Boston High School: NEPSAC

NEPSAC: Salisbury repeats as Elite 8 champions

March, 3, 2014
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- You had to wonder if a trend was taking place.

With the top seeds in Sunday night's other two NEPSAC championship games going down to defeat, would a similar scenario be in store for the Salisbury School?

The way seventh seed The Gunnery School was holding its own on the ice, it was a distinct possibility. But to understand the strength of the Crimson Knights program is knowing that such fears are a considerable waste of time.

Even though it took a little longer than it would've like, Salisbury completed its mission in dramatic style.

Evan Smith's goal at 15:19 in overtime lifted the Crimson Knights to a thrilling 3-2 triumph over the Highlanders and be crowned the Stuart-Corkery Tournament champions inside Yale University's Ingalls Rink.

The victory earns Salisbury (24-1-4) its second consecutive Elite 8 championship. Last year, they defeated the Kent School, after the Crimson Knights also hoisted trophies in 2009 and 2006.

The Gunnery (20-7-1) forced the extra frame by striking for a pair of goals late in the third period.

But all of that was soon forgotten following Smith's heroics after taking a a tic-tac-toe pass from Derek Barach and sending a hard wrist into an open right side of the net.

"I was just busting down the line and I saw Barach up high and gave him a drop pass," said Smith, who will play his college hockey in the same arena next year for Yale. "He fed it back to me and I had an open right side of the net to put it into. It was deflating being up two goals with five minutes left and them coming back to tie it. But all of us kept our composure and we came out in overtime and were determined to repeat as champs and that's what happened."

After a scoreless opening period, Salisbury went to work in the middle frame. At 4:12, Kale Kane, a junior from Kahnawake, Quebec, on the power play, dove head first to push a wobbling puck across the goal line for a 1-0 lead. The initial shot came from Barach. The puck bounced off of Highlander goaltender Matt Schneider and flipped into the air and behind his left leg pad where Kane alertly knock it in. Barach, a senior, finished with two assists, giving him a team-high 33.

Four minutes later, with Alec Mehr serving a charging penalty, it was Kane coming up huge again. Lined up in the left slot, the forward took a nice crossing feed from Matthew Muzyka and beat Schneider with a one-timer to make it a two goal contest. Schneider, a senior, had a solid first period, stopping several quality shots to keep the game scoreless.

Overall, his play was stellar on the night except for a couple of miscues in the second and Smith's game-winner in overtime. Schneider finished with 35 saves.

Not to be overshadowed in all of this, Crimson Knights netminder Mitchell Datz, a senior from Kitchener, Ontario, was equally impressive between the pipes. Datz turned aside 20-of-22 shots with the only blemishes coming in the third when he surrendered goals to Mehr at 12:31 with the man-advantage, and couldn't catch up to Joey Fallon's bullet from the right wing circle at 15:18 to even this tilt.

"Overall I was pretty confident during the overtime," Datz said. "We hadn't lost an overtime game all year so I was pretty confident in my teammate's abilities to score. It was a little nerve-wracking when they tied it up but going into overtime I knew I still had a job to do and needed to remain focused and confident. Fortunately my teammates got the win."

Salisbury's defense did a nice job getting through those last few minutes of the third as they buckled down refusing to allow the Highlanders to gain any further momentum from their scores. In overtime, the Crimson Knights controlled much of the play. They consistently worked the puck inside The Gunnery zone, putting up 11 shots in the process with Smith's being the most important one of the night.

"This was a fantastic hockey game by both teams," Salisbury head coach Andrew Will said. "It was two teams playing their best hockey at the right time of the year and it showed. We score two goals in the second period and they come back with two in the third. In overtime all we were focusing on was getting the next goal. Giving up those two goals certainly takes wind out of your sails but our guys went back to the locker room and refocused. We didn't worry about what happened because it's so easy to do that. We just set our sight to coming back and playing our brand of hockey which I thought we did."

Martin/Earl final: Loomis-Chaffee 3, St. Paul's 2

In a wide open affair at both ends of the ice, leave it to a turnover to decide matters.

