bob Aronson. “I thought we were even on the actual draws but they seemed to come up with the ball every time. They hustled and they wanted it more than we did and they showed it.”
Medfield tried to rally, cutting the deficit to 6-3 on goals by Kyle Foster and M.J. Keady, but Whiteway added his third in a man-up situation.
With Sam Aronson (16 saves) desperately trying to hold the fort, Medfield rallied again with goals by Bletzer and Foster. Keady had a golden opportunity to make it a 7-6 game when he intercepted a bad clearing attempt and raced in for a shot, but D.J. Smith hustled back to his cage and made a terrific stop on Keady’s shot.
That save sparked the Indians transition game, resulting in a Billy Frevold score to push the Billerica lead back to three goals at 8-5.
Smith has been something of a revelation or Billerica in the cage this year. In his sixth game starting in place of Chris Pena, who fell ill earlier in the season, the freshman showed an ability to weather any storm that the talented Medfield attack were able to muster.
“D.J. is getting better and better and improving every game,” praised Flynn. “The guys on defense are helping him along and he’s rallied around everybody.”
Foster scored his third goal to make it an 8-6 game with 3:56 to go, but Slatton added his second tally just under a minute and a half later and the Indians were able to close it out.