Boston High School: Aidan Balboni
May, 3, 2012
By Ryan Kilian | ESPNBoston.com
Ryan Kilian for ESPNBoston.comSt. Sebastian's cruised to an 8-2 win over Middlesex School in a duel of ISL powers, thanks to some lock-down D from Pat Healy (No. 27) & Co.NEEDHAM, Mass -- St. Sebastian’s led from start to finish and executed in all facets of the game as they defeated Middlesex 8-2 in an Independent School League match-up on Wednesday afternoon.
“Middlesex is a good team and they came in here undefeated,” St. Sebastian’s head coach Shaun Stanton said. “We had possession early and that was key for us. We also got some big goals from our midfielders early.”
St. Seb’s (9-1) got on the board first as senior midfielder Jack Connolly found the back of the net on a nice individual effort to score the game’s first goal two minutes into the contest.
The St. Seb’s midfield unit of Connolly (3 goals, 1 assist), Aidan Balboni (2 G) and Notre Dame commit Dalton MacAfee (2 A) would account for five of the team’s eight goals, highlighted by Connolly’s second tally of the game. The Dartmouth commit scored with 11.3 seconds remaining in the first quarter as he beat his man to the left and found the back of the net to give the Arrows a 3-0 lead after one quarter of play.
St. Seb’s remained in control throughout the first half as they dominated the ball and used timely offense and lockdown defense to take a 6-0 lead to the half.
Middlesex defenseman and face-off specialist Sam Tweed did a good job all day for Middlesex in the face-off circle but the St. Seb’s defense and midfield play eliminated any lengthy possessions for the Zebras on the day.
St. Seb’s got two goals from attack Gordon Donnelly, who played well on the crease for the Arrows, and a lone score from attack Sam Washburne.
Middlesex received their offense from midfielders Toby Porter (1 G, 1 A) and Sam Muse who both found the back of the net in the third quarter.
GOALTENDING AND DEFENSE RULE THE DAY
St. Seb’s senior goalie and Bentley commit Jarrod Dillon had a strong game in the cage for the Arrows as he made numerous big saves that led to St. Sebastian’s break outs and long possessions.
“Jarrod played great today,” Stanton said. “That is probably the best game that he has ever played for us. Hopefully it is not the best game he will ever play, as we have the rest of the season to go, but he did a great job for us today.”
The St. Seb’s long poles also shined on the afternoon as they dictated the tempo of the game and created problems for the patient Middlesex offense. Along with long-stick midfielder Stephen Brown, the underclassmen close defensive unit of Notre Dame commit Pat Healy, Brian O’Malley and Connor Strachan shut the Middlesex attack out on the afternoon.
“Whether we are playing 3-3 zone or man-to-man we just naturally extend out and force offenses to go north to south,” Stanton explained. “This keeps them from getting to the cage so it makes it a lot easier for us. They also did a great job of forcing turnovers today.”
THE ROAD AHEAD
St. Sebastian’s has now won nine games in a row after a season-opening 5-4 loss to Phillips Exeter. The schedule does not get any easier for the Arrows as they take on Rivers, Milton Academy, and undefeated Governor’s Academy (10-0) in their next three contests.
Stanton highlighted the Gov’s game as “the big one."
Middlesex fell to 7-1 on the season and hosts Groton on Saturday. Groton is led by junior midfielder and Princeton commit Adam Hardej.
Groton is 6-4 on the season and boasts a wins over Roxbury Latin and Thayer on their resume.