Loomis-Chaffee senior forward Alex Esposito, from nearby West Haven, picked off an errant pass inside the St. Paul's zone, skated in alone on goaltender Nathan Colannino (23 saves) before beating the junior glove side at 9:35 of the third period to give his team a 3-2 victory in the Martin/Earl Tournament. The triumph marks the first NEPSAC boys hockey title for No. 6 L-C (15-10-3).

Ironically, it was Esposito who scored the game-winning goal in the closing seconds of Saturday's 2-1 semifinal victory over Phillips Academy-Andover.

"Their defenseman was bringing the puck up and I went down and it hit my hand," said Esposito of his deciding score. "I just came down on their goalie and held him out a little bit and then went short side. This is such a huge win for our program."

L-C got hot at the right time heading down the stretch. They closed out the season going 5-0-1 in their final six games. According to head coach John Zawisza, this team was built on a premise that you had earn what you got with a lot of hard work.

"We had a couple of rough patches during the season but I think we started peaking at the right time and were able to come away with a championship," said Zawisza, whose club lost to St. Paul's in a regular season meeting back on Dec. 19. "I credit our guys' persistence during the season. Even when it was rough they still showed up for work every day. We were able to find consistency over the last two weeks of the season and the kids found that will to win."

With both teams getting a few quality looks on net during the opening period, the game remained scoreless until the waning seconds of the frame.

With 14 seconds showing, Austin Ricci pushed in a short-side shot into the net, putting No. 1 St. Paul's (20-9-1) ahead 1-0.

But L-C, showing a little more patients with the puck in the second period than it did in the opening frame, answered back. Senior defenseman Matt O'Donnell, flying down the left wing, beat goaltender Nathan Colannino with a hard backhander at 8:03 to knot things at 1-1.

St. Paul's followed that up with a couple of scoring chances on goalie Nick Kamm (13 saves) but were denied. Back came L-C down the other end. Ben Sharf delivered a perfect centering pass over to Esposito in front of the crease and Esposito buried it into the back of the net to give L-C a 2-1 lead after 36 minutes.

"Over the course of his career Alex has gotten a lot of big goals for us," Zavisza said. "As a coach you want your top guys to have games like that especially when it really matters."

St. Paul's wouldn't be down for long though. Just 2:08 into the third, senior Cam McCusker, got enough his stick on the puck to slip it past the out-stretched left leg pad of Kamm to deadlock things at 2 apiece. But the offense went silent thereafter.

"Loomis played very hard so give them all the credit," St. Paul's head coach Mark Bozek said. "Either we were tired or we didn't have our best game tonight. It's tough to come out on the losing end after you've worked so hard all year. We gave up a couple of odd-man rushes and they made us pay for it. Rarely tonight did we have an odd-man rush."

Piatelli/Simmons final: Kimball Union 5, Dexter 1

The Wildcats claimed their second Piatelli/Simmons Tournament crown in three years after storming past top seed Dexter.

KUA jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second period and never looked back.

The second-seeded Wildcats (26-6-5) officially put this one in the books with a three-goal third. Westwood native Bobby Hall and Andover product Tyler Bird scored 13 seconds apartj, both coming from the left circle, midway through the final frame to extend KUA's advantage to 4-0. For Bird, it was his team-high 33rd marker of the season.

Dexter junior sniper Ryan Donato got one back (his team-high 37th) a few minutes later but the damage was already done. Dom Franco (Scituate, R.I.) added an empty-net goal for the Wildcats in the waning seconds to finish this one out. KUA defeated Holderness in the 2012 championship game. Prior to that, the Wildcats won titles in 2010 and 1982.

After an uneventful first period, the Wildcats started to force the action during the middle frame. The up-tempo style would lead to a pair of goals. Chris Shero started things off by ripping a one-timer off a left wing circle face off feed from Brendan Riley to put KUA on the board at 12:16. Three minutes later, with the Wildcats continuing to move the puck up ice, forward Jacob Paluch, positioned at his own blue line, took a pass and fired a shot through traffic that Dexter goalie Pat Fraser (20 saves) never saw coming.

