Laxmen keep the magic alive with another tournament win

Northeastern Conference All Star Baxter Jennings cradles down the field. Photo by Paula Muller file

EASTHAM — The No. 7 Marblehead boys lacrosse team continues its historic postseason run, defeating No. 2 Nauset Regional 13-9 en route to the Division 2 Final Four. The Magicians (21-0) have yet to taste defeat this season.

It was a tight battle between two of the best teams in the state as they traded goals early and often. The Magicians found themselves winning at halftime 6-4 thanks to goals from Connor Cronin (3), Baxter Jennings (2), and Carter Laramie.

“It was a back-and-forth game, we kind of knew it would be one of those types of games,” Marblehead coach John Wilkens said.

Nauset Regional came out in the third quarter on fire, equalizing with three quick goals to take a 7-6 lead with all the momentum.

Fortunately for the Magicians, they have one of the best and quickest face-off guys in the area in Jennings. After Nauset Regional went ahead, Jennings won the face-off, ran past multiple defenders, and scored to tie the game.

“He’s been doing a great job at the face-off, he’s a work horse. He’s been making a big difference lately,” Wilkens said.

After Marblehead’s last match against Milton, Wilkens mentioned that “lacrosse is a momentum sport.”

Even after the team conceded and lost momentum, Jennings swung it back in Marblehead’s favor.

Nauset Regional continued to threaten the Magicians, but they stood firm, especially goalie Finn Maniaci who made five saves in the third quarter.

After the Milton game, Maniaci praised Nauset Regional.

“They’re a high-velocity offense [and] they can put 22 goals up if they want to. They may have the best offense in Division 2,” Maniaci said.

Maniaci also believed his team would score on Nauset, and the Magicians just needed to “contain their offense.”

Marblehead held firm defensively, taking a 9-8 lead into the fourth quarter.

“I have to give credit to our poles J.J. Pollender and Eliot Pluss,” Wilkens said. “We knew they ran most of their offense through number three and number six and they did a good job on them.”

When you have a player who set the school record for most points in a single season, you know he’ll leave his mark every game. It was no different as Cronin (6 goals) scored while the Magicians had a two-man advantage to give them a 10-8 lead.

If Marblehead wanted to pull off the upset, it was going to be a total team game. With the offense firing and defense containing, it was junior defender Pluss who picked up a ground ball, raced into the offensive end, and, as he was checked by multiple defenders, tossed a pass to Cronin. The record-setter scored to seal the game 13-9 and advance the Magicians to the semifinals.