Boston High School: Alex O'Brien

Recap: No. 8 Xaverian 9, No. 11 BC High 7

April, 10, 2013
WESTWOOD, Mass. – As Catholic Conference rivals BC High and Xaverian traded goals like dueling banjos through three quarters of Tuesday’s game, you could find a parallel for this season. With four teams in the initial ESPN Boston MIAA Top 25 poll, the conference figures to be among the state’s most competitive and deep this season.

But through the first couple of week of the season, as in Tuesday’s action, the No. 8 Hawks have emerged from the pack.

Xaverian ran its league record to 3-0 in the early going with a 9-7 win over the No. 11 Eagles at the Hawk Bowl.

“Being three-and-oh in the conference means everything to us right now,” Hawks head coach Tim Gardner said. “You have to treat every one of these league games as championship game.”

Xaverian attackman Jake Cox paced the Hawks (3-1, 3-0) with a four-goal performance.

The Hawks trailed 5-4 at the half, but tied it heading into the fourth on Cox’s third of the game. Xaverian pole Chris Ciolfi gathered a ground ball near midfield and went the distance, regaining the lead for the Hawks with 9:42 to play.

BC High (1-2) again responded about two minutes with a goal from Billy Breen.

But the Hawks retained the lead for good a minute later with Harry Walsh’s rip from about 15 yards out. Ryan McClellan added another less than a minute later for a two-goal cushion.

Alex O’Brien claimed BC High’s seventh tally, but the Eagles were shut out down the stretch as the Hawks saved their most effective possession effort of the game for its most critical stage.

Cox added his fourth of the game — on the man-up — during the final minute.

“Our weakness today is that we didn’t possess the ball as much as we should have in the second half,” Eagles head coach Tim Kelly said. “We played a lot of defense and, if you give a team like Xaverian those chances, they’re going to put the ball away.”

Gardner wasn’t overly pleased with the Hawks offensive effort – citing too many unforced errors against the Eagles. However, Xaverian was able to cash in during crunch time in the face of a staunch BC High defense led by Duke commit Ian Yanulis.

“It’s all ball movement,” Gardner said. “But when you have unforced errors, it takes you out of your momentum. It’s hard to running against the guys that they have. It’s a good defense and a solid scheme. You just have to move the ball quicker. When we were able to keep possession, we were able to work for good shots.”

While the Hawks are perched atop the conference standings in the early going, Kelly – a longtime BC High assistant in his first year as head coach – believes the race is far from over.

“You know they’re always going to be tight, I’ve been around it enough to see it. We lost in overtime to [Catholic Memorial], we lose by two here. Three-and-oh is a lot of breathing room early in the season, but it’s a long way.

“You know things are going to tighten up because we play each other so well and so often.”

D1 boys' lax: Needham 12, BC High 7

June, 10, 2012
NEEDHAM, Mass. -- Needham is heading to Harvard.

The No. 6 seed Needham Rockets took down No. 10 B.C. High on Saturday, 12-7, in the East Division 1 Semifinal, to move ahead to the Final at Harvard Stadium on Wednesday.

“Playing at Harvard has been a goal that these guys have set since I would say even years back,” Needham head coach Dave Wainwright said. “For us, last year we missed it by a goal against Saint John’s Prep to get there. We feel like that final piece of the journey is now – it’s now there for us. So we’re excited to say the least.”

The Rockets (16-5) lit up in the fourth quarter netting six goals –- a total they combined in the first three -- but the final frame was cat-and-mouse action with a 2-1-2 pattern in their favor.

Up 6-4, Needham’s Mark Riley (3 G) tallied his second straight shot -- the team’s first of the fourth quarter -- at 10:15, running up the middle against BC High’s Jonathan Barton in net. Timmy Parlato followed with a similar shot just eight seconds later for the double lead over the Eagles (13-9).

“Big sigh out of me,” Wainwright said. “When Timmy does big moments like that and becomes that big playmaker that he has been all season for us, we know things are going in the right direction.”

BC High’s Corey Davidson (2 G), who had a big game in the Eagles’ last match, answered with his second of the game at 8:47 on a bouncing shot on Needham’s Lucas Davis.

The Rockets fired back with two straight goals. At 6:48, Nico Panepinto (3 G) twisted his body in the circle to lay the ball in and, at 5:37, Mike Vespa scored from the left wing with James Caruso (2 G, 1 A) assisting.

Alex O’Brien netted B.C. High’s sixth goal at 4:35, but really Needham was taking charge. Nico Panepinto tallied again at 4:22 in front of the goal and Caruso scored the 12th at 3:22 on an open net.