"We did get stronger as the game went on," KUA head coach Tim Whitehead said. "We obviously had a ton of respect for Dexter and knew it would be a tight game. The final score was not indicative of how this game was. We were able to kill off some penalties which was very important because we knew they had a strong power play.

“Our goaltender Paul Leger (18 saves) played very well in net and was our best penalty killer tonight. We just kept pushing offensively and got more chances with each period."

Dexter, which was in search of its second championship having last won it in 2011, finishes the season at 22-6-2.

"They did a nice job of clogging up the neutral zone on us, especially early which limited us offensively," Dexter head coach Dan Donato said. "They also did a nice job neutralizing Ryan before he got going a bit. We made some coverage mistakes on those two goals in the third. Both of those players are high-end guys and that is what high-end guys do when you make mistakes. I thought their first two lines really moved the puck well for them."

NEPSAC AAA: Brewster 68, New Hampton 63

March, 2, 2014
BEVERLY, Mass. -- There is starting a game slowly, then there is what Brewster Academy did on Sunday.

In the NEPSAC Class AAA Championship game against New Hampton, Brewster was down by as many as 16 points less than nine minutes into the game. It would not be a championship game without a little drama however.

With six minutes to go in the game, Isaac Copeland (8 points), a Georgetown commit, hit a transition layup to give Brewster its first lead of the game. It held on to win the championship with a 68-63 victory.

“I’ve been doing this long enough to know there was something missing in practice recently and in the last few games,” said Brewster coach Jason Smith. “We did kind of have a wakeup call last Saturday at Northfield Mount Hermon. We were down 18 in the second half and managed to come out and guard in the second half. That’s exactly what we did tonight. We played great defense in the second half. We just kind of went through the motions in the beginning of the game.”

Smith was forced to call two timeouts less than 10 minutes into the game just to try and slow New Hampton’s momentum. The second timeout came after a Tyler Lydon (10 points, 8 rebounds) three-pointer made it 23-7. Lydon, a junior, is verbally committed to play his college basketball at Syracuse University after next season.

As the first half continued, Brewster seemed to gather itself and picked away at the New Hampton lead. With 2:30 to go in the half, sophomore Donovan Mitchell hit a three to make it a six-point game.

“We’ve been starting off slow the whole year and that’s been our killer,” said Jared Terrell, an Oklahoma State commit and the No. 79 ranked player in the ESPN 100. “Coach called a couple timeouts at certain points in the game and that calmed us down and helped us realize this is a big game and we had to step up.”

Terrell came alive in the second half. During one sequence, he stole the ball on the wing and took it to the basket himself and threw down a dunk that livened up the Brewster faithful. On New Hampton’s next offensive possession, he did the exact same thing to bring his team within three points.

He finished the game with 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals. He was able to use his ball handling skills to get to the basket and draw fouls, shooting 10 free throws in the game.

“Jared’s just a competitor,” said Smith. “He’s tough, he’s hard-nosed, he competes and wants to win every time, no matter if it’s in practice. He just wants to win. He’s a competitive guy.”

Before Terrell’s back-to-back steals, New Hampton’s Tory Miller made arguably the most jaw-dropping play of the day. The Colorado commit had the ball near the baseline to the right of the basket. With one dribble he elevated and threw down a forceful one-handed dunk through not one, but two Brewster defenders and still drew a foul. The crowd was still on its feet as he went to the free throw line.

He finished the game with 14 points and 7 rebounds.

With 4:02 to go, 6-foot-9 UCLA commit Jonah Bolden caught a rebound and put it back for an easy two to give Brewster a three-point lead.

Two minutes later, New Hampton’s Mike LeBlanc (10 points, 2 steals), a Princeton commit, hit a three to put his team up 63-61. On the ensuing possession, Devonte Graham (15 points) hit a three of his own to swipe the lead back.

Clinging to a one-point lead with 23.9 to go, Mitchell (15 points) went to the free throw line looking to extend the Brewster lead. He made four free throws in the final seconds to make his team back-to-back NEPSAC AAA champions.

