Boston High School: Chris Ciolfi

D1 South: Xaverian 12, Needham 9

June, 7, 2014
Jun 7
NEEDHAM, Mass. – Nick Shaw finished what Lukas Buckley started.

Buckley, a junior attack for Xaverian lacrosse, started Friday night’s Division 1 South sectional semifinal with points on each of the Hawks’ first three goals against Needham. But after Buckley was forced out of the game with a second-quarter injury, it was left to Shaw, a sophomore, to make the move from the midfield to attack.

It was a seemless transition.

Shaw scored four goals, including what would prove to be the game-winning goal in the defending Division 1 state champions’ 12-9 win over the Rockets. With the win, the Hawks advance to play Duxbury in the sectional title game, Tuesday at Harvard Stadium.

“Lukas is such a big possession kid for us, and a set-up man, and a quarterback,” Xaverian head coach Tim Gardner said, “him going down was something we had to adjust to.”

Buckley was a major presence in the early going, scoring two goals and doling out an assist on the Hawks’ first three goals of the game.

Xaverian (18-3) took a 5-3 lead into halftime, with Shaw playing a prominent role. He assisted on Dan Grant’s first of two goals, providing the Hawks with a 4-3 lead midway through the second quarter. Shaw then netted his first goal of the game with 2:22 remaining in the half.

It was at that time that Shaw went about trying to fill Buckley’s shoes.

“Our main X dodger wasn’t there, obviously, and probably our best goal-scorer, too,” Shaw said. “So I had to move down to attack from middie. It was a big loss, but I guess we got around it pretty well.”

The Hawks didn’t lose stride, as they scored twice within the first minute of the third quarter with Jack Wheeler and Sean Sperzel goals.

Wheeler scored his second of the game minutes later on a magisterial goal, collecting a ground ball in the defensive half before motoring through midfield, changing hands and letting it rip from 20 yards out.

Something inside the Rockets woke up at that point, however, as they responded to score the next four goals to tie it, 8-8, early in the fourth quarter.

“It just goes to show that our boys don’t have a quit in them,” Needham head coach Dave Wainwright said. “I’m very proud of just overall effort was, no matter what the score was in that situation.”

Aaron Maslow, Cody Mosgrove, Tim Peterson and Danny Jacobs scored goals in succession to knot the score.

But less than a minute after Needham had drawn even, Xaverian reclaimed the lead from an unsuspecting offensive source. Hawks pole Chris Ciolfi went the distance and then some, turning transition into the go-ahead goal with 7:42 to play.

“I was thinking about taking a timeout,” Gardner said of the play. “I’m glad I didn’t. Obviously, our long poles practice shooting and we know that Chris is a good shooter and he’s a transition threat. I think he was huge all night. That was just a great individual effort.”

From there, Shaw took control, capping the game with three of his game-high four goals in the final quarter. He notched the eventual game-winner with 6:10 to play before Cam Wolfe (2 G) added the Rockets’ ninth goal.

Toomey time: Hawks sophomore goaltender Mike Toomey provided the backdrop for the Hawks’ win, making 14 saves on the evening. The first-year starter has come into his own during the second half of the season, gaining confidence in his game and that of Xaverian’s coaching staff.

“He was seeing the ball really well tonight,” Gardner said. “He stopped some pretty point blank shots that you don’t really expect a kid to save. It was huge, a huge turn in momentum.”

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.”