Franklin Dominates Hingham, Books Spot in First Final

Franklin Boys Lacrosse
Franklin senior Matt Lazzaro fakes a shot on the break during the Panthers’ 15-7 win against perennial power Hingham. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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FRANKLIN, Mass. – In the opening minutes of Friday night’s Div. 1 South semifinal at Pisini Stadium, Franklin looked a little out of sorts. Atypical turnovers, passes going awry, struggling to get into the attack, the Panthers looked a little tentative, like a team that had never gotten past this stage going up against a perennial state power.

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Nearly 10 minutes into the first quarter, Franklin broke the deadlock. Two minutes later, the Panthers added a second. In the second quarter, they went on a 6-0 run and suddenly it was two-time defending D1 South champion (and 2017 D2 state champion) Hingham that was on the ropes.

After that slow start, Franklin dominated the Harbormen in every facet, putting together a complete team performance and pulling out a 15-7 victory that head coach Lou Verrochi called one of the biggest in program history. With the win, Franklin advances to its first ever sectional final.

“We took it to them really and I was pleased with that,” Verrochi said. “I mean, who wouldn’t be with that result against a Hingham team that’s traditionally one of the powers in Div. 1? It was a great win for the program and a great win for the kids.”

A relatively young and inexperienced defensive group has morphed into one of Franklin’s biggest strengths this season and the back line was excellent in the opening quarter. Hingham dominated possession, as an even younger Franklin attack tried to find its footing. It took more than eight minutes for Luke Davis to get Franklin’s first shot on target. Seconds later, senior goalie Jack Maguire (seven saves) came up with a big stop on a wrap around effort to keep it scoreless.

“Our best games are practices every day after school,” Maguire replied when asked about the growth of the defense this season. “Our offense is one of the best offenses in the state so we get to practice against the best in the state and we’re going to get better and we definitely did.”

The Panthers sparked into life after almost 10 minutes of play. Joe Consigli teed up Tim Walsh for a big chance but the shot smashed off the helmet of Hingham goalie Samuel Bellomy. Just seconds later, Matt Lazzaro got the ball behind the cage, dodged to the left of Bellomy and fired a low shot into the corner.

Bellomy (11 saves) came up with another big stop almost two minutes later, but the rebound was scooped up by Owen Kielty, who went behind his back to find the open net and double Franklin’s lead before the end of the quarter.

“The fact that we did score the first couple of goals I think was pretty good,” Verrochi explained. “It set the kids at ease a little bit and I think we played with a lot of composure after that.”

Hingham came back with a goal early in the second, as Owen Hoffman found the top corner. Instead of the start of a comeback, the goal seemed to open the floodgates on the other end of the field. The Panthers would score the game’s next six goals to open up a big lead.

After a Maguire save, the Panthers transitioned quickly with the ball going from Jayden Consigli to Davis to Lazzaro, who faked a shot to get Bellomy out of position before putting the chance away. Maguire took one off the mask from Charles Packard and then a minute later, Jayden Consigli fed his older brother for a rip to make it 4-1.

Lazzaro set up Joe Consigli for a chance that was saved, but Walsh and Kielty made sure Hingham couldn’t clear, forcing a turnover that turned into a Kielty backhand finish off a Lazzaro assist. Joe Consigli found his brother cutting for a sixth goal and then picked the corner with a snipe to make it 7-1. Kielty completed his hat trick with a great fake and overhand finish.

Although Hoffman scored just before halftime, Franklin went into the break with an 8-2 lead. A key to the Panthers’ dominance was Justin Alexander controlling the face-off ‘X’. The sophomore had a tough day against Wellesley in the previous round but won 19-of-24 on Friday.

Hingham did win the draw to start the second half and immediately cut the lead down to five, but a minute later another Maguire save turned into a transition goal at the other end. His outlet hit Ben Harvey at midfield and the sophomore pole quickly relayed it to Joe Consigli, who then found his brother right in front of goal. Davis added another less than a minute later to make it 10-3.

Verrochi said, “One thing about the Consigli boys is they’re always moving off ball, Jayden in particular. He’s always open, which is huge.”

With two goals three minutes apart, Hingham tried to get back into the game, but Franklin’s passing in the attack was too potent. Kielty to Jayden Consigli to Joe Consigli made it 11-5 and then Kielty made a nice one-on-one move to tack on another goal before the end of the third.

“I’ve been preaching to our middies that they need to go to the hole more,” said Verrochi about the balanced offense Franklin showed on Friday. “Tonight they did a pretty good job slowing down our attack so our midfielders, Joey and Owen, just took over. I’ve been telling Owen all year long, he’s been Mr. One More, and I said Owen you can start scoring goals. Tonight was evidence of that.”

As expected from a team with Hingham’s pedigree, the Harbormen kept fighting back, scoring a pair of goals in the opening three minutes of the fourth. Hoffman had a chance to make it a four-goal game and build some momentum for the visitors but his rising shot was tipped over the bar by Maguire.

Less than a minute later, the Consigli brothers, who transferred in from Northbridge last year, connected again (Jayden to Joe this time) for a goal that settled things down for Franklin. Lazzaro added another and then Kielty snagged his fifth of the game, taking a hit to finish.

Hingham had not allowed more than 10 goals in a game this season (even with a schedule featuring the likes of Lincoln-Sudbury, Duxbury, and St. John’s Prep), but the Panthers put 15 past them on Friday.

“This is our first time making it this far,” said Maguire. “It was just an all-around great game from goal line to goal line. We played awesome and…it’s on to BC High. It’s incredible. It’s awesome. It still doesn’t feel real.”

Franklin (18-0) will host No. 6 seed BC High on Sunday at 7:00 to try and win the program’s first sectional title and reach its first state championship game.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

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