Quick start: Billerica battles back to nip Westford at wire
By Matt Langone, firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATED: 04/02/2016 08:13:20 AM EDT
BILLERICA — Billerica High and Westford Academy didn’t waste any time injecting some drama into the 2016 high school boys lacrosse season.
In the season-opener for both teams, Billerica senior Brian Corbett lowered his stick and rifled the game-winner into the back of the net with 20 seconds remaining in the contest to give the Indians a 9-8 comeback victory on their home field.
Corbett finished with two goals on the day and Billerica scored the final three goals of the game — two in the final minute — to battle back from an 8-6 fourth-quarter deficit.
“Our guys showed great resolve. They never gave up, they kept fighting back,” said Billerica head coach Craig Flynn. “There’s no quit in these Billerica kids.
Westford Academy’s Eric McLaughlin (left) tries to play keep-away from Billerica’s Jeffrey Trainor as the two compete in Friday’s non-league season opener in Billerica. SUN/JULIA MALAKIE
We’re proud of our effort coming back.”
The teams went into the half tied 4-4. After that, Billerica faced an uphill battle for the majority of the second half.
Westford scored the first three goals of the third quarter to jump ahead, 7-4. It seemed like every groundball was scooped up by the Grey Ghosts and the normally precise Billerica offense was shaky with its passing.
“I think we were just playing sloppy,” said Flynn. “Westford is a great team, there are some great athletes over there. We just have to clean it up a little bit on the groundballs. I think we actually looked better in our final scrimmage than we did in this game.
“We’re always happy to come away with a win, no matter what.
Senior Justin Linden had a hat trick for the Grey Ghosts, while senior Kevin Enos netted a pair of goals against Billerica’s UMass Lowell-bound goalie Tyler Canto.
The Indians kick-started their game-clinching three-goal run when junior Dean Brooks (three goals) carved right down the middle of the Westford defense, absorbed contact and fired a shot into the net to make it 8-7. Later in the fourth, senior Drew Laundry had a goal waved off, but the Indians shook off the frustration when senior Justin Beck scooped up a loose ball in front of the net and put it in to tie the game at 8-8 with under a minute left. The Westford fans were hollering for goalie interference, but it was to no avail.
“The goal is what it is — questionable,” said first-year Westford head coach Chris Doyle. “What we need to do if the call doesn’t go our way is make sure that isn’t the end of us. We had an opportunity to make a play.
“I honestly thought we outplayed them for most of that game. We stick a couple more earlier, and we’re not even in that position. I thought we played 47 minutes of awesome lacrosse. It obviously didn’t end the way we wanted it to.”
Brooks was dominant on faceoffs all game long and he won the most important one of the contest after Beck’s game-tying goal. The Indians called timeout after gaining possession with 30 seconds remaining, and drew up the final possession that resulted in Corbett’s heroics.
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