Boston High School: Lukas Buckley

D1 South: Xaverian 12, Needham 9

June, 7, 2014
Jun 7
2:01
AM ET
NEEDHAM, Mass. – Nick Shaw finished what Lukas Buckley started.

Buckley, a junior attack for Xaverian lacrosse, started Friday night’s Division 1 South sectional semifinal with points on each of the Hawks’ first three goals against Needham. But after Buckley was forced out of the game with a second-quarter injury, it was left to Shaw, a sophomore, to make the move from the midfield to attack.

It was a seemless transition.

Shaw scored four goals, including what would prove to be the game-winning goal in the defending Division 1 state champions’ 12-9 win over the Rockets. With the win, the Hawks advance to play Duxbury in the sectional title game, Tuesday at Harvard Stadium.

“Lukas is such a big possession kid for us, and a set-up man, and a quarterback,” Xaverian head coach Tim Gardner said, “him going down was something we had to adjust to.”

Buckley was a major presence in the early going, scoring two goals and doling out an assist on the Hawks’ first three goals of the game.

Xaverian (18-3) took a 5-3 lead into halftime, with Shaw playing a prominent role. He assisted on Dan Grant’s first of two goals, providing the Hawks with a 4-3 lead midway through the second quarter. Shaw then netted his first goal of the game with 2:22 remaining in the half.

It was at that time that Shaw went about trying to fill Buckley’s shoes.

“Our main X dodger wasn’t there, obviously, and probably our best goal-scorer, too,” Shaw said. “So I had to move down to attack from middie. It was a big loss, but I guess we got around it pretty well.”

The Hawks didn’t lose stride, as they scored twice within the first minute of the third quarter with Jack Wheeler and Sean Sperzel goals.

Wheeler scored his second of the game minutes later on a magisterial goal, collecting a ground ball in the defensive half before motoring through midfield, changing hands and letting it rip from 20 yards out.

Something inside the Rockets woke up at that point, however, as they responded to score the next four goals to tie it, 8-8, early in the fourth quarter.

“It just goes to show that our boys don’t have a quit in them,” Needham head coach Dave Wainwright said. “I’m very proud of just overall effort was, no matter what the score was in that situation.”

Aaron Maslow, Cody Mosgrove, Tim Peterson and Danny Jacobs scored goals in succession to knot the score.

But less than a minute after Needham had drawn even, Xaverian reclaimed the lead from an unsuspecting offensive source. Hawks pole Chris Ciolfi went the distance and then some, turning transition into the go-ahead goal with 7:42 to play.

“I was thinking about taking a timeout,” Gardner said of the play. “I’m glad I didn’t. Obviously, our long poles practice shooting and we know that Chris is a good shooter and he’s a transition threat. I think he was huge all night. That was just a great individual effort.”

From there, Shaw took control, capping the game with three of his game-high four goals in the final quarter. He notched the eventual game-winner with 6:10 to play before Cam Wolfe (2 G) added the Rockets’ ninth goal.

Toomey time: Hawks sophomore goaltender Mike Toomey provided the backdrop for the Hawks’ win, making 14 saves on the evening. The first-year starter has come into his own during the second half of the season, gaining confidence in his game and that of Xaverian’s coaching staff.

“He was seeing the ball really well tonight,” Gardner said. “He stopped some pretty point blank shots that you don’t really expect a kid to save. It was huge, a huge turn in momentum.”

D1 South: Xaverian 11, BC High 5

June, 2, 2014
Jun 2
12:49
AM ET
WESTWOOD, Mass. – Xaverian lacrosse has had BC High’s number in recent years. The Hawks knocked the Eagles out of the state tournament a year ago and swept the regular season series this spring.

“It’s hard to beat a team three times in a season, especially a team you’re very familiar with. It’s hard not to become complacent. I wanted to make sure the guys were fired up for this playoff experience,” said Xaverian head coach Tim Gardner.

The Hawks left little doubt in the early going that they would not let their Catholic Conference rivals out of the stranglehold they’ve had on them.

Xaverian scored three times in the first 5:53 of the game en route to an 11-5 victory over BC High in the MIAA Division 1 South Quarterfinal on Sunday afternoon.

Senior midfielder D.J. Sperzel scored 1:52 into the game before attackers Danny Grant and Lukas Buckley would add tallies over the next several minutes to stake the home team out to the early 3-0 lead.

“It was great [to get the early lead],” Gardner said. “When you get a lead like that, you can settle down and trust your offense.”

After Xaverian’s Nick Shaw and BC High’s Pat Cronin exchanged goals to start the second quarter, it was Boston University commit Jack Wheeler who scored his first two of four goals on the afternoon to push the Hawks lead to 6-1 before the midway point of the second quarter.

