Boston High School: Josh Freilich

MIAA boys' lacrosse championship picks

June, 11, 2013
6/11/13
8:31
PM ET
DIVISION 3

Dover Sherborn (18-4) vs. Cohasset (17-3)

Players to watch: D-S – D Rogers Boylan, A Matt Davies, G Ryan Goodall, M Matt Huemme, A Brandon Jaeger; Cohasset – G Jack Conte, LSM Tim Gillis, M Will Golden, A John Mills, M Colin Whelan.

Breakdown: The Raiders eye their second straight Division 3 title, but face a Skippers team that has won nine straight games dating back to a May 9 regular-season loss to D2 finalist Hingham. D-S feeds off of their goaltender, Goodall, who is equally adept making tough stops as he is springing the transition game with his long-strike passing ability. The Skippers are guided to Harvard by first-year head coach James Beaudoin, who hopes to lead the program to its first championship since 2010.

X-factor: For the skippers to win, they’ll need Golden to bring his A-game to the faceoff X and control play. He’s capable.

Pick: D-S 11, Cohasset 7.

DIVISION 2 WEST/CENTRAL SEMIFINAL

Longmeadow (23-0) vs. St. John’s of Shrewsbury (18-3)

Players to watch: Longmeadow – A Kevin Barry, M Eric Barsalou, G Matt Draymore, M Keegan Dudeck, A Zack Lukus; SJS – G Andrew Arnold, A Hunter Burdick, A Josh Freilich, FOGO Connor Maloney, A/M Andrew Smiley.

Breakdown: The two district champions met once during the regular season, with the Lancers invading Shrewsbury and keeping their perfect season in tact with a 10-8 victory. Both of these teams have their share of offensive firepower, but they can also stop it, highlighted by Pioneers pole Aidan Fox. As their prior meeting, this game will likely be decided by the midfielders and which team is able to win 50-50 ground balls.

X-factor: Another matchup where I’ll be watching the faceoff X. Maloney will need to be on point for the Pioneers to reverse the previous result.

Pick: Longmeadow 11, St. John’s 10 (OT).

DIVISION 2 EASTERN MASS

Hingham (21-3) vs. Medfield (21-3)

Players to watch: Hingham – G Tommy Bannan, M Caleb Brodie, M Jacob Brodie, A David Freitas, D Jack Ullrich; Medfield – D Ben Cox, M Matt Crowell, A Andrew Melvin, G Robert Treiber.

Breakdown: The last time these teams squared off at Harvard Stadium (2010), the result was a double-overtime instant classic. The Warriors, who were then on a run of two straight state titles, hope the result is near the same. These squads have been near lights-out in front of their goaltenders, so expect a low-scoring struggle.

X-factor: Cox and Ullrich: Two of the state’s best operating in their own end, they are game-changers.

Pick: Medfield 7, Hingham 5.

DIVISION 1

Lincoln-Sudbury (18-2) vs. Xaverian (15-6)

Players to watch: L-S – M Dan Delaney, A Jordan Dow, M Chris Giorgio, A Matt Hall, LSM Eamon Hunter, LSM John Sexton; Xaverian – D Rob Breed, M Ryan McClellan, M Ryan Scheib, A D.J. Sperzel, M Jack Wheeler.

Breakdown: It’s been a while since the two teams met in the first week of the season on April 6 (a 10-5 win for L-S), and many things have changed. The No. 1 seed Warriors held serve through the bracket, running through their opponents by a combined score of 41-11 on the road to Harvard. Meanwhile, the Hawks had to dispatch last year’s D1 finalist Needham and fend off Catholic Conference rival BC High — in overtime – in the semifinals.

X-factor: It doesn’t matter where he is (taking faceoffs, on defense, on the man-up), Sexton is a force. It’s always worth watching the manner in which head coach Brian Vona deploys Sexton in the game plan.

Pick: L-S 9, Xaverian 6.

Recap: No. 7 St. John's (Shrewsbury) 11, No. 23 Grafton 8

May, 21, 2013
5/21/13
1:22
AM ET
SHREWSBURY, Mass. -- While the Central Mass sectional lacrosse tournament is about a week away, St. John’s (Shrewsbury) head coach Terry Leary thinks his team already has a playoff mentality.

“Our game Saturday against Algonquin [a 7-6 overtime win] and our game against Grafton, we looked at them both as playoff games,” Leary said. “We felt like we needed these two.”

The Pioneers continued the trend on Monday with an 11-8 win over Grafton, ensuring them the top seed in the upcoming tournament.

St. John’s (13-3) used a five-goal run in the late third and early fourth quarters to distance themselves from the Indians (15-3). The depth and balance of the St. John’s attack was on full display on a muggy day in Shrewsbury.

