Boston High School: Colby Hall

SUDBURY, Mass. – Even as Lincoln-Sudbury lacrosse found a sliver of daylight in the third quarter of its Dual County League game against Concord-Carlisle, Warriors head coach Brian Vona had anxiety.

“We didn’t feel as though the game was over at that point,” Vona said of the two-goal lead L-S opened up in the third.

But the sixth-ranked Warriors would not relinquish that lead as they again threw the hammer down on defense. L-S hardly allowed the No. 15 Patriots past midfield in the second half, holding them to one goal in the final 24 minutes while cruising to a 9-5 win.

It was one of the state’s most robust defensive units finishing the job once again as the fearsome trio of Matt Barker, Eamon Hunter and John Sexton made scoring chances hard to come by for C-C, while senior goaltender Jack McCready made nine saves.

“Last year, it was our offense that we relied on; this year, it’s our defense,” Vona said. “I love the defense, they’re playing great. I love the intensity they play with. They’ve worked a lot together as a group, so they rely on each other. Jack [McCready] talks a lot directing the defense and that’s the most important thing.”

L-S (9-2) held a slim 5-4 advantage at the half, but watched the Patriots (4-6) draw even early in the third on Tommy Standish’s second goal of the game, assisted by Steven Armanetti (1 G, 2 A).

Eric Holden (2 G, 1 A) provided what stood up to be the game-winning goal with 3:37 remaining in the third before Austin Barta netted his third goal of the game with 1:43 to go. The Warriors added insurance goals in the fourth from Michael Yenke and Harlan Smart (1 G, 1 A).

Meanwhile, defensive midfielder Ryan Koenig stepped in to win some key faceoffs down the stretch, winning three of the game’s final four draws to salt the clock away.

“Concord plays tight-game lacrosse,” Vona said of his opponent, which happens to be coached by former high school teammate Tom Dalicandro. “They’re well-coached, the possess the ball. At that point in the game, we still had a lead, 7-5, but we still needed to win faceoffs.”

Shuffling the deck: While the Warriors’ defense appears in midseason form, they’ve yet to play with a full complement of players on the offensive half of the field.

L-S has lost Denver-bound attack Colby Hall during the season and has been without promising sophomore midfielder Connor McCarthy, who continue his rehab from offseason surgery.

The Warriors only recently saw one of their offensive stalwarts from seasons’ past return, with senior captain Greg Roder returning to the rotation.

“He settles us down,” Vona said of Roder – a four-year letter-winner. “He’s a guy that we know can move the ball and be in control. He’s a great athlete and he plays both ways. He got stuck on defense four times today, and he made great plays.”

Recap: Lincoln-Sudbury 5, Wellesley 3

April, 4, 2014
Apr 4
SUDBURY, Mass. – In recent memory, both Lincoln-Sudbury and Wellesley lacrosse have been staples in making deep runs in their respective divisions.

However, as Wellesley steps up to Division 1 from the D2 ranks this season, the Raiders got a sample of what they’ll encounter if they want to make another postseason drive in Thursday’s matchup with the Warriors.

Although Wellesley tried its best to draw even with a third-quarter comeback, L-S held on for a 5-3 win.

The defending Division 1 state finalists never trailed in the contest and ran out to a 2-0 lead at the end of the first on goals by Austin Barta and Chris Brindisi. Mike O’Connell added a third goal before the Raiders’ Tucker Dietrick broke up the shutout with less than three minutes to play in the half.

Wellesley (1-1) made its run in the third, winning the ground ball battle in the frame, 6-2. After Nick Brindisi’s goal gave L-S (2-0) its largest lead of the day at 4-1, the Raiders drew within a goal again on tallies from John Caraviello and Kerry Lyne.

Yet, the Warriors responded with a nice cutting goal from Colby Hall with Eric Holden hitting the University of Denver commit midstride on the feed.

Despite a couple of hit posts from both sides, the fourth quarter closed

“I think L-S is a little more toward mid-season and we’re a little more toward preseason,” Wellesley head coach Rocky Batty said. “I think there was a bunch to learn from today.”