“[Jack Wheeler] is a gamer, he’s going to make those plays,” Gardner said. “If you give him space to run, that’s where he excels.”

“Today they gave me a little more space than I anticipated they would. I’ve been struggling shooting lately so it definitely felt good to net a few today,” said Wheeler. “Once you net a few you just feel great.”

Will McCarthy tacked on a goal to give Xaverian a commanding 7-1 lead to take to the half.

Despite seeming completely out of the game, BC High showed its perseverance and no-quit attitude to start the second half.

A.J. Kucinski scored twice in the first two minutes of the third quarter to give the visitors some hope. Jack Berg drew BC High within three goals at the 4:36 mark.

“We’ve always showed resolve. We were a couple goals shy of making an even better run,” said BC High coach Tim Kelly.

But that was as close as BC High would get. Grant, who has filled in admirably for the injured Jake Cox, scored another important goal to quell the Eagles momentum.

“Danny Grant does a great job inside in the crease. He’s a great inside player. It was an adjustment we had to make when Jake Cox got hurt,” said Gardner.

“It’s definitely a different dynamic. Jake is more of a shooter; Danny is more of a strong crease player. I can usually find [Danny] open on the crease. He’s pretty crafty. I think people lose track of him,” said Wheeler.

Wheeler scored the next two goals, one to end the third quarter and then again 5:14 into the final frame.

The two teams would exchange goals in garbage time, including Buckley’s second of the afternoon for the Hawks, for the 11-5 final score.

“It’s always nice to beat BC High,” said Wheeler. “It’s especially nice to sweep them and beat them all three times. We just have their number.”

Hawks’ intangibles: The offense was tremendous and showed its skill throughout the game, but the defense, goaltending and face-off play were also instrumental in sending the Hawks on to the next round.

 

Shayne Kaminski was very dominant on faceoffs, allowing for the Hawks to take charge and control the possession battle for most of the contest.

“Shayne Kaminski did a great job with the faceoffs,” said Gardner.

The Hawks defense also stepped up their game, limiting BC High’s scoring opportunities and stepping into shooting lanes.

“I think we did an outstanding job defensively. They have two outstanding guys offensively. We focused all week on getting bodies on them and not letting them run or get their hands free. We wanted to get in their faces and not letting them shoot,” explained Gardner.

“It’s hard to beat Xaverian at all. They’re such a good team. Kaminski does such a good job on the face-offs and their defense was pretty awesome today,” said Kelly of his team’s opposition.

Often overlooked in a game with such a wide margin of victory, the goaltending of Mike Toomey was stellar. The sophomore made several key saves, including a few where he sacrificed his body.

“He had an outstanding game. He stopped a few close up shots that could have changed the momentum for them,” said Gardner, whose team will face Needham in the Division 1 South Semifinal.

Tough pill to swallow: It wasn’t easy for Kelly to find much solace in yet another loss to one of his team’s fiercest rivals, but the coach lamented on the ups and downs of the season.

 

“We had a fair season. We play a tough schedule. It made us better for the playoffs, but unfortunately you run into a tough team like Xaverian.”

Kelly said he’s proud of his group that always showed up for practice and for games no matter the situation.

“They never give up. Even if we lost a bad one they’d be back at practice the next day ready to go. They never gave up. The resolve has always been there, which shows something about these kids.”

Recap: No. 4 Xaverian 7, No. 12 CM 3

April, 30, 2014
Apr 30
2:31
AM ET
WEST ROXBURY, Mass. – It’s not about the quantity of chances, it’s about the quality.

There weren’t many scoring chances to go around on either side in Tuesday night’s Catholic Conference lacrosse duel between No. 4 Xaverian and No. 12 Catholic Memorial, but the Hawks were simply the more patient, more efficient team.

Xaverian took a 7-3 win, completing a season sweep over its league rival, while improving 5-0 in Catholic Conference play.

“Possession is everything in a game like this,” Hawks head coach Tim Gardner said. “We know they can score if we give them the opportunity. They have talent and I think they’re their best with odd-man opportunities and on the fastbreak, so really we just wanted to slow the game down – play six-on-six.”

The Hawks (7-2) had contributions from six different goalscorers and never trailed.

Xaverian took a 3-0 lead through the first quarter, with goals from Will McCarthy and D.J. and Sean Sperzel. A pair of second-quarter goals from Lukas Buckley helped the Hawks to a 6-2 halftime lead.

In the second half, Xaverian’s staunch defense took over, limiting the Knights’ clean looks at the cage, as CM (7-3) was only able to get four shots on goal.

“We’re making our slides and recovering well, it’s all the things that you hope guys are doing – talking, communicating,” Gardner said. “They’re really buying into the system. They’re great athletes out there and we’re just letting them run.”