“There’s been a totally different Donovan since preseason and open gyms at Brewster,” said Terrell. “He was this out of control kid taking wild shots because he was coming from a school where he could do that. He had to change his game a little bit, had to be more under control and understand the game and how to play at Brewster. He’s done that.”

National Prep Bound: Brewster now turns the page to potentially make a run at a national championship to go along with its league championship. Even with his team seen by many as the gold standard of the NEPSAC, Smith was effusive in his praise of the overall strength and competition found within the league.

“It’s the best high school league in the country, I just with the rest of the population would realize how great of a league this is,” he said. “Everyone talks about the Oak Hill’s, the Findlay Prep’s, I would love to play them because we would kick the absolute crap out of them. Anyone in this league, any one of the three or four teams in this league could compete against those teams on a nightly basis.

“I would put New Hampton, St. Thomas More, Northfield Mount Hermon, and ourselves against Findlay and Oak Hill. People always talk about the traditional high schools and they kind of leave out the prep schools, but we’re the best league in the country and it’s not even close.”

NEPSAC AA: Cushing 76, Kimball Union 68

March, 2, 2014
BEVERLY, Mass. -- This time, there was no doubt.

After defeating the St. Andrew’s School on a last second buzzer beater by Jalen Adams to win the 2013 NEPSAC Class AA Championship, some were left wondering whether Cushing Academy was a legitimate champion.

The Penguins answered all those questions and doubts Sunday by defeating Kimball Union (N.H.), 76-68, to win back-to-back Class AA championships.

“When you win it on a buzzer beater, there’s always those questions about did you get lucky? Was it a fluke? Did you deserve to win?” said Cushing coach Barry Connors. “The guys in the locker room know of course we did. You come back and win it again, and it sort of validates the first one. It feels even better this time than last year.”

This game featured future college basketball stars on both teams.

Kimball Union’s Abdul-Malik Abu, the No. 32 senior prospect on the ESPN 100, is signed to play at North Carolina State next season. Oliver Tot (9 points, 12 rebounds) will take his talents to William and Mary next year.

Cushing Academy’s Kaleb Joseph, the No. 49 recruit on the ESPN 100, is going to Syracuse to play for coach Jim Boeheim. Jalen Adams, currently the No. 46 junior in the ESPN 60, holds scholarship offers from Division 1 schools such as UConn, Creighton, and Providence.

The Penguins were able to keep Abu in check for the first half, holding him to only four points. In the second half, he was more assertive on the low block. He used his positioning and his muscular frame to out jump the Cushing bigs for rebounds and second-chance points. The senior finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

KUA went on a 9-2 run in the last two minutes of the first half to make the score 37-36. In what became a theme of the game, Cushing’s Connor Gilmore (12 points, 5 rebounds) hit a three before the buzzer.

Gilmore was also charged with defending Abu in the low block for most of the game. The senior held his own for most of the game, but when you are playing against a player like Abu that likes to draw contact, the fouls are bound to pile up. That was the case Sunday as he fouled out of the game with 7:51 remaining.

“He and Aaron Todd (2 points, 4 rebounds) did a tremendous job on the block fighting with Abu,” said Connors. “He’s averaging about 14 points a game for us over the course of the season, but the last 8 games he’s averaging 17 and 10 and he’s been hitting big shots for us.”

Cushing came out with a 12-5 run to open the second half and Kimball was playing catchup from that point on. The closest it cut the deficit to was 63-59 with 4:40 remaining.

A minute later, Abu fouled Adams (16 points, 7 rebounds) as he was going to the basket and was Kimball’s 10th team foul. For the rest of the game, he and Joseph (22 points, 6 rebounds) were at the free throw line extending the team’s lead. The two guards scored their way to a second league championship.

“I think this time around was better because this team got a feeling of what it was like to win,” said Joseph. “Me, Jalen, and Idris Taqqee knew what it was like to win a championship. We knew it wasn’t going to be that easy this year. We had more bumps in the road this year. We fought through it and that’s why it feels a lot better this time.”

Taqqee shines: Lost behind the statistics of future ACC players and future high-major commits was the play of Cushing’s Idris Taqqee. The St. Bonaventure commit dominated the first half of the game, scoring 16 of his 20 points in the opening frame while the defense was focused on stopping Joseph and Adams. He was hitting shots from all over the floor, including two from behind the three-point arc.

