Several different tournament brackets happen simultaneously in high school athletics. It is therefore easy to overlook results once your team is eliminated. But in knowing the fate of the team that ended your season, the dismissal from the tournament can gain validation – or perhaps make matters worse.
It’s a debate that seems to arise several times a year: If your team loses, and is therefore eliminated, would you rather see the team you lost to go on to lose immediately or win the championship? While one brings sudden payback, the other makes falling easier to bare.
Lacrosse is a sport that has flourished as of late in this region. Five of six schools from the Cape Ann League’s Kinney Division earned a playoff berth in boys lacrosse while in girls lacrosse four of five and three of five did so in the Baker and Kinney Divisions, respectively.
On the boys end, Newburyport nearly owned the league and its own fate in the tournament by securing the top seed with a strong one-loss regular season. And while the tournament outcome was shy of what was hoped for, with a loss in the regional final game held at World War Memorial Stadium, the Clippers made it farther than any Newburyport boys lacrosse team had previously.
Falling to Hamilton-Wenham 7-6, the Generals would soon after fall in the state semi-finals 10-6 to No. 2 seed Cohasset (15-4). Cohasset will now play for the Division III State Championship against Central/East Division III Champion and top-seed Dover Sherborn (14-3) at Boston University at 7 p.m. tonight.
So, while falling shy of a state title bid, Newburyport can appreciate that their fate, had they beaten the Generals, would be anything but guaranteed as Cohasset and Dover Sherborn are worthy teams that combine for an impressive 24-9 record. While excuses are seldom expressed openly following a season-ending loss, a valid one exists for Newburyport as they were without offensive star and all-time leading goal scorer Matt Kelleher who suffered a knee injury in the second quarter in the semifinals round.