Joe Zegarelli made nine saves to keep the Knights in it, while Zach O’Brien scored a pair of goals. Frank Cosolito scored the lone goal of the third quarter to get CM within three goals at 6-3, but

“They controlled that game, the possession time had to be 60-40,” CM head coach Kevin Lynch said. “They won some faceoffs and, then when they got the ball, there’s a reason they’re a top team. They get the ball, they hang onto it. They took their time, got good shots and made them count.”

Recap: No. 4 Xaverian 15, La Salle (R.I.) 12

April, 26, 2014
Apr 26
6:20
PM ET
PROVIDENCE, R.I . – Granted, defending MIAA Division 1 boys’ lacrosse champion Xaverian Brothers and two-time defending Rhode Island Division 1 champion La Salle Academy play in different leagues as well as in different states.

But what if the Hawks and the Rams either played in the same conference or played each other more than once per season?

“Obviously, ‘O.D.’ (La Salle coach Steve O’Donnell) has them fired up, they run good patterns and they know what they want to do,” Xaverian coach Tim Gardner said on a frigid, rainy Saturday after the Hawks beat the Rams, 15-12.

“They have a heck of an athlete in No. 22,” he said of the Rams’ Joe Manown, who scored three goals and assisted on two. “I think they’d fit right in the Catholic Conference with us. If we played them a couple of times a year, it would be a tough game every time. I think that’s what every Catholic Conference game is like.”

Xaverian’s 1-2 punch of Jake Cox (five goals, one assist) and Jack Wheeler (three goals, one assist) paced the Hawks while Manown’s younger brother, Matt, also scored three goals and recorded two assists.

Lukas Buckley contributed one goal and two assists for the Hawks (6-2) while Evan McGreen scored twice for the Rams (3-2).

As far as O’Donnell is concerned, the tougher the non-league opponent the better.

“My philosophy here is we have a league and then we go out of league,” O’Donnell said. “We’re going to challenge ourselves in our league and out of our league. As for Xaverian Brothers, you’ve got to beat the best to be the best.

“The same is true with Medfield and Bishop Guertin. They’re three of the best teams I think in New England. But I think we’re a very good team. We’re young. But I think the difference today was discipline.”

For the first seven minutes, the Hawks gave every indication that they would blow the Rams off the field since they grabbed a 4-0 lead on goals by Cox, Peter Thorbahn, Cox again and Nick Shaw.

La Salle battled back and recorded unanswered goals by Matt Manown, Joe Manown and Drew Edwards (his goal came after a half-field pass from Matt Manown). But Xaverian scored a killer of a goal with exactly two-tenths-of-a-second left in the first quarter when Zach Bloom whipped home a shot from a good 40 yards out.

“We got up and we’re seeing it a little bit,” Gardner said. “The weather plays into a lot of the things we do. I think we got the better of that first quarter. But they chipped back. They have a lot of good athletes all over the field and were able to make some good plays on groundballs … unsettled situations … and climbed back into it and made it closer.”

La Salle pulled within 5-4 on a Matt Manown goal 52 seconds into the second period. And the Rams tied it when McGreen scored a man-up goal at 6:33.

Then, after Wheeler and Joe Manown traded goals to make the score 6-6, Xaverian’s Shayne Kaminski scored a key goal – 10 seconds after Manown’s goal to put Xaverian ahead for good at 7-6.

“We certainly have a lot of guys that are capable of scoring,” Gardner said. “I think defense is a little tough because of the weather and the ball’s skipping around. There were a couple of wild situations with the penalties and being multiple-men down a couple of times.

“It was a weird game in that sense. But Cox is a great shooter. Wheeler can take over a game by carrying the ball from midfield. He’s just a tremendous athlete. They’re seniors and we depend a lot on those guys.”

Wild finish: To say the final two minutes of regulation were bizarre would be an understatement.

Seemingly in an eye blink, Xaverian was whistled for three consecutive penalties. And during a span of 47 seconds, La Salle was playing with a two-man advantage. But either Mike Toomey (11 saves) made a save or La Salle missed the cage.

“I think at the end, when push came to shove, it was a close game (McGreen’s goal pulled La Salle within 15-12 with 3:17 remaining) and we had some man-up opportunities and we imploded,” O’Donnell said. “We made some bad decisions. But I have some seniors and juniors who can play.

“For whatever reason, it didn’t come our way today. Our goal with these games is to get better. I think it was a very winnable game. I’m sure they thought at one point it was a 50-50 game. We made some mistakes early and a let them jump on us quickly which probably was the difference in the game.”

