It’s proving to be a beautiful spring for fans of Newburyport High School lacrosse, who got to see the girls team blow out archrival Triton 18-8 at home on Friday night before watching the boys team come back from the brink of elimination on Saturday to beat Austin Prep 13-11.
The boys game in particular was pretty remarkable. For the first time all season, the Clippers offense looked as if it had met its match, and through three quarters the only attackman who’d been able to find the net with any regularity was junior Mike Shay.
But if the true test of any champion is how a team responds to adversity, the Clippers passed their first test with flying colors. Down by four goals with 10 minutes to play in the fourth, Newburyport caught fire, kept possession of the ball for the rest of the game and scored seven of the last eight goals to avert the upset.
Now both teams are in the regional semifinals, and with last week’s upset of top-seeded Ipswich in the girls bracket, Newburyport has the highest remaining seed in both the boys and girls tournaments.
That’s not to say a state championship, or even a trip to the regional finals, is a sure thing. After all, on Wednesday night both teams will face two of the toughest opponents they’ve faced all year in a pair of rematches under the lights at World War Memorial Stadium.
For the boys, the Clippers will face off against local rival Pentucket, one of the best defensive teams in the area and one of the few teams that was able to compete with Newburyport in the regular season.
In their last meeting on April 25, Pentucket took a 3-2 lead early before Newburyport was able to clamp down defensively and tie the game at 5-5 going into halftime. Once the second half began, Brendan Barraclough gave Newburyport the lead, and then Matt Kelleher scored twice to give the Clippers the insurance they’d need to win the game.