While Grafton leaned heavily on All-American Tyler Reilly, the Pioneers had seven different goal scorers, including three different multi-goal scorers. St. John’s also made it a point to play Grafton midfielder Bryan Rotatori very aggressively, double-teaming the Indians’ other All-American nearly every time he crossed midfield, holding him to only a late goal when the game was out of reach.

“We know a lot of what they do runs through [Rotatori],” Leary said. “We know he likes to look for Tyler [Reilly] cutting, and we know he likes those diagonal passes, so we tried to take those away from him and make him work it around to the other middies.”

On the other side of the field, the Indians attempted to do the same to St. John’s attackman Drew Smiley. While the dodging junior was kept away from the cage the majority of the game, Grafton’s focus on him opened things up for senior attack Hunter Burdick’s hat trick and a pair of goals from Josh Freilich.

Kevin Butler notched his second multi-goal game in his last three games, and fellow middies Connor Long and Patrick Ryan each scored as well. It was a welcome sight for the Pioneers, who have gone from an attack-heavy offense to an increasingly balanced one in the last two weeks.

On defense, senior Aidan Fox stifled Reilly and Rotatori on ground balls all day, and took away numerous breaks launched by Indian goalie Eric Fisher. When the Indians did get good looks, they were often turned away by goalie A.J. Arnold, who robbed five clean Grafton looks.

“He made some great saves,” Leary said of Arnold. “I thought both goalies played pretty well, and A.J. Arnold got us into the late third and we went on that little run.”

Grafton will look to regain a bit of lost momentum against Mid Mass rival Nipmuc — a team the Indians have already beaten 11-0.

As for St. John’s, their gauntlet of tournament caliber games is not over quite yet. The Pioneers will welcome No. 5 Acton-Boxborough to campus this Wednesday before ending their regular season Thursday at home against West Springfield.

Both teams will know their tournament fates before week’s end with the playoff bracket set to be released Friday.
SHREWSBURY, Mass. – When chasing the brass ring of a perfect season, a team needs to hold itself to a higher standard.

Case and point was No. 6 Longmeadow’s 10-8 win over No. 7 St. John’s of Shrewsbury at Pioneer Field on Wednesday. The Lancers remained undefeated, moving to 17-0, but in the postgame, first-year head coach Ryan Liebel was more apt to point to the things his team didn’t do.

“The game was pretty ugly off the bat,” Liebel commented on the nearly instant 3-0 hole Longmeadow dug in the first quarter.

However, the finish is what counts most and the Lancers got the better of the fourth quarter, scoring a string of three goals to round out a two-goal victory.

Senior midfield Eric Barsalou tallied a hat trick while fellow middie Keegan Dudeck tallied the game-winning goal with less than six minutes to play.

“Ball possession was obviously huge and we took advantage of that,” Leibel said.

That advantage was due in no small part to junior midfielder Drew Kelleher, who reached double-digits in the ground ball battle. Also, Longmeadow owned the faceoff X in the second half, winning more than 60 percent of those draws.

“They dominated the faceoffs, it was at least two-to-one, if not more,” St. John’s head coach Terry Leary said. “I think all those extra possessions hurt us.”

The teams went into the half tied, 4-4, before the Lancers again seized the lead with two quick goals to start the third from Barsalou and Max Chipouras. But the back-and-forth continued through the second half. With five lead changes occurring in the game, the Pioneers (11-3) held a lead as late as the 9:55 mark of the fourth quarter, with Kevin Butler’s third goal of the game.

The Lancers again came back to make it a tie game just 34 seconds later on Barsalou’s third before taking the lead for good on Dudeck’s game-winner.

LIFE IN THE MIDDLE

While the tightly contested battle was indicative of what you’d expect from two of the top Division 2 programs in the state this season, and although the Pioneers fell short, there was plenty for St. John’s to take away from Wednesday’s performance.

The biggest positive that Leary saw from his team was offensive production from midfield — namely Butler’s hat trick.

“We have three very dangerous attackmen in [Andrew] Smiley, [Josh] Freilich and [Hunter] Burdick, and typically a majority of our scoring comes from them,” Leary said. “But if teams are collapsing on them, we’ve been working all year to get more and more middie production.”

With both teams heading down the home stretch of their regular-season schedules, there’s reason to believe they could meet again in the not too distant future, in a potential Div. 2 Central/West championship game matchup.

Neither side believed they played their best game under Wednesday’s soggy conditions, but they’ve separated from the pack. Further proof came in Longmeadow’s 16-1 dismantling of Eastern Mass. power Medfield last weekend.

For the first-year Lancers head coach, he’s just enjoying the ride for now. Liebel, a Longmeadow alumnus who played for the program and former head coach at Belchertown, couldn’t ask for a better group that – when it’s all said and done – might be historically good.

“It’s a talented group of players,” he said. “It makes coaching a lot of fun.”

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