By Dan Harrison
---- — DANVERS — Sixth seeded St. John’s Prep needed to find a way to ground BC High in the East Division 1 boys lacrosse quarterfinals yesterday considering the visitors were riding an emotional wave after defeating third seeded Duxbury in overtime in the previous round.
Instead, the hosts appeared to be sleepwalking in the early going and when the Prep finally woke up it was too late as BC High scored the 8-6 upset win.
“We knew they (BC High) would be emotional after the win over Duxbury. We had to try to neutralize their emotion early,” said Prep head coach John Roy. “They scored those two, man-up goals and didn’t look back until the fourth quarter.”
The host Eagles took two penalties in the opening 90 seconds and allowed No. 14 seed BC High (12-9) to score three times before Shawn Waldren put SJP on the board. The visitors would lead as large as 8-1 before the Prep made a furious, fourth quarter comeback that fell just short.
“A start like that helps momentum,” said Roy referring to the visitors ability to make the most of the early man-up opportunities.
The Prep’s strength on defense is it’s long poles and Tucker Mathers, Bryan Uva, Lucas Bavaro and Eamon O’Leary weren’t the issue defensivel. BC High, knowing it’s attack would have trouble, looked to run its offense through the midfield.
Pat Cronin scored three consecutive goals in the second quarter to stretch the lead to five at the half. He, Pete Timmins (two goals, one assist), Sam Friedman (one goal) and Pat Kearney (one goal) accounted for 8 of the nine BC High goals. Attacker Alex O’Brien was the only non-midfielder with points grabbing a goal and three assists.
BC High head coach Tim Kelly knew the team would need as many goals as possible while it had a stranglehold over the momentum because at some point, the hosts would respond.
“Their (St. John’s Prep) long poles are so good. We knew if we were going to score we’d have to hit them from the midfield,” said Kelly. “We knew the storm was going to come. We knew what they were capable of offensively. I’m happy we were able to weather the storm and had built enough of a lead.”
The Prep had twice beaten BC High in the regular season however yesterday the hosts looked to have no direction offensively, turned the ball over with bad passes and worst of all only capitalized on one of nine man-up opportunities.
SJP would score the final five goals of the game behind some strong individual play from Andrew O’Connell (one goal), Jack Sharrio (two goals) and Andrew Gallahue (two goals). The comeback could have been completed but the Prep hit two posts in the final five minutes while visiting goalie DJ Barrile (13 saves) stood on his head with seven fourth-quarter saves.
With the game on the line and urgency forced upon them the host Eagles were aggressive and connected on their shots while in the beginning of the game they took some bad shots and were hesitant to go into the teeth of the BC High defense.
“I think we were a little tentative (offensively). Their defense is big and aggressive and they took us out of our game for three quarters,” noted Roy. “They are high school boys and they realized the season was on the line and they cranked it up in the fourth quarter. It was good to see the effort but my hat’s off to BC High.”