NEWBURYPORT — One after another, shots peppered Newburyport boys lacrosse goalie Dillon Guthro during the first quarter of last night’s state-tournament game against Archbishop Williams.
The fifth-seeded Clippers (13-4) appeared overmatched by the 12th-seeded Archies (12-8) on their home field as the visitors threatened to make it a lopsided decision from the opening whistle.
Somehow, Guthro kept the Clippers in the game through that opening period, as Archbishop Williams could muster just a 3-1 advantage. Then, in a microcosm of the Newburyport season, the Clippers fought back against difficult odds and made it interesting.
The Clippers eventually fell 8-7 after generating a flurry of offensive chances in an attempt to tie the game over the final seven minutes. Archbishop Williams will play the winner of today’s matchup between fourth-seeded Canton and 20th-seed Watertown in the quarterfinals of the Division 3 East tournament.
“We just kept on going after them,” Newburyport coach Ed Gaudiano said. “We ended up shooting ourselves in the foot a little bit. It was the second game in a row we came out flat. It felt like we were playing catch-up all game.”
Newburyport’s 3-1 deficit after the first quarter seemed to be as much the result of Archbishop Williams’ strong play as the Clippers’ slow start. Despite being the lower seed, the Archies flashed more talent in terms of stick skills, which is sometimes the case in state tournament play when teams from all over the state are seeded based on their records against local teams even though lacrosse is more prominent in certain pockets of the state. On top of that, the Clippers were devastated by injuries this season, and they played both of their tournament games without the services of Sam Francis, Tyler Matses and Nick Mombello — three key players from last year’s team.