Comeback Kids Rally for Last Minute Win
Warriors once again showed they enjoy the pressure, as they turned a 9-8 deficit into a 10-9 victory in Norwood.
The Brookline boys lacrosse team is on its way to mastering the art of the comeback – and giving head coach Steve Zella a permanent spot on the edge of his seat – after yet another come-from-behind victory at Norwood last night.
The Warriors jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead before losing it quickly, and they found themselves behind 9-8 with less than two minutes to go against the Mustangs. But senior co-captain Matt Hillman (five goals, two assists) served as the star of the latest cardiac effort when he scored with 1:44 remaining to tie the score and again with 1:05 for the 10-9 win.
“These kids operate better by being in the hole, which is a symbol of their character,” Zella said. “They know how to handle pressure and refused to lose this game.”
Co-captain Eli Yannekis also chipped in a pair of goals and assists to bring his point total to 35, which is the leading total for midfielders in the Bay State conference. Zella said he loves what his co-captains bring to these tight games.
“They’re very special players who do a great job of leading others,” Zella said.
A big wrinkle to this game for the Warriors was playing on grass in Norwood instead of their customary turf surface. Because of holes and rocks in the ground, grass doesn’t always allow true bounces and Zella did heavy ground ball work with his team leading up to the game.
“It’s hard going on the road and playing on unfamiliar surfaces so I had them get down and scoop the ball up a lot during practice,” Zella said. “It worked out well because when the game was on the line, no one made mistakes.”
Zella realizes that Brookline could easily be 5-4 instead of 7-2, but likes that his team has shown a propensity to rise to the occasion.
“When push comes to shove, we come through,” Zella said. “I’m really proud of this team.”
Brookline will next take on Braintree at home on Friday to begin a difficult stretch of its schedule that includes Walpole, Weymouth and Wellesley.