D1 lax final: Xaverian 9, Lincoln-Sudbury 5

June, 13, 2013
6/13/13
3:43
AM ET


ALLSTON, Mass. – Xaverian made history on Wednesday night at Harvard Stadium. The Hawks claimed the lacrosse program’s first-ever Division 1 state title with a solid 9-5 victory over the top seed Lincoln-Sudbury.

Xaverian jumped out to a 4-0 lead early in the second quarter and controlled the majority of play to bring home the championship. Following the final whistle, head coach Tim Gardner reflected on what it meant to finally earn the elusive first trophy.

“It’s your primary goal every preseason…you work for this day and hope that it can happen and we’ve gotten close a few times and to win this game against that team…to win it in this fashion is pretty incredible,” he reflected.

Junior attack jack Wheeler was the star of the game offensively with four goals and he could only marvel at the accomplishments that the Hawks reached this year.

“It makes us feel great. We came out Catholic Conference champs and no. 7 coming into the playoff and knocked off no. 2 Needham and then L-S right now,” he remarked.

When asked if he was surprised about the Hawks quick start to the game, Wheeler replied, “I actually had a dream last night that we were going to come out and it was going to be 2-0 and then we’d go on to win.”

It took more than eight minutes for the opening goal and junior midfielder D.J. Sperzel opened the scoring for Xaverian. Wheeler followed almost two minutes later with his first and it was 2-0 Hawks after the opening quarter. The slow start continued for L-S, as Wheeler and semi-final round hero Lukas Buckley added a pair to make it 4-0 before the Warriors got on the board.

Head coach Brian Vona admitted after the game that his team just could not match the speed of the Hawks out of the gate.

“I think they outplayed us and they played with a different speed,” he explained. “ I didn’t see any of my guys run by someone or even try. I saw guys that we covered a month ago run by our guys.”

Vona added, “Our kids played with heart…but I felt like we got outplayed. It’s just that simple.”

L-S got back into the game in the second quarter. First, senior Dan Delaney struck to make it 4-1 and then senior attacker Jordan Dow made it a two-goal game. Sperzel and John Merwin traded goals and the score was 5-3 heading into halftime.

The top seed made it a one-goal game just 1:37 into the third quarter on Merwin’s second of the night, but Xaverian answered the challenge. It was Wheeler who struck back with a great move and rocket of a shot to make it 6-4. Gardner was proud of his best players coming through on the biggest stage.

“This is a great day for stars to step up, you know, and Jack [Wheeler] really earned it today with big goals at big times,” he said.

Wheeler pointed to the Hawks attacking with speed as one of the reasons behind Xaverian’s strong offensive performance.

“When we pushed it, we scored almost every time,” he said. “Most of our shots were on net, which was helping us out. We kind of just pushed it and it worked out for us and we kept pushing it.”



Following Wheeler’s third, Eric Hoffman notched his first to make it 7-4 and give Xaverian a much needed cushion. Chris Giorgio gave the Warriors hope with a score 2:21 before the end of the third quarter, but it would be the last goal from L-S in the game.

The Hawks defense has been strong all postseason against some of the top attacking talents in the state (including Nico Panepinto of Needham and Jay Drapeau of Westford Academy) and it was stout once again in the final.

“We tried not to let them pass around and pass around and possess and not give them any space when they drive,” Gardner said. “We were just preaching team defense, get a body on body, don’t let them see the back side of the field and just try to prevent easy goals.”

Vona was also full of praise for the strength of the Xaverian defenders, which had a much bigger impact than in the team’s regular season meeting (L-S won that game 10-5).

He noted, “I don’t feel like we ever got into a rhythm and I feel like that’s because of them. I think they played that well. I don’t know how many times we turned the ball over, but that wasn’t just us turning the ball over – they helped us turn the ball over.”

In addition to the Hawks’ long poles Rob Breed, Joe Gaziano and Elijah Jolly, who all had solid performances, Xaverian could count on goalie Jay Pourbaix to make the key stops. The biggest sequence came with the score at 6-4 and Pourbaix made two close-range saves to preserve the two-goal advantage.

Gardner made sure to highlight the contributions of his goalie, especially the way he battled through injury in the final.

“Jay [Pourbaix] has been playing hurt all week,” said Gardner. “He was banged up coming out of the B.C. High game. His knee is hurting and every step of his hurt, but he stepped up and it was just an incredible performance.”

In the fourth quarter, Wheeler capped his great night with a great goal to make it 8-5. He gave a pump-fake that forced two defenders to charge at him, stepped inside the defense and fired an unstoppable shot past the goalie. With 3:10 left in the game, Backus added his second to wrap things up and secure the title.

“It’s really remarkable and all the credit to the guys for their hard work and not giving up, not backing down when they started coming back a little bit and, really, at points in the season when it looked like we could have gone downhill…we really made a decision to step up and improve every day.”

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