- Scott Barboza, ESPN Staff Writer
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ALLSTON, Mass. -- While it came down the final seconds, the score didn’t matter much in Saturday’s competition at the ESPN RISE Warrior 40 held at Harvard Stadium.
The collection of 40 of the top underclassmen lacrosse talents from across the nation had a local flair. Seven Massachusetts natives played in the competition, which was split up into Blue and Orange teams. The Orange held on to post a 13-12 win after last-minute comeback from the Blue squad.
“It’s a lot of fun and to win is great, but it’s just great being out here and having some of the best guys around,” said Wellesley High rising senior Oliver Saffery. “It’s a really special experience and I’m glad I was able to partake in it.”
Saffery, who collected a goal in the winning effort, was joined on the Orange squad by Raiders teammate goaltender Connor Darcey, who made the start.
Darcey was opposed by Foxborough netminder Greg Stamatov, the Villanova commit who led the Warriors to their deepest MIAA tournament run in program history. Stamatov also provided the highlight of the day, leaving his crease and turning up-field to score on Darcey in the first half.
“I came out of the net and I didn’t think I was going to do that,” Stamatov said. “I was just looking two-on-one. I kept moving up and no one was coming onto me, so I crossed midfield.
“I didn’t want to score on Darcey, I felt bad – to get scored on by a goalie as a goalie, it’s tough. I went down and I just had to do it.”
Also representing the Bay State at the event was Duxbury longstick defender Matt O’Keefe, North Falmouth resident and Canterbury School attack Niall Devaney, Philips Andover midfield Joe Kruy and Governor’s Academy midfielder J.C. Vivian.
Rounding out the New England contingent was New Canaan, Conn. Native and Brunswick School long stick Curtis Townshend.
“The competition was great,” said O’Keefe, who helped the Dragons capture their eighth MIAA title at Harvard a month ago. “I learned that you always have to be on your game because you never know when a guy is going to take it to the cage, you’ve always got to be ready because there’s so much depth out there.”