NEWBURYPORT — Having withstood the loss of their leading goal scorer, the top-seeded Newburyport boys lacrosse team controlled Pentucket in the second half of yesterday’s regional semifinal to beat the Sachems 7-3. The win earns Newburyport a spot in Saturday’s Division III North Final against No. 2 Hamilton-Wenham.
After minimizing the damage to a single goal in the first quarter despite being outshot 12-5, Newburyport (17-1) goaltender Dillon Guthro gave his team the spark it needed. The 6-foot-4 senior captain roared down field largely uncontested by No. 4 seed Pentucket (13-6) before scoring the first goal of his career, giving Newburyport its first lead.
“I dodged one guy and since Matt Kelleher and Mike Shay are down there and they’re such formidable attackmen, they have to respect them,” Guthro said. “That gave me the open lane right to the goal. A goalie doesn’t score too often, so what I did was real fun and it gave our team a lot of energy.”
While Shay would find the net just 89 seconds later to give his team a 3-1 lead, the Clippers’ focus would soon after be on Kelleher, who hurt his knee with just over seven minutes remaining in the first half and was helped off of the field. Kelleher later left World War Memorial Stadium with a heavy limp; it is believed he may have suffered a knee injury.
“I am just proud of the guys for stepping up big, especially since Kelleher went down,” senior captain Drew Bourdeau said. “The coaches looked at us and said it’s time for you guys to step up.”
Though finding looks offensively was difficult for the Clippers, doing so without Kelleher appeared to be a pipe dream. But Newburyport’s opportunities only increased as the game progressed, due in large part to stout, though often untested, goaltending and a relentless defense.