The past four regular season meetings between the two sides have all finished very close; two by two goals (2014, 2015) and two by just one tally (2016, 2017).
That trend continued this year as Foxboro used a pair of goals in the final three minutes and a big save from senior Jake Addeche to register a 7-5 decision over the visiting Rocketeers.
In a see-saw battle that featured six lead changes, both sides had multiple leads erased. Neither team led by more than one goal until Foxboro added an insurance goal in the final seconds of the game.
“[Kevin] is such a good coach, those kids play so hard for him,” said Foxboro head coach Matt Noone. “In the last four or five years, it’s been a one or two goal game. I have so much respect for North…I knew it was going to be a battle. We weren’t ourselves in the first quarter, I think we were trying to press a little bit too much, trying to go through double teams. That’s not our system. The defense played well today, just five goals [allowed], and Jake was awesome in net.”
After battling back and forth over the first 36 minutes, the Warriors and Rocketeers entered the final frame knotted at 5-5. And despite combining for six goals in the third quarter, offense was hard to come back in the final 12 minutes.
“We started to shut their shorties off a little bit, they weren’t really going against our poles,” Noone said of fourth quarter adjustments. “The biggest adjustment…they were clearing the ball with their long poles and we were trying to shut everyone off. So we just conceded there and made them beat us 6v6 instead of in transition. What a battle though, that was a big win for us.”
Addeche made the first big save just over four minutes into the frame, but his Rocketeer counterpart, sophomore Jake McNeany (eight saves), was equal to the task and made a huge save on a strong shot from Foxboro star Louis Piccolo (four goals) just two minutes later.
“I thought both goalies were fantastic, I thought both defenses were as good as I’ve seen,” Young said. “Their #1, Louis [Piccolo] is a handful. Tommy Lockavitch was on him all day, just trying to wear him down. I was happy with the defense, they have a couple of guys over there that can really rip it.”
“It could have gone either way, tt was very evenly matched,” said North Attleboro head coach Kevin Young. “I was happy with how the guys played. I would have liked to come out with the win but [Foxboro] has some good players over there. I thought we had a pretty good defensive plan, and then their defense is always tough, always hard to break down. With the weather, I think we were throwing the ball at each other a little too far out.”
Foxboro eventually got possession back with just under three minutes left and called a timeout to set up the offense. Though they didn’t run a set play, the offense executed and gave the Warriors the lead.
Sophomore Bobby Yerardi moved to the right as Pete Conley came over to provide a screen. Instead of a pick, Conley slipped past and both North defenseman stayed with Yerardi. The sophomore alertly flipped the ball to an open Conley in front and his bounce shot just went over the stick of McNeany to put Foxboro up 6-5 with 2:11 to play.
“That was just executing our offense and Bobby having his head up and seeing his man open after being doubled,” Noone said. “It was just a quick feed inside. That’s not anything we drew up, just people being in the right spots.”
Foxboro’s Shayne Kerrigan won the ensuing draw and Foxboro was able to kill some clock in the offensive end. North was whistled for a 30 second penalty but its defense was still able to come up with the crucial turnover, getting possession back with just over a minute to go.
North attempted to tie the game, setting up a play for defenseman Will Yeomans. The sophomore used a nice move to create some separation and ripped a shot from distance that looked destined for the top corner but Addeche made a huge stop to preserve the lead.
Addeche then turned defense into offense, sprinting over midfield with the ball. With North just getting their man back from a penalty and down a goal, the defense was forced to press out. That allowed Piccolo to find some space and net his fourth of the game, giving the Warriors a 7-5 edge with 16 seconds to go.
North had one chance in the final seconds but Addeche corralled a partially blocked bounce shot for his sixth save of the quarter and 12th for the game.
“I have around eight sophomores out there at most times and when they see an opening in the net, they go for it,” Young said. “As we scale that back, we’ll have a much more disciplined, dangerous offense. I thought we moved the ball around well, but they do make young guy mistakes at times but they’ll figure it out.”
Foxboro took the lead less than a minute into the game when Piccolo used a nice spin move to change direction and create space, firing it in to put the Warriors up 1-0.
But North Attleboro senior Jason McNeany, who had a strong day at the faceoff X, won the ensuing draw and took it himself up the middle, firing the tying goal just seven seconds later. Big Red took a 2-1 lead when McNeany converted on a bounce shot with 3:20 left in the first quarter.
“I thought Jason crushed it at the faceoff today, I thought that really kept us in it,” Young said. “He’s really good at controlling the ball for guys until they get the look they want.”
Foxboro tied things up in the middle of the second quarter. With North down two men, Foxboro executed perfectly with Pat Kaveny finding Shayne Kerrigan in front for the tying goal heading into halftime.
The third quarter featured more offense from both teams, both Foxboro and North Attleboro each finding the back of the net three times.
Piccolo gave the hosts a lead just over a minute into the third but three minutes later, Jake McNeany made a save, tossed a pass to midfield to Yeomans, who took it the rest of the way and deposited into the back of the net to make it 3-3.
Foxboro regained the lead when Piccolo used a fake pass to create separation and make it 4-3, but North came right back a couple minutes later and tied it off a goal from Damien Curtis.
North then grabbed its first lead since the first half when Andy DeMattio curled around a screen right in front of goal to go up 5-4. Foxboro tied it at five apiece with 91 seconds left in the third quarter as Brendan Tully faked out his defenseman and snuck his shot under the bar.
Foxboro boys lacrosse (5-0 Hockomock, 9-0 overall) is back in action on Monday when it hosts Bishop Feehan. North Attleboro (2-2, 5-3) will try to bounce back on the same day when it opens a three-game homestand against Attleboro.