Sandwich Boys' Lax Season Comes To An End

Brian Wahle in action for the Blue Knights in their state tournament loss to Apponequet.DAN CROWLEY/ENTERPRISE - Brian Wahle in action for the Blue Knights in their state tournament loss to Apponequet.

The Blue Knights boys’ lacrosse season came to the end of the road Friday with a 14-11 loss to Apponequet in the MIAA Division II South quarterfinals.

Second-seeded Sandwich opened the game with two quick goals, with Sam Carl and Jameson Buttafuoco each scoring in the first 1:25. But, Apponequet scoring machine Corey Westin answered two minutes later with the first of his eight goals of the afternoon and sparked the Lakers, who buckled down and got to work.

Apponequet turned up its typically physical and aggressive game and pushed the ball into the Sandwich end, controlling most of the remainder of the first quarter.

The Lakers scored five unanswered goals to take a 5-2 lead before the Knights' Peter Davis slammed one in from the right side that hit the far post and went into the net.

Zach Gorrasi hit the first of his three goals with a twisting, leaping shot to open the second quarter, but Weston responded for the Lakers. Brendan Barrett cut the Apponequet lead to 6-5. Then Gorrasi tied it midway through the quarter, after Carl won the faceoff and got the ball to Barrett, who found Gorrassi in a series of three quick passes that caught Laker goalie Ryan King out of position. With 1:51 remaining in the opening half, Apponequet took a 7-6 lead off a low bounce shot by Weston and a one-goal lead into the break.

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The Lakers' defense caused the Knights fits in the first half, as they were forcing ground balls and doing a good job of protecting King, who made six saves in the first half.

Alec Henderson joined the Blue Knights' attack in the second half and quickly made his presence felt, scoring off a pass from Owen Caggiano to tie the game. But, Apponequet registered the next three goals. Gorrasi broke up the Lakers' run with a nice move from behind the net, making the score 10-8, but Apponequet scored two more, taking a 12-8 lead after three quarters.

The Blue Knights' passing game was off, with several Sandwich passes falling to the Lakers. Weston gave Apponequet a 13-8 lead in the fourth quarter. Henderson got one back for the Knights on a quick turnaround move in front and Nick Buttafuoco drilled the Laker net from out front. Carl cut the score to 13-11 as the Knights rallied with four minutes to play, but SHS just couldn’t crack the Apponequet defense. With 1:25 remaining David Quinn delivered the final blow for the Lakers on a goal from out front off a pass from behind the net.

Gorrasi added two assists to his three goals. Carl and Henderson each had two goals for the Knights, while Nick Buttafuoco, Jameson Buttafuoco, Barrett and Davis each added one.

Eric Steele played the first three quarters in goal for the Knights, with Gavin Guarino handling the fourth.

The Blue Knights will lose 11 seniors to graduation, but the future is promising.

“Todd Solari and Brent Pearsall did a nice job with the freshman and JV teams,” coach Mike McNeill said. “Both programs each only had one loss this spring.”

McNeill admitted that the loss of the three senior captains will leave a hole. “Nick Buttafuoco, Owen Gaffney and Ben Maciel earned the respect of the players and coaches and really contributed to our team. We will miss them,” he said.

Senior goalie Eric Steele and defenseman Marc Petersen will also leave holes the Knights will need to fill.

“Eric started several games this season and brought a confidence only a senior could bring to the field," McNeill said. "Marc played several different positions and his work ethic was about as good as it gets.”

Sandwich was senior-heavy in the midfield with Jack Branco, Austin Currier, Pete Davis, Pat Plummer, Chris Rezendes and Brendan Barrett.

Said McNeill, “Having that many seniors in our midfield gave us a lot of options and composure and I had a lot of confidence in their ability. Our seniors gave the team its identity. They were a tight-knit group, with good team chemistry.”

The Blue Knights finished the season at 12-8 overall, 10-2 in the Atlantic Coast League, good for second behind Marshfield (11-1).

Four members of the Blue Knights received ACL All-Star recognition. Nick Buttafuoco, Tucker Herndon, Zach Gorrasi and Jameson Buttafuoco were named to the team. Davis received the ACL Sportsmanship Award.

Senior Mat Corsini acted as team manager for the Knights.

“Mat was just outstanding,” McNeill said. “The job he did for us was exceptional.”

In addition to Pearsall and Solari, coaches Jerome Fay and Pat McDonald assisted at the varsity level.

“We had a great group of guys. Overall they were a positive group with a quiet confidence and trust in each other. It was a very enjoyable team to coach.”

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