In the second half, his production quieted down while Adams and Joseph had the ball in their hands more as the game wound down.

“Idris is the consummate glue guy,” said Connors. “But how many glue guys are 6-foot-5 athletic studs? You see he’s starting to stretch it out a little bit. He’s knocking down three’s and handling the ball a little more. He’s the heart and soul and he sets the tone.”

Midway through the first half, he had 14 of Cushing’s 23 points. He also came down with five rebounds in the game, showing he’s not just a scorer.

“He has a will to win, he’s willing to do a lot of the things no one else is willing to do,” said Joseph. “He’s down there fighting with Malik Abu on the block and then he comes out on the perimeter and can hit jump shots. He’s really versatile. He’s kind of our unsung hero.”

Sunday hockey tournament scoreboard

March, 2, 2014
MIAA Super 8
No. 1 BC High 2, No. 8 Xaverian 1: Eagles lead series, 1-0.

No. 2 Malden Catholic 4, No. 7 Catholic Memorial 3: Lancers lead series, 1-0.

No. 3 Springfield Cathedral 4, No. 6 Duxbury 1: Panthers lead series, 1-0.

No. 4 Austin Prep 2, No. 5 Central Catholic 1: Cougars lead series, 1-0.

Martin/Earl - Large Tournament Championship

Loomis Chaffee 3, St. Paul's 2

Piatelli/Simmons - Small Tournament Championship
Kimball Union 5, Dexter 1

Saturday hockey tournament scoreboard

March, 1, 2014

Arlington 6, St. John's (Shrewsbury) 3
Reading 5, Melrose 3
St. Mary's 4, Winchester 3 (SO)
Wilmington 1, Medford 0 (2 OT)

Barnstable 4, Milton 3
Braintree 4, Falmouth 1
Framingham 4, Franklin 1
Norwood 5, Archbishop Williams 3

Medfield 3, Martha's Vineyard 1
Oliver Ames 1, Westwood 0 (SO)

Acton-Boxborough 2, Billerica 1
Arlington Catholic 7, Westford Academy 2
Austin Prep 3, Reading 2
Watertown/Belmont 4, Andover 3

Falmouth 2, Algonquin 0


The Gunnery 5, Berkshire 2
Salisbury 6, Phillips Exeter 0

Wednesday hockey tournament scoreboard

February, 26, 2014
Arlington 1, St. John's Prep 0
Medford 4, Acton-Boxborough 2
Melrose 4, Chelmsford 0
Reading 3, Arlington Catholic 1
St. John's (Shrewsbury) 4, Burlington 0
St. Mary's 2, Waltham 1
Wilmington 3, Matignon 2
Winchester 3, Newburyport 2

Falmouth 2, Walpole 1 (2 OT)
Framingham 5, Marshfield 2
Milton 7, Brockton 3
Norwood 4, Mansfield 3

Oliver Ames 4, Milford 2

Abington 7, Cape Cod Tech 1
Ashland 2, Norwell 1


Hingham 3, St. Mary's 1
Lincoln-Sudbury 3, Melrose 1

Algonquin/Hudson 3, Martha's Vineyard 2
Cohasset 5, King Philip 3
Dedham 4, Leominster 2
Medway 2, Mansfield/Oliver Ames 0
Shrewsbury 4, Dennis-Yarmouth 1

Berkshire 3, Thayer 1
The Gunnery 7, Kent School 3
Phillips Exeter 5, Noble & Greenough 3
Salisbury 3, Cushing 2 (2 OT)

Choate Rosemary Hall 4, Belmont Hill 3 (OT)
Loomis Chaffee 3, Northfield Mount Hermon 2
Phillips Andover 3, Taft 2
St. Paul's 8, Proctor 3

Brooks 3, Rivers 0
Dexter 3, Canterbury 2
Groton 3, Westminster 2
Kimball Union 5, Millbrook 4 (OT)

Noble & Greenough 1, Loomis Chaffee 0
Tabor 4, Choate Rosemary Hall 1
Westminster 2, Pomfret 1 (3 OT)


Brooks 7, Worcester Academy 0
The Gunnery 3, Proctor 1
Millbrook 2, Governor's 1
Rivers 2, Berwick 1 (OT)

Player Perspective: Thayer G Bob McGovern

February, 26, 2014
Thayer Academy senior goaltender Bob McGovern has made a name for himself as one of the top netminders in New England the last couple seasons and, as a result, has drawn the interest of NHL scouts.

