BEVERLY — Every game has the moment. Most commonly referred to as the turning point, it’s the spot when one team pulls away or the other makes its move.
Rarely is “the moment” put in the hands of a freshman playing in just his fifth varsity lacrosse game, but that’s exactly what happened yesterday afternoon at Beverly High School.
Clinging to a two-goal lead with possession, but playing a man down through a two-minute locked-in penalty, the Panthers came out of a timeout and put the ball on Sam Abate’s stick. The shifty freshman quickly beat a double team and found the cage to extinguish a dangerous Marblehead threat.
Beverly never looked back and Marblehead didn’t score again. The Panthers ran away from their Northeastern Conference rivals for a 9-4 win.
“We said, ‘Sam you’re going to take him to X and come back and go to the goal.’ And he did it and stuck it. He’s a stud,” Beverly (4-1) coach John Pynchon said. “People can see when he’s got the ball on his stick, he’s dynamic, he’s a dodger. That was great. I had no question in my mind when we called that timeout. I’m like, ‘Boom. Sammy you’re going.’”
Abate is the younger brother of Dom Abate, the Panthers’ go-to offensive player for the last three or four years. Dom Abate is now in his freshman year playing college lacrosse at Springfield College.
Beverly needed Abate’s goal in a big way.
The Panthers controlled play early, opening a 4-0 lead in the first quarter, and held a 6-3 halftime lead.
Even though Marblehead had been clearly out-played in the first half, it only faced a three-goal deficit and Ben Anderson cut it to two when he scored off a pass from Brooks Tyrrell.