Boston High School: John McVeigh

Andover's McVeigh confirms girls lax resignation

February, 1, 2013
In a mass email to the Boston area media tonight, John McVeigh confirmed his resignation as head girls' lacrosse coach at Andover High, retroactive to November.

McVeigh cited increasing amounts of work load and family commitments, outside the girls' lacrosse world, for his departure from the program. McVeigh is also the head boys' basketball coach at the North Andover-based Brooks School, which competes in the ISL; when Brooks' season is done, he can be spotted on the sideline helping out his father, long-time North Andover head boys basketball coach Mike McVeigh.

Under John McVeigh, the Golden Warriors have been one of the state's true powerhouses the last few years, producing All-Americans such as Ally Fazio and twins Anne and Kate Farnham. Andover went 20-4 last spring, falling to Lincoln-Sudbury in the Division 1 North Final.

Andover High is currently interviewing candidates to replace McVeigh. A new coach has not been named yet.

McVeigh released a statement to the area media regarding his departure, which is copied below:

I absolutely loved coaching at AHS. I had the chance to be there as an assistant coach on the first ever night of practice as a varsity team in 2001 (back when the head coach was new Boston University men's head coach Ryan Polley) and am very proud of how the program has grown over the past twelve years. Back then, we started off roaming the halls of AHS looking for kids who might be athletic or girls who had been cut from another spring sport to see if they would be willing to try lacrosse… and eventually AHS developed into one of the more successful programs in the state thanks to the girls' hard work and dedication. In my eight years as the varsity coach, we had some good success on the field and more importantly, the kids on the Andover team were even better people than they were players. They were a lot of fun to coach and I'm lucky to have had the chance to work with such great kids.

Leaving this position is not easy. During my time coaching at Andover, though, a lot has changed in my life off the field: When I was started there, I was single, teaching science at AHS, and had a ton of free time. I now work at a different school, have a wife and two young kids, and coach varsity basketball all winter. In the past two years, my job at Brooks has changed to include significantly more travel and work outside of the normal work day and a good amount of it happens in the spring. All combined, it was just not sustainable, especially if I wanted to be the kind of father that I want to be to Jack and Kelly. The schedules simply didn't work together. I missed too many things last spring and it was just the right time for this move. Coaching one varsity sport is enough for me right now. The single hardest part is leaving this coming year's AHS team: it's a fantastic group of kids and players and whoever gets to coach them will be very lucky. I'll miss it tremendously but I'm also sure it's the right decision for me at this point.

I'm sure I'll be back on the lacrosse sidelines at some point down the road, even if it's just coaching Kelly's youth team. I'm thankful to all our former players, coaches, parents, and all the folks at Andover HS that made it so enjoyable and appreciate all of the coverage that our team and players have received over the years from you folks. It's been a great ride and I'll definitely miss it.

Andover snaps Londonderry's 51-game streak

May, 23, 2011
ANDOVER, Mass. – The double-digit win streak is still intact.

Andover High's double-digit win streak, that is.

The Golden Warriors celebrated something Sunday that hadn't been done by any girls' lacrosse team in several seasons. They became the first club in two-plus campaigns to top New Hampshire power Londonderry High, posting an impressive 12-9 win under the lights at Eugene Lovely Memorial Field.

Londonderry's win streak – and one of the nation's longest active runs – ended at 51 games. It started after a 14-9 loss to Framingham in the third game of the 2009 season, and included back-to-back NHIAA Division I championships.

“It's going to be up there for a long time. Like I told these kids, they're part of it,” Londonderry coach Bob Slater said of the state record. “Who's going to touch 51 games? Not in my lifetime.

“That's going to knock us out of one of the top four or five (longest active win streaks) in the country,” he added. “It's something they can remember.”

Andover, meanwhile, clinched its 15th straight contest. The run includes last month's 12-5 win over Londonderry's arch rival and two-time reigning runner-up Pinkerton Academy of Derry, N.H.

Ally Fazio was a giant reason why Andover (18-1 overall) led for the final 42-plus minutes. The junior was a full-field force from the attack wing.

Her contributions included a marker during an early four-goal run that erased Andover's second deficit and produced a 5-2 advantage. Fazio finished with a game-high six points (four goals, two assists).

“I think (Londonderry's streak) was a really big motivator,” Fazio said. “They're such a good team. You could see it from when they warmed up to every time they had the ball on offense. It's a big accomplishment for us because they're such a good team.”

On this night, Andover was simply better.

The fourth-ranked squad in the latest Top 25 won duels in areas Londonderry (14-1) routinely dominates.

Fazio gave the Golden Warriors the upper hand in draws. Attacker Jen Caro (three goals) posed problems around the crease. Goalkeeper Jillian Beucler (eight saves) denied several point-blank bids that clearly gave her teammates bursts of energy.

But Andover's biggest key to victory was undeniable: Lock-down defense in 7-on-7 play.

The defense's focus was Londonderry junior midfielder Jenny Thompson, already a known commodity to several Division I college coaches. She was constantly bombarded by double teams, many involving Fazio and Jackie Alois.

Thompson hit for three goals. But most often, she was forced to pass the ball as a result of Andover's aggressive defenders.

“It's definitely upsetting. But there's worse things that could've happened than ending our winning streak,” Thompson said. “All that matters is if we tried our hardest. I know I tried my hardest and everyone else on the team tried their hardest.”

Nearly 10 minutes into the second half, Leah Walter (two goals) cut into Andover's 7-5 halftime lead. Spinning to her left in traffic, the junior attacker created an open shooting lane and didn't miss.

Caro and Alexa Bedell (three goals, assist) soon traded tallies. But Andover's mixture of midfielders and close defenders didn't allow Londonderry to pull even at 8-apiece.

They relied on accurate stick checks. They closed quickly on free-position shots. They were relentless in pursuit when the ball hit the turf.

“Our first slides, our second slides, even our third slides are right there – right away. Constantly. Consistently,” Andover defender Emily Shields said. “We just went out and took it from them.”

The effort was particularly impressive, considering Andover played its second game of the weekend. The Golden Warriors beat Acton-Boxborough, 18-11, on Saturday.

As for the Lancers, they can still add to their in-state win streak. It stands at 49 games.

“We have so much respect for that Londonderry team,” said Andover coach John McVeigh, whose team's lone loss was to Needham, 11-8. “It's a nice win for us. But, I think, it puts into perspective just how incredible that streak was. The target's on their back every single day. They're as good a team as we've seen. That's for sure.”

Girls' lacrosse

Londonderry (14-1) 5-4—9

Andover (18-1) 7-5—12

Scoring: L – Alexa Bedell 3-1, Jenny Thompson 3-0, Leah Walter 2-0, Caitlyn Murphy 1-0, Kelsey Derhak 0-1; A – Ally Fazio 4-2, Jen Caro 3-0, Sara Miller 2-0, Weezie Gross 1-0, Anne Farnham 1-0, Kate Farnham 1-0

Saves: L – Crystalle Parent 9; A – Jillian Beucler 8

Marc Thaler is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader & Sunday News. He can be reached at You can read his blog, "New Hampshire GameDay" and follow him on Twitter @marc_thaler.