Jason Andalo: Head Lacrosse Coach, Walpole High School
2009 Massachusetts State Lacrosse Champions of Handy orten:
Hope all is well. I just wanted to give you a quick story on our game yesterday with Reading. We won 10-9 in OT, but that doesn’t begin to tell the whole story. We fell behind 2-0 pretty quickly and we haven’t bee losing by that much all season and by halftime the score was 7-2. In the 1st two quarters Reading was beating us to every gb, playing smarter on offense & defense and we had committed 3 penalties. My halftime talk focused on starting the 2nd half well and scoring the 1st goal and of course Reading comes out and scored :20 seconds into the 3rd to make it 8-2. We trade goals over the next 2 minutes to make it 9-3 with 9 minutes left in the 3rd. On the next face-off Ryan Izzo wins the ball and scores a fast break goal to make it 9-4 and then we just clicked. Everything we did poorly in the 1st half became our strength and we just kept chipping away and Davis Butts tied it with just over 3 minutes left and Leo Ajemian scored the game winner in OT by running faster than 2 Reading defensemen and scooping up a loose ball in front and putting it in. To put it mildly the guys went nuts.
Having thought about how we were able to pull off a comeback like this in a game of such importance I think there are 2 factors. The first is that we have an experienced team with guys who have played in quite a few big high school games (2 Super Bowls at Gillette, a lacrosse game at Harvard, plus all the other playoff games). They simply never got rattled and took ownership of what they had to do. They were focused and mature. The other factor was going through Judgement Day, as we got closer in the 4th quarter and in the break before OT began, several guys referenced that Friday afternoon. They mentioned not “dropping the season” and reminding each other how hard they worked in Judgement Day. TJ Kelliher, someone who you guys correctly mentioned did not have a good attitude that day, was actually one of the guys who talked about it the most yesterday. As the team broke the huddle to take the opening face-off in OT a couple guys mentioned “1 more”.
With the win we play Concord-Carlisle on Wednesday at a time TBD, it’s their prom so we might start earlier in the day. If you can make it, I know the guys would be psyched to see you there. Thanks again for your help.