Boston High School: Conor Healey

D2 boys' lax: C-C claims 4th state title

June, 16, 2012

WORCESTER, Mass. -- The Concord-Carlisle boys' lacrosse team wrote a new page in their long and storied history book on Friday night as they defeated Algonquin 13-3 to win the school’s fourth state championship and first since 1998.

The undefeated Patriots saved one of their strongest efforts for last as they struck early and often and played some of their best team defense of the season in the Division 2 state championship game.

“We have never had a season where we have played up to or beyond our potential every single game,” Concord-Carlisle head coach Tom Dalicandro said. “It is amazing.”

Concord Carlisle (22-0) got all the offense they would need in the first quarter as senior midfielder Jackson Finigan set the tone early by netting the games first two goals on strong individual efforts. Finigan and freshman midfielder Will Blumenberg would each net hat tricks in the opening quarter to give C-C a 6-0 lead after one.

Finigan would add his fourth goal of the game with 4:36 remaining in the second quarter to give C-C a 7-0 lead heading into the half.

Concord-Carlisle All-American goalie Doug Gouchoe made five of his nine saves in the first half and the C-C defense held the talented and high-scoring Algonquin attack of Conor Healey, Mike Wood and Keegan Gillis scoreless in the half.

Algonquin (22-2) got on the board with 6:46 remaining in the third quarter as Wood scored the first of his two goals on the night. Blumenberg would answer for C-C with his fourth of the game a minute later.

C-C closed out the quarter with three more tallies to Algonquin’s one score to take a 12-2 lead into the final quarter of play.

Wood and Finigan would exchange goals in the final quarter as C-C controlled possession to seal the win.

Finigan finished the game with six goals and Blumenberg added five goals and two assists to lead the C-C offensive attack.

“It was a team effort,” Finigan said. “Everything that I did would not have happened without the guys on the field out there.”

Senior Leadership: “The seniors on the team this year are the hardest workers we have,” Dalicandro said.

Finigan, Gouchoe, All-American long pole Henry Bumpus and midfielder Mike O’Brien (1 Goal) were the C-C captains this year.

Finigan will do a postgraduate year at Deerfield before heading to the University of Delaware to play lacrosse in 2013.

Gouchoe will head to the Air Force Academy where he will continue playing lacrosse.

“Doug has been unbelievable,” Dalicandro said with a smile on his face. “We are going to miss him next season along with all of the seniors.”

Bumpus, who missed the Shriners All-Star football game at Gillette Stadium on Friday to play in the state championship, will play football at Brown University next fall with his brother John and C-C football teammate Andrew VanderWilden.

O’Brien, an All-American soccer player, will head to the University of Pennsylvania next fall as a member of prestigious the Wharton School.

Refuse to Lose: Concord-Carlisle senior lacrosse players Bumpus, Finigan, Tyler Koning and Anthony West were also members of the Concord-Carlisle football team that went 13-0 and won the Division 3 Super Bowl under head coach Mike Robichaud.

“Going undefeated in two sports and winning two state championships are some really great memories that we will leave behind,” Finigan said.

The Futures: Blumenberg, who also starts at defensive back on the football team and guard on the basketball team, is a unique talent at Concord-Carlisle. The freshman was a top scorer this season while playing attack and midfield for the Patriots.

With top long pole Evan Boynton returning for his senior year along with Sam Barrett, Javier Flores and Blaine Taylor, the C-C defense should again be one of the top in the state.

Algonquin also returns many key components next year at attack with Gillis and Wood, in addition to midfielder Davis Kraft and goalie Giles Ober.

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Algonquin lacrosse sophomore attack Mike Wood had his first taste of the Tomahawks’ rivalry with St. John’s of Shrewsbury last year.

In the team huddle, leading up to the final quarter of Tuesday night’s Division 2 Central semifinal and down a goal to the Pioneers, Wood said his teammates rallied together to play the best 12 minutes possible, so that Algonquin’s seniors wouldn’t have to bow out against their adversaries.

Then, during the fourth, one of the younger members of the Tomahawks’ dynamic offense lifted the entire squad on his shoulders, striking for both the game-tying and game-winning goals. Wood’s winner came with a shade under four minutes to play and it marked Algonquin’s first lead of the game since the nine-minute mark of the first quarter.

But it was better late than never, as the top-seeded Tomahawks (20-1) advanced to the sectional final with a 7-6 win over the Pioneers at Foley Stadium.

“We just wanted to have possession,” Wood said of Algonquin’s fourth-quarter effort. “They’re great at ground balls. We wanted to hold it to give the defense a break, and then after holding for a while, their defense lost momentum and we took it.

No. 4 St. John’s (16-5) controlled the majority of the play, including an offensive flurry out of the chute. The Pioneers scored on their first three shots on goal, with senior attack Jeff Desko scoring two of his three goals in the first quarter.

Although Algonquin’s win marked its fourth straight against a bitter rival, Tomahawks head coach Rich Luongo was ready for the onslaught.

