Boys Lacrosse: A Bittersweet End to a Long Journey

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Hopkinton's Pete Racenis battles a Pentucket player for a loose ball. Racenis was selected a Tri-Valley League 2nd Team All-Star. Photo by hhspress.org

By Kelsey Krapf
The Hopkinton boys varsity lacrosse advanced to the second game of the playoffs after breaking their recent falters in the first round, losing to Beverly 15-13.

In the first playoff game on June 3rd, Hopkinton took the field against the Pentucket Sachems (9-8). The Hillers (14-5) were bent on winning and going on to the next round of the Eastern Massachusetts Tournament.

Hopkinton attacked Sachems’ defense, throwing a quick 4 points onto the scoreboard. The offensive play was crisp and the defense was alert but there were some costly errors that kept Pentucket in the game. By the end of the first half the score stood at 7-3, Hopkinton in the lead.

Senior captain Jesse Kutz gave advice to his players during halftime, “We need to talk on defense, guys! Yes, we’re winning but we should be crushing this team.”

Fellow senior captain Samuel MacDonald offered a piece of his mind to his teammates, “Boys, there’s no reason for that team to have points on the board. If you don’t know how to slide with your body then just stay on the sideline. We are winning this game, boys, and we are moving deeper into the tournament.”

Hopkinton came out of halftime sending another four goals into the net and only letting in one goal. Calvin Lee, Peteris Racenis, Matt Manzella and Jonathan Lee all scored goals. The final score of the game was 11-4, Hopkinton, and the “one and done” habit was finally broken. Hopkinton moved forward to the second round of the playoffs, a meeting with Beverley High School in their sights.

The Hillers loaded up their bus last Saturday and departed towards Beverley for a 4:00 PM match up on Beverly’s home field.

The game was physical from the start, the difference never being more than three points. The game was action packed with a large audience, big hits, and some great plays. Both teams were were evenly matched.

The game went back and forth, with goals being exchanged frequently. Jonathan Lee, Peteris Racenis, Calvin Lee, Matt Manzella and Conor O’Brien targeted the corners of the goal and put points up on the scoreboard for Hopkinton. Hopkinton’s Will Ballantyne added four goals and earning two assists.

Hopkinton’s season ended on Beverly’s field. The seniors had just played their last game, never again to put on a Hiller uniform. It was a close game, though, a competitive match and a tremendous effort, as senior Samuel MacDonald put it, “You can’t point fingers for this loss, there’s no point. We all played our hardest through the heat and the sweat and the fatigue. I’ve played for Hopkinton all my life and I’ve fallen in love with the sport while playing here. I’m not sure how I feel about this just yet, but I know I’m truly going to miss this program and these guys.”

Six Hillers will all be continuing their lacrosse careers into college. Lee is headed to Colby College, MacDonald to Saint Anselm College, Kutz and O’Brien at Plymouth State College, Tate at Roger Williams, and Racenis at Denver University.

Jeremy Gram, senior captain of the Hillers, said, “This team has really gelled together after this season, it’s the closest knit group this program has ever seen. Everyone is a friend off the field and everyone accepts one another’s criticisms and advice. We’re truly a family.”

This team may have been the close-knit group but it could be the most talented as well. This year’s team received the most Tri-Valley League awards in the school’s history for the sport. They were awarded as follows:

Tri-Valley League Honorable Mention: Jeremy Gram, Matt Manzella

Tri- Valley League 2nd Team All-Stars: Jesse Kutz, Max Robidoux, Jonathan Lee and Peteris Racenis

Tri-Valley League 1st Team All-Stars: Will Ballantyne, Calvin Lee and Samuel MacDonald

Tri-Valley League Defensive Player of the Year: Samuel MacDonald

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