NEWBURYPORT – For three quarters, it appeared as if Newburyport had finally found a defense it couldn’t solve and an offense it couldn’t stop. Austin Prep was possessing the ball, finding the back of the net and looked like a team on the verge of pulling off a huge upset.
But then as the clock ticked down to the game’s final minutes, the Clippers came alive.
The top seeded Newburyport boys lacrosse team (16-1) erased a four-goal deficit late to beat No. 9 Austin Prep (12-8) by a score of 13-11 in Saturday’s Division III North Quarterfinal matchup.
The turning point came early in the fourth quarter, when Newburyport scored two quick goals and then went on a lengthy man advantage after Austin Prep got called for a high hit to the head and was assessed a three-minute locked-in penalty.
Newburyport capitalized on the opportunity and scored three quick goals to tie the game at 11. With all the momentum on their side, the Clippers scored twice more in the last few minutes to take their first lead of the game and ultimately claim the win.
“I think we were a little nervous to start, but once we scored a couple of goals we realized we could play with them, we turned it on and got it done in the fourth quarter,” said junior Mike Shay, who led the Clippers with five goals on the afternoon.
Coming off a big win at Triton in the first round, Austin Prep came out of the gate strong, with junior Matt Morgan scoring within the first 45 seconds to give the Cougars an early lead.
Shay would tie the game a few minutes later off a nice pass from junior Matt Kelleher, but the Cougars would retake the lead with 2:28 to play in the first off a goal by junior Sean Sullivan, and they would maintain that lead for most of the rest of the game.