By Matt Jenkins
---- — TOPSFIELD — The Masconomet boys lacrosse team converted turnovers into transition goals last night at Roberts Field and edged Beverly, 12-9, in the fourth annual North Shore Cup.
The Chieftains have now won three of the four meetings in the North Shore Cup, also capturing the trophy in 2011 (11-8) and 2012 (15-9). Beverly won last year’s meeting (12-10).
“We knew this was going to be another great game,” Masconomet coach Tom Cobb said. “We knew that we had to keep it close. We felt that if any one team went on a run that it would just get away from either of the two teams.”
Masconomet (now 14-6) started strong with a good first quarter and ultimately turned in the game’s most important run in the third quarter. The Chieftains popped off four straight goals to break a 5-5 tie, and while Beverly never completely went away that was when the hosts took control.
“We had a lot of really bad turnovers,” Beverly (11-8) coach John Pynchon said. “The story of our season has been that we’re going to give you bad turnovers and we’re not going to stop you on defense. That’s losing lacrosse.”
The Chieftains will now move into the state tournament (which will be announced tomorrow) in a much better situation, having defeated Andover and Beverly back-to-back to close the regular season.
“After the Marblehead game (a 13-7 loss last week), we really had to look back and evaluate what we were doing, where we wanted to go and what we wanted to have happen for the rest of the season,” Cobb said. “There were five games last year that we dropped at the end against the same teams that we’re playing now. So we had this gut check and said, ‘How do we want this to go?’”
Masco parlayed a strong first quarter into a 4-3 halftime lead. The Chieftains got goals from Sam Antczak, Tom Cashin and Cam Jung to take a 3-1 lead after one quarter.
Beverly did a better job winning — and maintaining — possession in the second quarter. Panther goals by Rick McFarland and Matt Page sandwiched Cashin’s second tally for Masconomet, which allowed Beverly to pull within one at the break.
Masconomet may have controlled play in the first quarter, but Beverly had its chances. Chieftains goalie Jonathan Schiff snuffed out several point-blank Panther scoring opportunities.
The pace quickened in the third quarter and it seemed to favor Masconomet, which moved the ball with precision in unsettled situations.
“We gave up like four fast breaks — and they’re excellent at fast breaks,” Pynchon said. “They’re pros at it. We don’t want to give up fast breaks, but we’d shoot the ball in the goalie’s stick, sub three middies off and give them a fast break. The eighth grade youth team doesn’t do that.”
A pair of late third quarter goals from Beverly’s Nick Albano trimmed the Masconomet lead to three (10-7) after three.
Cashin, who finished with a game-high five goals, scored a big unassisted goal with 4:47 to play to give the Chieftains an 11-8 lead.
“From the beginning of the year to the end of the year, he’s just getting better every day,” Cobb said about Cashin. “It’s been great for us. He’s got a great lefty look and he’s hard to contain. He’s a big kid, he’s got good footwork, and it’s getting better every day.”
Harry Cwik added three goals and one assist for Masconomet while Jung added a pair of tallies. Max Craig had four assists.
Abate led Beverly with four goals and two assists to highlight the Panthers’ night.