By Dan Harrison
---- — Beverly senior Dom Abate is quite familiar with the back of the net.
So much so that when Abate scored his 100th career goal in Beverly’s 10-4 win over Malden Catholic on Sunday, he had no idea of the milestone he’d reached.
“I didn’t know (it was my 100th goal) until later that night,” explained Abate, who had a hat trick in the win. “It’s not really something you think about, but when it happens, it is a milestone you can feel good about.”
Beverly coach John Pynchon was pleased to see Abate reach the milestone, and he knows how much work his senior midfielder has put into lacrosse.
“The last four years we’ve really kind of turned Beverly (lacrosse) around to the way it used to be and he has been such an instrumental part in all the success we’ve had. At the basketball banquet (Panthers hoop coach) Scott Lewis said something along the lines of, every team he’s on, they win,” Pynchon said.
“He’s a tremendous competitor, works hard, is serious about playing the game and he’s a natural goal scorer. He’s had a great career for three years and this year hopefully will be the crowning achievement for him.”
Abate has a lot things to feel good about right now as his Panthers sit at 5-0 after Saturday’s win.
“I think obviously 5-0 is a great start, but I think we have a lot of room for improvement,” noted Abate. “I love the team we have this year and I think we can improve on the first part of the season.”
Goal number 100 came for Abate on what he called a “time and room goal” when he took a pass from attackman Ryan Shipp and ripped a shot from the perimeter past the MC goalie.
Opponents have had to give Abate space when the ball’s in his stick because of the speed and shiftiness he plays with. Also, Abate has improved going to his off hand making it that much tougher for opposing long poles to keep him on the perimeter. As he proved Saturday, when opponents give him too much room he has a dangerous enough shot to make them pay.
It’s all been a part of a growing process for Abate, who has been steadily improving since his freshman year. Originally just an offensive player, Abate’s spent the past four years upping his defensive IQ so that he can make that much more of an impact on the lacrosse field.
“I think I’ve grown a lot playing from my freshman year to now. I’ve made huge improvements with being able to go both ways,” said Abate. “When I first started, I strictly played offense but as the years have gone by I’ve been able to learn more about defense to be a two-way player and knowing the game a lot better which coach Pynchon has taught me a ton.”
Abate wasn’t the only contributor in Saturday’s win as Beverly has been firing on all cylinders since beginning the season with a win over Winchester. Shipp continues to establish himself as a premier set-up man with four assists and a goal yesterday.
Junior Matt Page is having a strong season and tallied a hat trick against MC while Nick Albano contributed one goal and three assists and Brendan Flaherty potted a goal.
Freshman Jordan Rawding got his first varsity marker while Kevin Lally made eight saves and long pole Andrew Irving was stout defensively.