The imposing 6-foot-4, 245-pounder is an imposing figure in the crease and was ranked 25th among North American netminders in the NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm report. McGovern is a self-described “battler,” who plays an aggressive style, which might have stemmed from his experience as a lineman on Thayer’s football team.

While he gave up the gridiron this year to focus on hockey, playing the Cape Cod Whalers’ U-18 squad in the offseason, McGovern’s mentality transfers to the rink, as we learned when we caught up with him after a recent game at the Canton Sportsplex.

The Tigers earned the No. 3 seed in the NEPSAC Elite 8 tournament and open with a quarter-final matchup today with No. 6 Berkshire, so we asked McGovern about the team’s pulse heading into the postseason in this Q-and-A:

[+] EnlargeThayer Hockey
Scott Barboza/ESPNThayer Academy goaltender Bob McGovern helped the Tigers reach Salem last year, but the expectations are higher for the NHL Central Scouting Midterm prospect and the team as they begin play in the NEPSAC Elite 8 tournament today.
Q: Do you feel any pressure to perform after being ranked in the Central Scouting Midterm report?

A: “It’s definitely a little bit stressful, but you go into any game looking to win, that’s all you’re looking to do. But I just come to the rink every day to try to prove to people that I belong on that list.”

Q: What are the expectations for this team this year entering the playoffs?

A: “Last year, we had a magical run at the end. We really weren’t expecting to go .500 last year and we ended up in Salem. This year, we definitely had bigger expectations and we’ve done pretty good so far.”

Q: You also have football in your athletics background. How does that experience relate to playing goaltender?

A: “It teaches you to battle. Every shot is a one-on-one battle. In football, I was a lineman, so every snap is that one-on-one battle with the guy across from you. On the ice, every shot that comes at you is a one-on-one battle.”

Q: Which NHL netminder would you most associate you style with?

A: “I’ve always been a fan of Marc-Andre Fleury [points to the Pittsburgh Penguins t-shirt he’s wearing]. He’s always been one my favorites, but recently I’ve really enjoyed watching Mike Smith. I like the way he battles, the way he gets into the game.”

Q: What do you guys to hang out outside the rink?

A: “We don’t have a rink on campus, so the car rides from school to the rink are always fun. A lot of us are in the same classes, the same free periods, so we’re together a lot.”

Q: What is the most important thing your team can do to be successful in the tournament?

A: “We just have to outwork people. We have a great system, as we’ve shown the last two years, but it all comes down to outworking the guy across from you. This year we have a good mixture of skill and work ethic, so I think we’ll be ready to make the jump."

NEPSAC girls' hockey seedings announced

February, 23, 2014
The seedings for the NEPSAC girls’ ice hockey tournaments were released on Sunday.

Here’s a look at the fields:

Division 1

1. Noble & Greenough

2. St. Paul’s

3. Pomfret

4. Tabor

5. Choate Rosemary Hall

6. Westminster

7. Williston Northampton

8. Loomis Chaffee

Division 2

1. Rivers

2. Millbrook

3. Brooks

4. The Gunnery

5. Proctor

6. Worcester Academy

7. Governor’s

8. Berwick

Ice Hockey

NEPSAC boys' hockey tournament seedings

February, 23, 2014
The seedings for the NEPSAC boys’ ice hockey tournaments were released on Sunday.

Quarterfinal games will be played this Wednesday at the home site of the higher seed, with semifinals to follow Saturday, March 1 and tournament finals at Yale University on Sunday, March 2.

