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Ready to regroup

BOSTON – Keith Campbell may have been disappointed with the outcome of the MIAA Division II boys lacrosse state championship game, but he couldn’t have been prouder about how his team played and how his seniors have matured over the years.

Following Longmeadow’s 16-7 loss to the Hingham Harbormen at Boston University on Saturday, Campbell gathered his players off of Nickerson Field and to the side, where he told them, as a group, how proud he was of them. Then, individually, he went up to all 10 of his seniors and hugged them, including his son Kristopher, whom he had coached for the final time in high school.

“It wasn’t necessarily about lacrosse,” said Campbell, when asked what he had said to his son after the game. “I watched him graduate, I watched him win an Academic All-American. I watched him give a speech at Symphony Hall as the four-year president of his class. I watched him be a leader on the team and get the crap beat out of him. All I said to him was, ‘buddy, you’re a man.’ All you want is your 18 year old to be a man, and that’s what it was.”

On the field, Hingham scored early and often, reeling off seven goals in the first quarter en route to the 16-7 victory. But even though the game was out of reach in the fourth and final quarter, Campbell praised his team for playing through until the end, with the Lancers scoring four goals in the final frame.

“They’re a great group of kids,” Campbell said. “And even against that adversity, they never gave up, and they supported each other. Never once did you see somebody look at somebody else that made a mistake and hold their hands up or yell at them or be disrespectful to each other. If there’s one thing I’m proud of, it’s that they were brothers and supportive, and it was obvious from where I was. It hurts to get beat, it hurts. But you didn’t see it once. There were a lot of mistakes in the game that we typically don’t make, and that can crumble people. I see it in my profession all the time. When things don’t go well, everybody is looking to place blame. There was no blame placed.”

Longmeadow’s offense was led by Kristopher Campbell and Clay Moseman, who had three points apiece. Also tallying points for the Lancers (21-4) were Spencer Robbins, Sam Byrne, Jack Barron, Patrick Abad and Noah Skole. Goalie Joshua Zak also had a stellar game, tallying 12 saves despite being peppered with shots by the relentless Hingham attack, which was led by John Hennessey and Marc O’Rourke, who each had three goals.

While it was the final game for Longmeadow seniors Benjamin Black, Patrick Abad, Zachary Biron, Michael Pierre-Pierre, Andrew Pierre-Pierre, Kristopher Campbell, Jesse Goldberg, Joshua Zak, Jack Alberici and Carlin Joyal, the Lancers appear ready to build on their run of three straight Central-West Division II titles and two trips to the state finals. Leading goal scorer Spencer Robbins will return as a senior next year, as will Noah Skole, Clayton Moseman, John Barron and Sam Bryne.

“Everybody is going to say what they said last year,” Keith Campbell said. “They’ll say that they’re losing all of their defense. Last year, we were losing all of our offense. What the coaches know is that we’re going to regroup. We’re losing one guy on offense, and we’re losing our three defensive starters, but there were 11 other defensemen on the bench that have worked spring, summer and fall and have worked with Coach MacDonald as long as this year’s seniors and juniors. Next year’s sophomores and freshman have been with Coach MacDonald since they were in the third grade. All we can hope for is to make the same stride on offense this year on defense, and I have all the faith in the world that we’ll do it.”

– Article by Jeff Hanoulle