X-factor: Wellesley’s third-quarter run came via a recommitment to winning ground balls in the midfield, accompanied by a slight variation in offensive attack.

“One of the places we had trouble with ground balls was at the faceoff X,” Batty said. “Tucker [Dietrick] did a good job of winning the draws, but John Sexton was just so tough in saying, ‘I lost the draw, but I’m going to win the ball.’

Both of the Raiders’ third-quarter goals came off of defensive ground ball wins. Then, in the offensive half of the field, they were able to get clean looks at the cage.

“We won the ground balls and we changed our strategy to go after their poles,” Batty said. “We just went for three, four straight possessions and we had some success.”

Closing stride: With several of its offensive mainstays out due to injury and facing a Wellesley side which was coming off an impressive 18-goal performance against Billerica, L-S looked to its defensive stalwarts to shut down a potent Raiders’ attack.

Enter Notre Dame-bound long-stick midfielder John Sexton.

“He played great,” Warriors head coach Brian Vona said of Sexton, “and he played against a great player in [attack Matt] Dziama – he’s the real deal.”

While Sexton turned in a multifaceted performance, slowing down one of Wellesley’s chief offensive threats and stepping in on face-off duty, it was put upon Matt Barker in close defense to mitigate the impact of Caraviello, who put in seven goals against Billerica previously. In a matchup of future Trinity College teammates, Barker disrupted the flow of the Raiders’ offense throughout, particularly in the fourth quarter, with the Warriors buckling down to close out the victory.

Lincoln-Sudbury's Hall commits to Denver

July, 9, 2012
Lincoln-Sudbury lacrosse attack Colby Hall has given a verbal commitment to the University of Denver.

The Laxachusetts club team member helped lead the Warriors to a Division 1 semifinals appearance during his sophomore season. Hall will join the pioneers for the 2014-15 academic year.

He is also a member of the Warriors' soccer team in the fall and is pursuing an Eagle Scout badge.

Recap: No. 11 Lincoln-Sudbury 17, No. 9 Billerica 9

May, 22, 2012

BILLERICA, Mass. -- Brian Vona has been around long enough to know that if his Lincoln-Sudbury lacrosse squad is going to make a deep run in this year's postseason, the Warriors defense is going to come up with big stops in key spots.

Led by sophomore Notre Dame commit John Sexton, the D did just that in the third quarter of last night's nonleague clash with fellow Div. 1 power Billerica. Goals by Peter Walters and Dan Trainor to open the third quarter helped pull the Indians to within two goals of the Warriors at 9-7. With Kevin Farrell dominating the faceoff X, it seemed as though Billerica was in the midst of what could have been a game-changing run.

The Lincoln-Sudbury (13-5) defense dug in its heels, worked hard to get ground balls and excelled in the clearing game after each of Dan Shaughnessy's 16 saves, and returned both momentum and confidence to the Warriors sideline. L-S then proceeded to score seven of the next eight goals and pulled away for a convincing 17-9 triumph.

"It was 9-7 where we were worried," Vona admitted. "They fought back hard and we knew they were going to make a run. They are very well-coached and very skilled. [Cam] Slatton, [Ben Melaugh], [Russ Tedford] and [Walters] - those are there four players who can bring it. We knew they were going to come back and they did. Our defense had to make a couple stops. We've been looking for that for a while from our defense."

He added, "Our defense really played well in the third quarter. That's when I feel like that we set the tone was set for the entire game.

Jordan Dow led the Warriors with five goals, while Colby Hall added three goals and three assists and Henry Guild chipped in with a hat trick. Slatton had three goals and two helpers to lead Billerica, with Walters and Trainor each adding a pair.

Vona also noted that, prior to the game, the Warriors dedicated their performance to program founder and now-retired former coach Andy Oleski.

The wide-open style that Lincoln-Sudbury plays makes them a very fun to watch and has for years. The offensive players, both attack and middies, know how to fill lanes and zip passes back and forth until they find the right shooting opportunity. Such plays led to a 5-2 first quarter and a 6-1 fourth.

The key for the Warriors is maintaining in the middle portions of the game. While L-S outscored the Indians in all four frames, Billerica played its best during the middle quarters. One the defense got going, however, that gave the offense the spark it needed for a definitive closing stretch.

