Early Exit For TMHS Lacrosse Team
Junior midfielder James Hurtle (19) scored two goals against Wakefield
Gallery: Tewksbury lacrosse May 31 [26 Images] Click any image to expand.
WAKEFIELD -- The end came quickly but painfully for the Tewksbury High boys lacrosse team Saturday afternoon, as the Redmen suffered a lopsided 16-4 defeat at the hands of Wakefield High, eliminating the Redmen from MIAA Division 2 North Sectional championships in the state tournament’s first round.
It was, by all accounts, an unfitting end for second-year coach Joe Ginsburg’s TMHS laxmen, who had just completed the most successful season in the program’s brief history, winning their second consecutive Merrimack Valley Conference small school championship and qualifying for post-season play for the second straight year.
“It’s a tough way to end a good year, but they (Wakefield) were a tough team. I think ultimately they just wanted it a little bit more than we did today,” Ginsburg said.
Wakefield jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the games early minutes, but Tewksbury junior midfielder James Hirtle got the Redmen back in the battle with two consecutive goals to cut the lead to 3-2. But the TMHS offense went dormant while Wakefield’s Grinnell brothers, Matt and Brandon, took over, sparking the Warriors to four consecutive goals and a 7-2 halftime lead.
The Redmen came out strong in the third period and seemed destined to stage a comeback when junior attackers Colin Quinn and David Dempsey scored back-to-back goals within a two-minute span to cut Wakefield’s lead to 7-4 with plenty of time left in the game. But once again, Tewksbury’s attack fell silent and the host Warrior’s took charge, scoring nine consecutive goals over the game’s final 23 minutes to salt away the victory.
Wakefield might have had a mental edge over the Redmen even before the game started, as the Warriors had pulled out a dramatic, 9-8 comeback victory when these two teams met in a non-league game earlier this season. “They were a good team and it started with our game, actually,” Ginsburg. “They only got rolling after that. They played in a tough league and I think they were a little more fired up and ready to go today. It was unfortunate to end the season that way.”
In spite of the loss, Ginsburg left the game with a good feeling about the progress his program has made in the past two years.
“I think people are starting to recognize us as a good team,” Ginsburg said. “The kids are starting (to play lacrosse) a lot earlier and they’re playing year round now. I hear good things when I go down to the youth fields to check in once in a while, and when these guys do well it gives the younger kids something to look forward to. I think Tewksbury lacrosse is up and coming.”
TMHS will graduate just five seniors from this year’s squad. Goaltender Michael Brawley, attacker Johnny Aylward, defender Kevin Dick and midfielders Tim Donovan and Brandon Hibner all ended their careers on Saturday, and according to Ginsburg, those will be difficult roster spots to fill. But with 13 juniors returning, led by midfielders Hirtle, James Sullivan, Scott Pastorello, Sean Brady and John Casey, attackers Quinn and Dempsey and defenders Alex Schelfhaudt and sophomore Luc Surrette, there’s still a lot to look forward to for the Redmen.
“It’s gonna be on the kids to see who puts in the work in the off-season, and see who wants to really come back and bring it and keep the momentum going” Ginsburg said. “The pressure’s on them now. The standard has been risen and now it’s on them to keep going and maintain it.”