Here’s a look at the fields:

Elite 8 – Stuart/Corkery Tournament

1. Salisbury

2. Kent

3. Thayer

4. Phillips Exeter

5. Noble & Greenough

6. Berkshire

7. The Gunnery

8. Cushing

Large School – Martin/Earl Tournament

1. St. Paul’s

2. Phillips Andover

3. Northfield-Mt. Hermon

4. Westminster

5. Belmont Hill

6. Loomis-Chaffee

7. Taft

8. Proctor

Small School – Piatelli/Simmons Tournament

1. Dexter

2. Kimball Union

3. Rivers

4. Westminster

5. Groton

6. Brooks

7. Canterbury

8. Millbrook

Ice Hockey

NEPSAC: Milton Academy 62, Dexter 18

November, 16, 2013
BROOKLINE, Mass. – Together they formed an unstoppable gridiron duo.

The Milton Academy senior running back – a proven ground gainer capable of wearing down opposing defenses and the reigning Independent School League MVP – amassed 205 rushing yards on 25 carries that included four second-half touchdowns. And, despite a hamstring injury that sidelined him in the Mustangs season finale and nearly relegated him to decoy status against Dexter School, he committed only one miscue: a fumble on the second play from scrimmage.

The other – an upstart sophomore identified early in the season by Milton’s 18-year head coach Kevin MacDonald as ‘special’ – positively dominated the air attack on both sides of the ball. He contributed four catches for 87 yards on offense and two interceptions defensively, production that netted him three touchdowns overall.

On Saturday afternoon, this tandem, otherwise known as Drew Jacobs and Domenic Cozier, provided the collective punch necessary to propel Milton to a 62-18 victory over host Dexter in the Tom Flaherty New England Championship Bowl game.

“We have more confidence and swagger when he’s out there,” said MacDonald of Jacobs’ questionable status. “He fumbled the first one. He literally had maybe taken one handoff in practice.

“I thought this was maybe just going to be a ceremonial thing where he got a few snaps and then we put somebody else in. So I was shocked when he actually did what he did. That was pure guts.”

As for Jacobs’ heir apparent, Cozier, MacDonald was far less surprised with the underclassman’s breakout performance.

“He had an unbelievable game,” said MacDonald of the sophomore. “I’ve said all year that I think he’s a special player because he never gives up and he’s super athletic. He can sky. He runs a four-five forty, he’s got a 39-inch vertical (and) he’s just a very athletic kid. Plus, he has a terrific attitude.

“Maybe we’ve underutilized him a little bit this year, but today he just didn’t allow us to underutilize him. He made plays.”

TURNING POINT: With Milton leading 27-12 at the half, Dexter received the kickoff to start the second-half. On the second play from scrimmage, senior quarterback Luke Cuneo hit senior wide receiver Mark Webber for what appeared to be a short gain along the right sideline. But Webber wrestled through four arm tackles and raced 72 yards for what turned out to be a 78-yard touchdown only 50 seconds into the frame.

It was a play that seemed to awaken Milton and, in particular, Jacobs.

“I was pissed when they scored,” he admitted. “We all were.”

The response from Milton was emphatic. The Mustangs – behind three touchdown runs by Jacobs – reeled off 28 unanswered third quarter points to turn a 27-18 advantage into a 55-18 blowout 11:10 later.

Jacobs ripped off scoring runs of 35, 18 and 10 yards using a series of stutter steps and cutbacks to evade defenders. And while his trademark burst wasn’t there given his lingering hamstring woes, the senior displayed know-how to be productive even with his health at less than 100 percent.

“The line in the second half,” he explained,” those holes were huge. Coach (Paul) Healey said, ‘Anybody could have run through those holes in the second half.’

“I started slow. I was a little nervous about the hamstring. But it felt good towards the end.”

And sandwiched in between Jacobs’ first and second touchdown was Cozier’s pick-six, a play in which he corralled the interception off a deflection and zigzagged 38 yards for a touchdown that gave the Mustangs a 41-18 lead with 6:58 left in the third quarter.

Jacobs went on to add a fourth touchdown on a three-yard, which effectively closed out the scoring, midway through the fourth quarter.

HE’S ONLY A SOPH-O-MORE!: While Jacobs carried the load over the final 24 minutes, Cozier’s first-half play was paramount in keeping the Mustangs competitive.