"We just need all the middle too," Vona said with a laugh. "We've been playing well the last few games. We went down to the Connecticut and played a real tough team down there, got off to a fast start and lulled in the middle as well but we came back at the end. I'm proud of the kids."

Although Billerica managed to close to within a pair of goals during that third quarter, having to play from behind all game created problems that, against a team of the caliber of L-S, are just too much to overcome.

The Indians found themselves trailing by as many as four goals at several points, and once the Warriors made a strong push at the end, Billerica simply couldn't hold on any longer. An early harbinger of things to come took place in the opening minutes when a clearing pass was sent back to the Indians cage only to find no goalie waiting to receive it and the ball rolled right in for the first L-S score.

Games like this in the final week of the regular serve as strong teaching tools, something Indians coach Craig Flynn undoubtedly will address with his charges before the tournament begins.

"We started off in the hole, gave them a couple of goals early that we shouldn't have, passing back to the goalie when he's not in the net trying to clear the ball," Flynn explained. "We felt like we could keep fighting back but their offense is very good. They have good attackmen and midfielders and our defense was getting lost in there. We had a lot of mental errors. They have a lot of motion in their offense and it looked like our guys were getting lost out there on defense."

"It's all learning experiences for our guys to get ready for the tournament," he continued. "We'll learn a lot from this and I think we can make a solid run at this thing once we get into it."

DANVERS, Mass. -- St. John’s Prep and Lincoln-Sudbury are no strangers to each other when it comes to the Division 1 boys’ lacrosse tournament.

Wednesday’s quarterfinal at the Prep marked the third straight season in which the teams had met in the playoffs.

Even though the regular season was a little different for each of the sides, as both had to claw their way into the tournament in the final weeks, they produced yet another memorable postseason match-up. The defending state champion Eagles and the upstart Warriors again didn’t disappoint.

But L-S found itself in an all too familiar situation as ninth-seeded Prep again put an end to the Warriors’ season with a 10-8win.

“We’re getting to know them pretty well just in terms of seeing them in the postseason the last few years,” Eagles head coach John Roy said after ousting L-S from the tournament for a third-straight year. “Coach [Brian] Vona’s an excellent coach. We had to completely disregard the game earlier this season. We knew that they were going to be prepared and fired up.”

After falling behind, 2-1, in the first quarter, Prep (13-7) came back to take the lead in the second with two goals from John Farrow within a two-minute span. The senior midfielder tallied two unassisted goals off the dodge.

But the Warriors (11-8) reclaimed the lead before the half. Dan Delaney ripped one from 20 yards out to tie the score before Reed Spencer provided L-S with a 4-3 lead with just over a minute remaining.

The Eagles controlled play for the majority of the third quarter, when they ripped off three straight goals from Colin Blackwell, Matt Scalise and Dan Mini to take a 6-4 lead.

It was then Vona made an adjustment to exploit a hole in Prep’s defense.

“They were coming cross-crease and we weren’t taking advantage of it in the first half and we told our kids what was there,” Vona said. “Again, it was a couple young kids who got it done.”

L-S had the cross-crease pass working on Connor Hall’s tally from Colby Hall with 1:16 remaining in the third. It also spilled over into the fourth with Henry Guild (2 goals) banking in a feed from Spencer (1 G, 2A). Connor Hall added his second goal of the game with 7:35 remaining to give the Warriors an 8-6 lead.

From there, Prep was the team making the adjustments and finding the high-quality scoring opportunities. That is despite having two of their top guns — Blackwell and senior midfielder Jimmy O’Connell — bottled up by the L-S defense.

“They were playing hard on Jimmy [O’Connell] and Colin [Blackwell],” Mini said, “so we had a few people step up, like Drew O’Connell and myself. It feels good. I’ve been working hard during the year.”

Mini scored two of his three goals in the fourth quarter, including the eventual game-winner which came on a feed from Scalise with 3:52 to play.

The contributions from a variety of sources made the victory all that much better

“We actually ran plays with different people at different positions yesterday because Colin [Blackwell is] usually behind [the cage], but he wasn’t able to do that,” said Scalise, who led all players with five points (3 G, 2A).

