(VIDEO) Big 4th Quarter Leads Wakefield to Win Over Reading
By Nate Weitzer for Mass Prep Stars
WAKEFIELD, Mass. – For several years, Reading lacrosse has dominated competition in the Middlesex League, but Wakefield has pushed the Rockets to the brink with two very close losses in their last two meetings.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Warriors finally broke through with a 13-9 victory, handing the Rockets their first Middlesex League loss since 2014 in a thrilling matchup at rain-soaked Landrigan Field.
“We really wanted this one and you could tell,” said Wakefield coach Andrew Lavalle. “We believe in three things: Passion, preparation and performance. The guys prepared for this all week and performed on the field today.”
The Warriors (3-0) jumped out to an early 3-1 lead but the star-studded Rockets came back with Kevin Tobin (1 goal, 2 assists) facilitating and junior Jack Geiger (4 goals) whipping in a couple of firecrackers during the second quarter, as Reading (2-1) held a 5-4 advantage going into the break.
Kevin Tobin sets up Jack Geiger as Reading trails Wakefield 3-2 early Q2
Geiger with the nice finish!
When the downpour relented towards the end of third quarter, goals started flying in.
Sophomore attack Anthony Forziati (4 goals) picked up a ground ball and wrapped around from X for a tough goal to tie it at 6 heading in the fourth quarter and the teams would trade blows from there.
Anthony Forziati picks up a ground ball and throws it in to tie game 6-6. 3:20 left Q3
Forziati added two more goals in the fourth, the second of which put the Warriors up 9-8 with 4:34 remaining. Yet every time the Division 2 Warriors moved ahead, D1 powerhouse Reading had a response.
Geiger twice tied the game with goals and sophomore Mike Tobin added a clutch score to make it 9-9 with 2:51 remaining, but Wakefield’s seniors were not going to let their opportunity slip away.
“Ever since I was a freshman we’ve never been able to beat [Reading],” said Austin Collard. “It feels good to come together as a team and finally get a win over them. This means so much and just completely changes our outlook on the rest of the season.”
Shortly after Tobin’s goal, Wakefield’s Braeden Langlois broke down the Reading defense and found senior P.J. Iannuzzi, who promptly buried a line drive past Rockets goalie C.J. Hart (14 saves).
Iannuzzi would add an insurance goal one minute later and Collard added two more as the Warriors won going away.
“Coming in, we knew where Reading was ranked, so we knew we’d have to play our best and that’s what we did,” said Iannuzzi. “We did our jobs and came out with a victory.”
Great save from Ryan Chambers of Wakefield
Stars Who Shined
Ryan Fitzpatrick ‘17 LSM – Defense carried the day for the Warriors, as they held an elite Reading attack down throughout most of the third quarter.
Fitzgerald played a key role in that effort by turning over the Rockets and even scoring a key transition goal in the first quarter.
His efforts in winning a ground ball in the middle of the field also set up Forziati for a point-blank goal to make it 9-8 midway through the fourth.
“The defense was really big,” said Lavalle. “Ryan Fitzpatrick is an animal out there and he got every ground ball in his area. Ty Collins was a man, and [goalie] Ryan Chambers made some huge stops.”
Austin Collard ‘17 A – Collard scored two of his four goals late in the game after Reading began pulling Hart out of desperation, but there was nothing cheap about his first two scores.
The senior finished off a nice feed from Joe Keegan in the first quarter and weaved through the defense for a clutch goal to put Wakefield up 8-7 in the fourth.
“We feed off each other a lot,” Collard said about Wakfield’s second-half comeback. “There were big plays here and there, P.J. [Iannuzzi] winning faceoffs, Fitzy picking up ground balls and we were able to feed off that energy.”
P.J. Iannuzzi ‘17 A – He was quiet throughout most of the afternoon, but Iannuzzi came up clutch as you might expect from seniors.
On the go-ahead goal, Iannuzzi received the ball from Braeden Langlois (goal, 2 assists) about 25 feet from net, but saw a sliver of daylight and rifled it past Hart to make it 10-9 with just over two minutes remaining.
One minute later, Iannuzzi stole a pass from Hart and put in past the Reading goalie to make it 11-9 and effectively seal the win with 1:20 left to play.
“We relied on our senior leadership,” Lavalle said about the Warriors play down the stretch. “Staying focused is the big thing and making the right decisions. The biggest thing is lacrosse IQ and that’s what really got us the W in the end.”
Anthony Forziati ‘19 A – While the seniors certainly did their part, Forziati came up clutch on multiple occasions for the Warriors. His first goal came midway through the second quarter and stopped a 4-0 run from Reading to give the home team some momentum heading into the second half.
Of course, he was also huge down the stretch with three goals over the final 16 minutes of play and did well to finish past an elite goalie in Hart.
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