“They probably should’ve beat us today,” he said, “I think they played that well. But we just figured out how to hang tough, hang in there and win games. We have some big threats who can score some big goals for us.”

The Pioneers carried a 6-4 lead into the fourth on sophomore Andrew Smiley’s second goal.

Tomahawks senior attack Conor Healey bolstered the comeback charge with his first tally at 8:54 of the fourth. Healey (1 G, 3 A) was in on the act again, helping to set up Wood’s tying goal with a great split dodge.

Wood saved the best for last, however, notching the game-winner with a defender tucked inside of his jersey, ripping a shot off from his seat.

“I feel down and I just threw it [toward net],” Wood said, “hopefully, it was going in.”

Tuesday marked the second straight year in which Algonquin ended the Pioneers season. The Tomahawks claimed a 10-9 overtime win over St. John’s in last year’s Central final.

Algonquin’s held the recent edge in the rivals’ head-to-head matchups, including a late-season roughing up of the Pioneers.

“I knew that wasn’t going to happen today,” Luongo said, reflecting on the team’s last regular-season meeting.

There was a stark contrast to the teams’ play in each of the final two quarters. The Pioneers soundly won the third quarter, controlling the faceoff X and the ground ball battles all over the field.

“They were winning the clamp most of the night, but our wings were just doing a spectacular job,” St. John’s head coach Terry Leary said of his team’s faceoff success.

Yet, the same could not be said for the fourth, when the odds turned in Algonquin’s favor.

“We brought them in a huddle and we said that we’re too good of a team to go out this way,” Luongo said. “[Carter] Guzzi did a heck of a job at the faceoff X, and my wing play picked up their level and we started picking up ground balls. And once we get possession, we’re a good ball-handling team.”

Holding the potent Tomahawks’ assault to single digits in no small feat, and the Pioneers largely played the game they needed to knock off the No. 1 seed.

St. John’s got a top-notch defensive performance from long-stick midfielder Jeff Lukasevicz, who gobbled up a game-high seven ground balls, in addition to a couple of forced turnovers.

Leary praised the efforts of his defensive group, including senior captain Sean Wilson, Brendan Melanson and Aidan Fox

“We were trying to slough in a little bit more than we do against some teams because they’re so good at the off-ball movement, so we found ourselves in transition,” Leary said. “We were mixing up our slides … Even in the man [defense], they’re good with possessing it, so we thought we’d play some zone against it, they might start forcing the ball and we created some turnovers.”

Recap: No. 15 Algonquin 13, No. 18 St. John's 6

May, 20, 2012
SHREWSBURY, Mass. -- Algonquin lead 3-0 after one quarter and never looked back as they defeated St. John’s Shrewsbury (13-4) 13-6 on Saturday in a battle of Central Massachusetts powers.

The win gave the Tomahawks (15-1) their second victory over the Pioneers this season as they defeated their counterparts 12-8 in an early season match-up on April 7.

Ball possession was an important factor on Saturday as Algonquin senior FOGO Carter Guzzi helped the Tomahawks gain opportunities that led to four successful second quarter strikes and a 7-2 halftime lead.

Algonquin was consistent in each facet of the game as they played discipline team defense and took advantage of ample opportunities in their offensive zone.

“Lacrosse is a game of runs,” said Algonquin head coach Rich Luongo. “I just think we played so solid defensively we did not allow them to make any of those runs.”

The Tomahawks used strong rotating defense and patient offensive possessions to extend their lead in the second half and pull away with the 13-6 win.

“We were trying to slow them down in the second half,” Luongo said. “You want to play a paced game every once in a while, especially on defense.”

Algonquin Senior Conor Healey was the difference maker in the second half offensively as the athletic attackman used his speed to beat his defender and set up two of the three third quarter goals.

“We just came out and wanted to make a statement,” Healey said. “We all have trust in each other and that is important.”

Attack Unit: The Algonquin attack unit of Healy, Mike Wood and Keegan Gillis factored in on nine of the 13 Tomahawk goals.

“Our attack is one of the best I have ever coached,” Luongo said. “They will pick a team apart if they stretch out on us and that is what happened.”

Healy scored three goals on the day to go along with two helpers. Wood added four goals and one assist and Gillis also added a hat-trick.

“When you have three attackman that move the ball around like they do, if you want to stretch them, they will pick you apart,” said Luongo.

The Wall in Net: Algonquin goalie Giles Ober continued his strong play in net as the junior made seven of his 11 saves in the second half to preserve the victory.

“He is amazing,” Healey said. “He makes huge saves. The year before those would have been goals. It is good to have him.”

Ober’s solid play in net and quick clearing ability helped Algonquin thrive in transition on the afternoon.

“We rely on Giles to make some big saves for us,” Luongo said. “He made some stupendous ones today.”

The Road Ahead: Algonquin concludes their 2012 regular season campaign next week with games against North Middlesex and Westborough.

“We will not look past the next two game but we will focus on what we need to do in the tournament,” stressed Luongo.

St. John’s concludes their schedule on Monday with a home game against West Springfield.