Boston High School: Jared Ward

D2 Central/West: Shrewsbury 7, St. John's (S) 6

June, 3, 2014
Jun 3
SHREWSBURY, Mass. -- There were plenty of moments where you thought Shrewsbury would fade away against cross-town rival St. John's, but the Colonials went on a run in the game's final 11 minutes to score the upset over the Pioneers.

After failing to score in their first meeting with St. John's, Shrewsbury shocked its long-time nemesis, 7-6, as attackman Derick Tinsley threw home a rebound goal with less than two minutes to play. The play began after Shrewsbury's All-American goalie Chris Gorman robbed St. John's All-American attackman Drew Smiley for one of his seven saves, then Colonial middie Alex Chin picked up the ground ball and began sprinting the other way. But he would be stopped by the Pioneers' All-American goalie Steven Kerr, only to see Tinsley swoop in between four St. John's defender to clean up the miss.

"This was definitely our biggest game," Tinsley said. "Biggest thing I've ever done in my life, actually. This was our championship."

But Shrewsbury still needed one final defensive stop from its star goalie. With St. John's playing a man up and 43 seconds left on the clock, Gorman came away with another big save, stoning St. John's sophomore Andrew Cox, then clearing it immediately to ice the game.

"This was the best game I've ever played in," Gorman said. "Great opponent, the most fun (game). It's the best day of my life."

Things didn't start out quite so promisingly for the Colonials though, as Smiley scored the first of his four goals just minutes into the game, followed by a score from St. John's junior Jared Ward on the Pioneers' next possession. Tinsley scored the first of his three goals to get Shrewsbury on the board, but an acrobatic goal by Smiley quickly stretched the lead back to two. Even when Shrewsbury managed to tie things up in the third, thanks to a dodging goal by Chin, Smiley reasserted himself, scoring off a pass from Cox as he cut to the cage, then the next time down on a powerful drive from the alley.

With the Colonials down two and only 12 minutes to play, Shrewsbury coach Nate Skermont knew his team still felt it could pull off the upset.

"Even when we fell behind, we just kept grinding it out," Skermont said. "Belief is a powerful word, and that's what we kept saying in the huddle. Keep believing and keep working hard."

The Colonials struck quickly, as Buduo and Tinsley each scored their second goals of the game in the period's opening two minutes. Just under three minutes later, Buduo fooled the St. John's defense with a tricky pass-fake to complete his hat trick and give Shrewsbury its first lead.

From there on out, Tinsley's put back and Gorman's last save would carry the Colonials to the Division 2 Central/West championship game against Westfield. It will be a match up few predicted, with Westfield coming off an upset of its own, defeating reigning Division 2 state champion Longmeadow on Tuesday.

That game will be played Saturday at Worcester's Foley Stadium. Faceoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Recap: No. 5 Longmeadow 11, No. 2 St. John's (S) 6

May, 10, 2014
May 10
LONGMEADOW, Mass. — Six days ago, Longmeadow lost its first game in 38 tires when Medfield avenged last season’s loss in the Division 2 state championship game with 10-9 win on Saturday night.

The Lancers have since started a new, modest three-game win streak, the most recent of which was an 11-6 win over St. John’s of Shrewsbury on Friday night at home, handing the Pioneers their first loss of the season.

“Yesterday (versus Westfield) we came out really slow,” Longmeadow senior midfielder Drew Kelleher said. “Coach talked to us and told us we needed to have a four-quarter effort for tonight.

“This is a huge momentum swing. St. John’s was undefeated, came in here today playing some great lacrosse, so for us, this is a big win.”

Kelleher wasted no time getting points on the board, scoring the his first of five goals 27 seconds in. That was followed by his younger brother, Cam, posting another goal, giving Longmeadow a 2-0 lead only 90 seconds in.

The early offense provided some comfort for goalie Matt Draymore, who put forth a 13-save effort for the Lancers.

“When we played Medfield, I think he had two saves,” Longmeadow coach Ryan Liebel said. “He was really down on himself, and we tried to stay positive and keep him going. He turned it around real quick. It woke everybody else up.”

St. John’s attempted to cut into the lead in the third quarter, scoring three unanswered goals from Jared Ward, Drew Smiley and Andrew Cox. The trio of goals, made it a 7-5 game. Longmeadow would counter with a goal from Drew Kelleher, who knocked in a shot midair after a scrum of white and red jerseys attempted to scoop a ground ball outside the crease.

Ward’s second goal made it 8-6, the last time the game would be that tight. Max Stukalin ripped in a netter with less than a minute to play in the frame, and the Lancers added two more in the fourth quarter.

“The defense is aggressive and pushed out on us,” St. John’s coach Terry Leary said. “I thought Draymore had a great game. We had as many easy opportunities and he was the difference maker.”

The face-off battle between Kelleher and Connor Maloney was tight throughout the game, but Longmeadow was able to control the game, scooping ground balls, resulting in transition for the Lancers.

