Boston High School: Nate Skermont

D2 semifinal: Medfield 14, Shrewsbury 1

June, 11, 2014
Jun 11
WORCESTER, Mass. -- Medfield made it look easy Tuesday night, dominating all phases of the game and rolling to a 14-1 victory over Shrewsbury in a Division 2 state semifinal.

The Warriors (22-2) dominated the face-off X, winning 16 of 18 face-offs thanks to the play of All-American Brian Brissell, and buried the Colonials (20-5) with a series of cuts and pinpoint passes that allowed senior Tyler Hagan to score four goals and classmate Jack Isaf to add a hat trick.

"When you move the defense on every dodge, it makes it hard for them to think about who’s got slide help, and when they go for that slide somebody behind them cuts and gets open," Medfield coach John Isaf said. “It really depends on what we see from the sideline and how aggressive they’re being on defense. How hard they’re sliding and things like that. Then we’ll go with whatever works.”

Medfield asserted itself right from the start, scoring four goals in the game's opening six minutes, including two by Isaf before two minutes had rolled off the clock. The Warriors would then take a 6-0 lead into the second quarter. Senior Matthew Treiber scored a pair early in the second, and Hagan went on an individual three-goal run to push the score to 11-0 at intermission.

"It was just off-ball cuts for me," Hagan said of his productive night. "They seemed to kind of take their mind off the off-ball cuts and seemed to fall asleep a little bit, so a couple of those goals I just kind of snuck by."

Senior captain Matthew Crowell scored his second goal less than a minute into the third quarter, but Shrewsbury's All-American goalie Chris Gorman made four saves the rest of the period to momentarily stop the bleeding. But Isaf completed his hat trick less than two minutes into the fourth, pushing the game into "running clock" mode, and Thomas Sears scored his second of the game just two minutes later.

By the time Derick Tinsley got Shrewsbury on the board with five minutes to play in the fourth, Medfield had already scored 14 times.

After the game, Shrewsbury coach Nate Skermont was pleased with his team's effort, but said the Colonials simply ran into one of the state's elite teams.

"When they (Medfield) have the ball, there are three or four things that they can do to beat you that teams in Central Mass can't do," Skermont said. "I was pleased with our effort. We knew what we wanted to do, and we did it, but we just ran into a team that was that much better (Tuesday)."

For the Colonials, it was a bitter end to what had been a season of firsts. Shrewsbury captured its first district championship in program history Saturday with a win over Westfield, and scored one of the biggest wins in program history the previous Tuesday against rival St. John's in the district semifinas.

"I would not trade this team for any team anywhere," Skermont said of this year's Colonials. "That will never change. We will always be champions. Nobody can ever take that away from us. We're district champs, something nobody in our school has ever done, and we'll always be the first to do that, and I'll always cherish that and always have these kids' backs.”

Medfield will now move on to the Division 2 state championship game at Boston University's Nickerson Field. The Warriors will face Hingham in a rematch of last season's Division 2 Eastern Mass final. Game time has yet to be set.

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.

D2 lacrosse: Shrewsbury 12, Nashoba 9

May, 29, 2013
SHREWSBURY, Mass. -- A casual observer may have viewed No. 3 Shrewsbury’s 12-9 win over No. 14 Nashoba as routine, but Colonials head coach Nate Skermont knew better.

“Nashoba is a Number 14 seed,” Skermont said of the teams’ Division 2 Central first-round tournament game Wednesday. “No way they play like a 14 seed, no way we expected them to play like a 14 seed … We knew what we were in for and we knew they were going to keep fighting.”

But, as talented as Nashoba is, the game had the look of a rout early on.

Shrewsbury (16-5) built a 7-1 lead midway through the second quarter, led by senior Cam Kerr’s two goals and two assists. Shrewsbury’s balanced attack exploited Nashoba’s zone defense, with five different Colonials finding the back of the net before the Chieftains offense woke up.

With less than two minutes to play in the first half, Nashoba senior Kyle Elkins put Nashoba on his back, first finding junior Mike d’Entremont on the doorstep, then fighting through a double-team himself to tighten the score to 7-3 at the half.

Elkins scored again just eight seconds into the second half, swinging momentum in Nashoba’s favor, but it would be short-lived. Joey Buduo answered for the Colonials, and Shrewsbury would respond to the next two Nashoba goals with scores of its own.

But Nashoba’s switch from a zone to man-to-man defense was able to slow the Colonials attack for nearly 12 minutes of game time, allowing Nashoba to climb back in, thanks to contributions from its midfield.

Mike Lengieza scored the first of his two goals to ignite a four-goal Chieftains run that was finished by fellow middie Bean Brassard.

“We’ve been trying to get our midfielders going all year,” Nashoba coach Kevin McNamara said. “It’s kind of funny because they finally got going (Wednesday). We got big goals out of Brassard and Mike. I knew that if we were going to come out and make a game of this, we were going to have to get help from, for us, some untraditional places.”

Shrewsbury’s Connor Joyce ended the run moments into the fourth quarter with his third goal off a pass from Kerr. Lengieza would add another to make it 11-9, but Alex Chin put the Colonials up for good on a dodging goal with under five minutes remaining.

“It was just an adjustment going from [zone] to [man-to-man],” Shrewsbury senior attackman Luke Warner said. “I think we played a little tight when that happened, but Coach called a few timeouts and we calmed ourselves down. Everyone just had to chill.”

With the win, Shrewsbury remains alive in the Central Mass tournament and will get to host yet another playoff game. Their next test will come Saturday at 3:30 pm against a Nipmuc team they previously defeated 10-7.

While Skermont believes his team was severely tested against Nashoba, he knows things will only get more difficult from here on out.

“Nipmuc is a team we played earlier this year, and it was a close one,” Skermont said. “We know they’ve gotten better, and we know it’s going to be a challenge the rest of the way.”