DALTON >> In a back-and-forth, physical game, the Pittsfield boys lacrosse team rebounded from an early deficit, scoring four times in the fourth period for an 8-6 win over Wahconah.
The win brings Pittsfield to one game above .500 as the Generals continue to fight for a Western Mass. tournament berth.
"It's a testament to their resolve and their will," Pittsfield coach Scott Aitken said of his team's late-game resiliency. "This is a big game for them. Any PHS-Wahconah game is a big battle. They didn't want to give up. ... The kids worked all the way to the end."
Wahconah won the first meeting between the teams in a close match, and the Warriors started Friday's game well, appearing to be in complete control. Goalie Vinny Orlandi made three first-quarter saves, helping the hosts take a 3-0 goal after one period. From that point on, however, Pittsfield started controlling the face-offs, leading to more possessions and shots on goal. Cam Giardina put Pittsfield on the board with 5 minutes and 47 seconds left in the second quarter. Ryan Jacoby added another goal late in the quarter, cutting the deficit to one at halftime.
Dart Jaggi's second goal of the game put Wahconah up 4-2 with 7:44 left in the third. Pittsfield's Sean Baruch responded shortly after, and Josh Kozlowski's goal nine seconds later tied the game at 4-all. Jaggi and Washburn connected for the second time late in the third, but again, the Generals had an answer — this time scoring three unanswered goals. Giardina's goal tied the game at 5 with 9:42 left in the game. Kevin Quinto scored his first goal of the game, streaking in from the left side and firing right, giving the visitors their first lead with 6:51 remaining. Mason Papirio added the winner less than a minute later, scooping up his own rebound and finding the net.
"We started off flat, got off the bus flat and got behind," Quinto said. "We had a couple nice breaks, a few good goals and came together as a team. We stuck together and pulled it out."
Quinto scored the final goal on an strong individual effort. Orlandi gathered a ground ball, and as he made a move to avoid oncoming Pittsfield attackers, Kozlowski hit Orlandi's stick, allowing Quinto to grab the ball out the air for the goal.
The play was an unfortunate error for the junior goalie, but Wahconah coach Zach Sondrini said it's in Orlandi's nature to try and make a play for his team.
"Sometimes [Orlandi] tries to run down the field and he gets clocked, but they made us pay twice when he came out the goal," Sondrini said. "He's a great goalie, but it was mental mistakes."
Sondrini added the Generals play in the midfield helped swing momentum to their side. As Wahconah wore down, Papirio, Quinto and crew continued to attack.
Five Pittsfield players scored goals in the win. Aitken said if his team continues to play together, a Western Mass. berth could be in the cards.
"We've discussed being a team and I think they finally got it tonight," he said. "They actually came together as team, even the guys on the bench, and worked hard through the whole game. They have to feed of this, and I told them, we can hopefully win out with play like this."
Pittsfield goals — Cam Giardina 2, Ryan Jacoby 2, Kevin Quinto 2, Josh Kozlowski 1, Mason Papirio 1.
Wahconah goals — Dart Jaggi 2, Connor Washburn 2, Kyle Gazzillo 1, Wyatt Schleicher 1. Wahconah assists — Jaggi 2, Gazzillo 1,
Saves — P: Nikolai Pixley 8. W: Vinny Orlandi 10.
Contact Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252