Those varied formations also saw Scalise with the ball on his stick in a pivotal moment.

While trying to hold on to their one-goal advantage and bleed the clock, Scalise provided a game-clinching goal with 46 seconds left. After making a successful defensive stand, Prep turned the attack up-field in transition with Scalise leading the charge. He made a mad dash toward the cage, before kicking back out and then finally beating his defender off the dodge. Scalise released his shot from 20 yards out and found nothing but twine for his third goal of the game.

“We’ve working really hard in practice and things seemed to click yesterday,” Scalise said. “Today, we started off slow and we couldn’t possess well, but the defense helped us out and made some big stops.”

The Eagles will now face fifth seed Needham in the D1 semifinal on Saturday.

On the other hand, for the Warriors, it was the ending to a promising season that saw their 11 underclassmen who saw the field Wednesday take big strides forward.

“Those are young kids and I’m really proud of they fought,” Vona said. “And that’s a testament to the seniors, too, because they played hard through it all. Our kids love each other and they play hard for each other.

“I’m proud of them. [The season] was an absolute success.”

L-S ends Marshfield's perfect season

June, 3, 2011

MARSHFIELD, Mass. –- In a tournament game between a No. 1 and a No. 17 seed, the thought of a blowout victory isn’t all that unbelievable.

However, during the third quarter of Friday’s Division 1 boys’ lacrosse first-round matchup between No. 1 Marshfield and No. 17 Lincoln-Sudbury, it was the underdog who was threatening to run away, taking a five-goal lead.

The previously undefeated Rams showed their mettle, pulling within two goals before the third was over. But undisciplined play and the relentless Warrior attack were simply too much for Marshfield to overcome and, in the end, L-S handed the Rams their first loss of the season in a 14-12 win.

“We’ve just had kids stepping up all the time [this season],” Warriors head coach Brian Vona said. “I’ve been coaching a long time, but it’s been amazing to see these kids step up.”

For most of the season, L-S (12-8) has been playing with up to eight sophomores and three freshmen. The Warriors have also battled injuries, loosing top offensive threat senior attack Marc Pace for the season.

Another of those players who missed time this season was midfielder Dan Delaney, who missed four games after sustaining injuries in a freak accident at church. The sophomore, like most of his underclassmen teammates, have had to carry a greater burden of the load for L-S.

But things might be coming together at the right time.

Delaney helped spearhead the Warriors’ offensive explosion against Marshfield (20-1), scoring three goals and adding six assists. Meanwhile, senior captain Connor Hall scored five goals (four of which came in the first half) to go along with an assist and senior midfielder Dylan Pike had a four-point game with a pair of goals and assists. Freshman Colby Hall chipped in two goals, as did sophomore midfielder Henry Guild.

“We knew they ran a zone, so we would kind of spread it out, and look for the open man,” Delaney said. “And I just saw my guys open.”

L-S took a 6-5 lead into halftime and started to pour in on during the third quarter, when the Rams were whistled for 11 penalties. Using three of their man-up situations to their advantage, the Warriors widened their lead to five scores.

“They really out-disciplined us,” Marshfield head coach Rick Bagby said.

However, the Rams showed the resiliency that had carried them through a perfect regular season scoring three goals in just over a minute to reduce the deficit to two goals.

Ryan Connors popped in two unassisted goals and Connor Bagby scored with an assist from Matt Entwhistle.

The Warriors pushed the lead back to three with Colby Hall’s with eight seconds remaining in the third.

L-S held on despite surrendering four goals – two each from Mike Carbone and John Powers – in the fourth while receiving two goals from Pike and Delaney capping the evening with his hat trick tally.

“Coming into this game, we thought rankings didn’t matter, we were just going to play another team and play our game,” Delaney said.

The Warriors will face the winner of tomorrow’s first-round game between Framingham and St. John’s Prep in the quarterfinal on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Rams are left to wonder what could’ve gone differently.

“The seniors were such a special group,” Bagby said. “They’ve been together … since about the third grade they’ve been playing together. It’s going to be hard to replicate that group.”