While Kelleher had five goals, Will Lukas set up a handful of his own for Longmeadow.

Smiley recorded a hat trick for the Pioneers.

Recap: No. 8 St. John's (S) 12, No. 4 Xaverian 3

May, 2, 2014
May 2
WESTWOOD, Mass. -- Those expecting a tight game between two of the best Catholic school lacrosse programs in the state left the Hawk Bowl shocked Thursday night, as St. John's (Shrewsbury) blasted Xaverian, 12-3.

It was a dominant all-around performance by the Pioneers, as senior goalie Steve Kerr registered 13 saves. Meanwhile, junior attack Jared Ward tallied five goals, plus a pair of assists, and All-American Drew Smiley dished out four assists to go with a goal of his own.

"I thought we came out and played all phases of the game today," St. John's coach Terry Leary said. "That's as good as we've played in the last couple years."

Sophomore middie Andrew Cox got things started for St. John's (11-0) in the first, ripping in a shot off a pass from Smiley to give the Pioneers a 1-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, Smiley would again create offense with his passing, this time finding senior middie Kevin Butler with a nice feed to extend the lead.

Then Ward took over. Most around the state don't know Ward. After all, he only played JV for St. John's last year, but Xaverian (7-3) won't soon be forgetting the explosive attackman.

In a span of two-and-a-half minutes, Ward threw home a feed from Smiley, wrapped around the cage for a jumping goal, then dodged in for another. His second quarter hat trick pushed the Pioneer lead to 6-0, then senior Nick Gabriele and Cox added a quick scores to make it a surprising 8-0.

By the time D.J. Sperzel stopped the bleeding for Xaverian with less than two to play in the half, it was too late.

"A couple times they got the ball [off the face-off], and were able to cause a turnover before they really got possession," Leary said. "Then once we had it, they were aggressive on our guys, and Jared Ward and the rest of our attackmen were getting a step every time they came out on them."

Jake Cox actually gave Xaverian the first goal of the second half, but St. John's quickly regained control of the game. Smiley found Butler again for a score, then added one himself from Ward less than a minute later.

Ward scored another dodging goal to close out the third and send the game to its final frame with St. John's leading 11-2.

Sperzel scored again in the fourth for the Hawks, but as he had done all game, Ward found room to work on the Xaverian side of the field, dodging in for his final goal to make it a 12-3 final.

"The practice intensity this week was outstanding," senior defenseman Will Roberts said. "We looked great in practice, and I think it starts there. (This week) it translated really well to the games."

It may seem like St. John's just had a big week, as the Pioneers established their dominance in Central Mass with a win over Shrewsbury, then notched big wins over St. John's Prep and Xaverian.

But things will get no easier for the Pioneers, who welcome Western Mass. power MInnechaug to Shrewsbury Monday, then travel to Groton-Dunstable Tuesday, before taking the long ride to Longmeadow next Friday.

The Lancers are the Pioneers' biggest competition in the newly realigned Division 2 Central/West, and St. John's will need to pick up a few more big wins before they can start thinking about a perfect campaign.

"We don't like to think about (going undefeated) or look ahead too much," Roberts said. "We've got Longmeadow next week, and we know that's gonna’ be a great game -- Minnechaug and South Hadley, too."

Recap: No. 8 St. John's (S) 9, No. 18 Shrewsbury 0

April, 27, 2014
Apr 27
SHREWSBURY, Mass. -- Amidst talk that upstart Shrewsbury, not defending district champion St. John's (Shrewsbury), might be the best team in Central Massachusetts, the No. 8 Pioneers sent a message to their rival Sunday: lacrosse in the heart of the Commonwealth still belongs to them.

Behind hat tricks from junior Jared Ward and sophomore Andrew Cox, St. John's cruised to a 9-0 win on a rainy afternoon at Shrewsbury High.

"I thought we played really well from the beginning," St. John's coach Terry Leary said. "I thought we had very few unforced errors, and that's something we've been pushing as we move toward the second half of the season."

It was a breakout day not only for the St. John's (9-0) midfield, which scored six of the team's nine goals, but also for senior goalie Steve Kerr. After waiting his turn behind now-graduated A.J. Arnold a season ago, Kerr is leading Central Mass in goals against average, at only 2.56 allowed per game. His six first quarter saves thwarted any chance Shrewsbury (9-1) had of making this a game.

"I think it was a great day for our defense," senior attackman Drew Smiley said. "Our offense has been getting the credit, but our defense has been there all year. Steve Kerr has been playing amazing all year too."

After Kerr weathered the initial storm, there wasn't much for him to do, however, as the St. John's defense limited Shrewsbury to just two more shots on goal the rest of the day. That, combined with an astonishing 20-2 advantage on ground balls, allowed St. John's to work its way out of an offensive funk, thanks to stellar play from its midfield.

The midfield, led by Cox' three goals, scored six goals total, dominated the face-off X thanks to senior Connor Maloney, and forced the normally solid Shrewsbury midfield into a number of mistakes.

