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Norwell boys’ lacrosse sticks with it, finally brings home elusive state championship

Norwell's Joseph Daly (29) holds the trophy with teammates after defeating Medfield for the Division 3 state championship.Greg M. Cooper/Globe

WORCESTER — Motivation came in many forms for the Norwell boys’ lacrosse team.

A year after being denied the program’s first championship with a loss in the state final, the Clippers found themselves right back in the Division 3 title game against a storied Medfield team making its 10th appearance in the last 15 seasons. Norwell took advantage of its return trip and then some, never trailing in a dominating 11-3 victory at Worcester State’s Coughlin Field to secure the team’s first banner.

“We knew these guys could do it if they executed everything,” Norwell coach Josh Stolp said. “They executed unbelievably tonight. They were unbelievable.”


The second-seeded Clippers (21-2) had been knocking on the door of a title for several seasons even before last year’s loss against Dover-Sherborn. Norwell fell against Cohasset in the Division 3 South final in both 2018 and 2019 and had as great a chance as anyone at making a run in the 2020 season that never was because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s that lost year, Norwell goalie Ryan Daly said, that really laid the foundation for this year’s breakthrough against top-seeded Medfield (19-4).

Ronan Schipani (21) shows his excitement after Norwell's state championship victory.Greg M. Cooper/Globe

“I think it started with that 2020 class,” said Daly, a junior committed to Vermont who made 10 saves in the win. “When we had the COVID year, I think we had a strong team. That really pushed the family atmosphere. Coming off not having a year and then losing in the state final, we finally got it after a strong year.”

Ten players recorded at least one point for Norwell, with senior Griffin Vetrano scoring three times and junior Tim Ward dishing out a game-high four assists.

Vetrano scored the lone goal of the second quarter, giving the Clippers a 3-1 lead at halftime, as well as both the opening and closing goals of the third quarter, a frame that helped Norwell put the game away. In particular, it was an onslaught in the final minute during which the Clippers scored three goals, including Vetrano’s with a second left.


Faceoff man John Mullen, a junior committed to Syracuse, helped Norwell control 13 of 18 attempts at the X, in addition to scoring two goals.

“Norwell and Medfield, I honestly don’t know who’s better,” Mullen said. “Tonight, we were better, but it’s just about whoever brings it the most and tonight it seems like we brought it more.”

The matchup was in stark contrast to the teams’ meeting in the regular season on April 9, which the Clippers won, 8-7 in Medfield. Despite the head-to-head result, the Warriors still earned the top seed in the bracket.

“I think we’re under looked every year,” Daly said. “We beat them, still the lower seed, it gave us a chip on our shoulder, really drove us to put this performance up tonight.”

Norwell players had plenty of reason to celebrate after winning the program's first state championship.Greg M. Cooper/Globe
Norwell coach Josh Stolp (left) and captains John Coyle (15), Griffin Vetrano (1) and Joseph Daly (29) pose with the championship trophy.Greg M. Cooper/Globe
It was a banner season for Norwell, which won its first boys' lacrosse state championship.Greg M. Cooper/Globe