BC High’s Brendan Hogan put the final ball in with 2:20 remaining.

Needham held a 3-0 lead after goals by Mikey Panepinto, Riley and Jamie McGill. BC High came within one for a 3-2 score after goals at 4:27 and 3:01, but again Needham put two past Barton in quick succession at 2:11 and 2:05. B.C. pulled within two to end the first half.

Davis made 18 saves in between the pipes and drew the praises of his coach.

“I don’t really get tired of answering questions about a kid that has been playing for me since eighth grade,” Wainwright said. “He’s an absolute joy to have, an absolute pleasure for our defense to play for. My guys, like I’ve said before and I”ll say it again, they rally to play for him and [Davis] feeds off that confidence and that’s why he’s able to do the things he does.

“[He] kind of came out and he felt a little uneasy because, like everyone, they’re high school kids and they felt some nerves, and his veteran leadership and his ability to take from his experience in the past two years, he was able to really put it on the field today.”

Needham will face No. 1 Duxbury in the final at 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday. Duxbury more than doubled up No. 4 Lincoln-Sudbury, 18-6, on Saturday.

“We’re looking forward to it because we’ve seen them before and, when you’ve seen something, the mystery is now gone,” Wainwright said. “It’ll be gone for both teams and I realize that. But I feel like we’re going to give it our best shot, and you know what, no one is really going to pick us, but we’re going to be the ones to hopefully be that spoiler.”

D1 boys' lax: BC High 11, Westford 9

June, 4, 2012

WESTFORD, Mass. -- Despite trailing for the majority of the game No. 10 seed BC High controlled the second half on both ends of the field and defeated No. 7 seed Westford Academy 11-9.

BC High used strong 6-on-6 defense and patient possession offense to hold the high powered Grey Ghosts offense to just two goals in the second half.

“We just settled down,” BC High head coach Ted Bibeau said. “I do not think we were ready for their speed and their shooting. That first half they kind of just jumped on us and buried some shots in the top corner. After that I think we just settled down and worked our match-ups.”

Westford Academy (15-5) got on the board first in the opening quarter as junior midfielder Ben Katz scored the first of his three goals on the day. Katz was amazing all afternoon for Westford Academy as he dominated the face-off circle and was also big in the midfield defense for the Grey Ghosts.

Westford Academy would lead 4-1 in the first quarter and controlled the early tempo of the game as they got up and down the field and moved the ball with pace. BC High, however, fought back and used timely offense to draw to within one goal at 7-6 at halftime.

BC High (12-8) came out in the second half and scored the first goal in the third quarter to tie the game at 7-7. The goal was scored with 9:05 on the clock as junior attack Alex O’Brien found senior attack Brendan Hogan for the first of their two hook-ups in the quarter.

Both teams would exchange goals until the 3:04 mark of the third quarter when junior middie Brendan Coholan would give BC High their first lead of the game at 9-8 on an unassisted tally.

“We started playing team defense and focused on not sliding from certain kids and helping on other kids,” Bibeau added.

The fourth quarter would begin with a quick game tying, transition goal by Westford Academy All-American sophomore attack Jay Drapeau (3 goals). The transition strike came only seven seconds into the quarter off of a Katz face-off win and an assist from junior attack Ian Speliotis.

BC High would take control of the game for the remainder of the quarter as their defense played as their defense stepped up to the task and senior middie Corey Davidson (3G) and senior attack Joe Buckley (3G) each added scores to seal the win.

Junior All-American defenseman Ian Yanulis (Duke Commit), senior defenseman Keegan Hayes (UMass), and senior long stick midfielder Jimmy Moynihan all stood out in front of senior goalie Jonathan Barton (Merrimack) in the second half.

Two Seasons: BC High struggled out of the gate this season as they began the year with a record of 1-7. Since their 9-3 loss to Xaverian on April 24 BC High has won 11 out of their last 12 games and is playing some of the best lacrosse in the state.

“We have just been coming back and coming back the entire year,” said Barton. “This has been what our entire season has been all about. We do not panic as we have been in games like that before this season.”

Rematch: BC High will face No. 2 Acton-Boxborough on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at A-B. Both teams are no strangers to each other as A-B knocked BC High out of the tournament last year, denied them a tournament appearance two years ago, and defeated them earlier this year by a score of 11-6 on April 21.

“In the first game with A-B we did not play our game, we played theirs,” Barton said. “We are excited to get a second shot at them this year and we will do what we can to get a W.”