"We came into the huddle [in the first quarter] and we kind of said to our middies, 'you guys can step up and you guys can control this game,'" Smiley said. "Andrew Cox, the sophomore, had a huge game. It was kind of his breakout game, and we've been waiting for him to do that all season. He's a great athlete."

Ward got things going for St. John's, scoring two goals in the first quarter, and Cox' first goal in the second quarter gave the Pioneers a 4-0 halftime lead. Cox opened the second half with a blast over Shrewsbury star goalie Chris Gorman's right shoulder to extend the lead and then added another cutting goal on a pass from senior Kevin Butler moments later.

Ward completed his hat trick and pushed the game to its final score of 9-0 midway through the fourth, establishing St. John's as the unquestioned team to beat in Central Massachusetts.

"It was a huge win for us," Smiley said. "Beating a team like Shrewsbury, they're one of the best teams in Central Mass, it's a great feeling, and we knew they were gonna bring it."

The road gets no easier for the Pioneers, as they get set to host a pair of talented Eastern Mass opponents. St. John's will first welcome St. John's Prep, Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., then Xaverian, Thursday at 4 p.m.
SHREWSBURY, Mass. – Although St. John’s (Shrewsbury) threatened to run away with Thursday’s game against BC High, scoring five goals in the second quarter, including a string of three straight to close out the half, the Pioneers were sweating out the final moments.

No. 13 St. John’s held on for a 10-9 victory, as the No. 8 Eagles scored two times within the final minute of the game

“We had just played eight minutes of gorgeous defense in the fourth quarter,” Pioneers head coach Terry Leary said, “but then we had three minutes where we started spreading out and giving them things underneath.”

The Pioneers (3-0) distanced themselves in the second, after a pretty even first quarter, where St. John’s took a 3-1 lead.

St. John’s built its lead on the strength of the effort of face-off man Connor Maloney. While winning 13 of his 16 draws on the day, Maloney came out with five of the six draws put down in the second, when the Pioneers pulled away with three straight goal to close the half within the span of 47 seconds.

After BC High (3-2) whittled the lead to one on a Sam Friedman goal, St. John’s took off with Maloney dominating the X. Jared Ward ripped in one of his four goals on the game off a split dodge with 2:10 remaining in the half. Then, returning Central Mass. All-American Andrew Smiley popped his second of three goals on the afternoon before Andrew Cox rounded out scoring in the second – set up by yet another faceoff win by Maloney.

“They were double-poling the midfield,” Leary said on the faceoff matchup. “That was a huge difference-maker because I thought early on both teams were jittery, or the wind, but we were throwing balls away. But then in the second quarter, that was all the difference in the world when we made our run.”

While the Pioneers favored a disciplined, ball-control attack in the third quarter, some sloppy play caught with up them in the fourth, leaving the door open for the Eagles to rebound.

After Connor Rocco netted St. John’s 10th of the game on a feed from Ward (5 points) with 7:58 to play, BC High closed to within a goal, as Mark McGolderick and Pat Cronin (2 G, 2A) scored twice within 32 seconds, leaving 13 seconds remaining on the board for the equalizer.

Again, Maloney came up big, winning the pivotal draw at game’s end – a fitting end to a stellar day.

“On the faceoff, we were tying to stop them from pinching and popping forward,” Eagles head coach Tim Kelly said. “You can’t let them get a clean a clean faceoff – at the very least, make it a 50-50 ball.”

Rounding into form?: Leary added that Thursday’s game marked the first that he had Smiley – the Navy recruit and returning All-State lacrosse performer, in addition to football – back to full strength, after an early season injury.

“The offense was adjusting to that, but we look at it in each of two ways,” Leary said. “If our transition is arrested, teams push out and become aggressive, we tell our guys they have the green light and they can go. That’s what happened in the second quarter, what I call some easy goals – in that we didn’t have to set up. They’re a very good, aggressive pre-slide team and we got some easy ones in transition before they could set up.”

On Thursday, the beneficiary of those alleys was Ward, who showed no fear taking on the cage and a good nose for the goal.

After graduating several of its top scorers from a year ago, it’s the type of performance St. John’s will need to stage yet another deep Division 2 tournament run.

“Every team is going to come early to Drew [Smiley], so if we’re not ready to receive, move the ball and re-attack, we’re not going to be successful,” Leary said.

Notes: Sophomore attack A.J. Kucinski led the Eagles with four goals. … As momentous Maloney's faceoff wins during the second quarter proved to be, the Eagles were kept at bay as well with Steven Kerr making five saves during the quarter in the Pioneers' cage. ... BC High’s man-up was working in fine form, netting three goals in four man-up situations. … The Eagles will need a better effort from the faceoff unit on Saturday, as they travel to face No. 2 Longmeadow (3 p.m.), which boasts one of the top faceoff winners in the state in midfielder Drew Kelleher.