Greylock boys lacrosse advances to sectional final with OT win
WILLIAMSTOWN -- He'd already set a new Massachusetts state record for points in a lacrosse season, so with the game on the line, it was fitting for the ball to be on the stick of Mount Greylock's Mike McCormack.
When his team needed the big shot, McCormack delivered. He fired home the game-winner, giving his team a 9-8 win over Springfield Cathedral on Wednesday. The Mounties will meet Grafton in the Central/Western Mass. Division III final Friday.
"I just drove left, got a step and split right. The middle was open, so I shot it," McCormack said.
McCormack's heroics were needed late, but the Mounties played two quarters of team ball to build a 7-2 lead. He had three goals and three assists.
Greylock took a 3-2 lead into the second quarter, as Cole Jackson, Matt Malloy and McCormack each had goals in the quarter, and McCormack added an assist.
In the second, Greylock's offense allowed it to extend its lead. Daivon Clement found Liam Chenail cutting through the middle of Cathedral's defense for a goal three minutes into the quarter.
Chenail scored again, this time from McCormack with 1:58 left in the half, giving him the all-time points record and surpassing Billerica's Grant Whiteway.
Cole Jackson scored 44 seconds later, and McCormack scored 14 seconds after that.
"I'm just focused on the win. That's all that matters," McCormack said, when asked if the record was on his mind during the game. He now has 186 career points.
McCormack's goal gave the Mounties a 7-2 lead heading into halftime, but Cathedral did not stop fighting.
The Panthers rattled off five unanswered goals, capped by John Leonard's second goal in 14 second, tying the game at 7.
Personal fouls on Carter Cummings and Clement set up Cathedral's first goal of the fourth quarter. After that, Greylock coach Brandon Asplundh said his team was not taking care of the ball.
"Things that allowed them to creep back into the game were turnovers, especially on-field clears," Asplundh said. "A ton of credit goes to Cathedral; they played awesome."
Midway through the fourth quarter, the momentum was clearly on the side of Cathedral; unfortunately for the Panthers, their coach might have unintentionally stalled his own team.
Cathedral looked as if it scored the go-ahead goal with 7:44 left in the game, but Cathedral coach Luke Jenne called a timeout before the goal went in.
Just 30 seconds after the timeout, McCormack found Jackson for a goal, putting Greylock up 8-7.
The goal was Greylock's first in a period and a half. Jenne said he credits Greylock's drought to his team playing solid man-to-man defense.
"We have a kid I consider an All-American in Zac Prattson. ... So I really thought we should one-on-one everybody," he said. "McCormack is their go-to, but that's a discredit to his teammates. He's not the only one that scored. [Chenail] and Jackson pushed through everything to score."
Leonard scored with 1:58 left in regulation to tie the game.
In overtime, Asplundh said he was reassured knowing he has goalie Cal Filson in net, especially in a do-or-die situation. Filson made one save in overtime, allowing his team to stay alive. He had 18 saves in the game.
"It's a huge luxury to have Cal between the pipes for us," he said. "We have all the confidence in the world in him; it's a big advantage."
"Cal did a fantastic job; he played so good the whole game and made some crazy saves," McCormack said.
Before the season, Asplundh said winning Western Mass. was a goal set from his team. Now that his team is one game away, he doesn't think he'll need to provide any extra motivation for his players to perform.
"What I need to do is reel them in and get our Xs and Os squared away, so that the mental side of the game is there," he said. "The motivation will be there -- we're pretty excited."
Cathedral 2 0 3 3 0 -- 8
Greylock 3 4 0 1 1 -- 9
Cathedral goals: John Leonard 5, Cam Peritz 3. Cathedral assists: Dan Rivers 1, Leonard 1, Matt Deloria 1, Peritz 1. Greylock goals: Mike McCormack 3, Cole Jackson 3, Liam Chenail 2, Matt Malloy 1. Greylock assists: McCormack 3, Clement 1. Saves: C: Robbie Duffy 36; MG: Cal Filson 18.