After Dexter scored by way of a Luke Cuneo three-yard draw on its first possession – a drive set up at midfield by Jacobs’ fumble – to take a 6-0 lead, Cozier hauled in a 45-yard touchdown pass that included 25 yards after the catch, which he gained using a collection of spin moves, jump cuts and head fakes to outmaneuver Dexter’s secondary.

“We watched film on them and they couldn’t really control the pass,” he said. “So we had a game plan of just throwing over a lot . . . the post wheel, and we got it.”

Cozier’s second touchdown reception was even more impressive.

With Milton clinging to a 13-12 lead halfway through the second quarter after Cuneo connected with C.J. Okafor for a 51-yard scoring strike, Cozier made an acrobatic 22-yard catch along the right sideline of the end zone in which he turned and out-jumped two defenders. His deft body control somehow kept him inbounds when he landed from his jump.

On the whole, Cozier’s performance had more than just his coach raving.

“Dom played unbelievable,” Jacobs said. “I think he was the MVP. That’s who you should be interviewing.”

COSTLY MISCUES: Lost amidst the dominant performances of Jacobs and Cozier were the mistakes made by Dexter.

In addition to Cozier’s pick-six in the third quarter, Dexter also had both a blocked punt and strip sack returned for touchdowns.

The blocked punt occurred with 4:18 left in the first quarter when deep in its own territory, Milton’s Ethan Webster-Zinn deflected the punt at Dexter’s 10-yard line and teammate Matthew Morin scooped up the ball and rumbled into the end zone.

Trailing 20-12, Dexter again committed a turnover which resulted in points.

With time winding down in the first half, Milton’s Morin broke through the defensive line and flushed Cuneo to his right. As Morin pulled Dexter’s QB to the ground the ball popped out. In one fluid motion, Milton’s Sean Sylva grabbed the ball and raced 51 yards for the score and a 27-12 lead with 53.2 seconds left.

“That’s a great team over there,” said Dexter coach Casey Day of Milton. “They capitalized on every mistake that we made today and that’s what champions do.”

HISTORICAL SUCCESS: In MacDonald's tenure, Milton, which finished the season with an 8-1 record, has established itself as a perennial NEPSAC football power.

On Saturday, MacDonald picked up his third bowl win in his 18 years leading the Mustangs program, and first since 2008. Milton also captured a title back in MacDonald’s inaugural season (1996) coaching in the ISL.

Meanwhile, Dexter (7-2), which is only in its 11th season competing at the varsity level, reached a bowl for the first time in school history.

And while only one school received the Tom Flaherty New England Championship Bowl, the success of the upstart, albeit defeated, program was not lost on either coach.

“Casey’s done a great job with that program,” MacDonald said. “They’ve probably played football for 10 years or less. And to get to a New England Championship game . . . he’s really got some athletes. I think he’s really just done a tremendous job. Things just went our way today.”

“I couldn’t be prouder of our guys,” Day said. “Things didn’t turn out how we wanted them to today. But we have an unbelievable group of seniors that got us to this point. I tip my cap to those guys. They’ve built this program basically from the bottom. When they were freshmen we were at the bottom of the barrel and now we’re up near the top.”

M - 13 - 14 - 28 - 7 --- 62
D - 6 - 6 - 6 - 0 --- 18

First Quarter
D - Luke Cuneo 3 run (pass failed) 9:47
M - Domenic Cozier 41 pass from Anthony Scurto (kick failed) 5:08
M - Matthew Morin 10 blocked punt return (Jaejung Joon kick) 4:18

Second Quarter
D - C.J. Okafor 51 pass from Cuneo (pass failed) 6:50
M - Cozier 22 pass from Scurto (Joon kick) 4:04
M - Sean Sylva 51 fumble return (Joon kick) :53.2

Third Quarter
D - Mark Webber 78 pass Cuneo (pass failed) 11:10
M - Drew Jacobs 35 run (Joon kick) 7:47
M - Cozier 38 interception return (Joon kick) 6:58
M - Jacobs 18 run (Joon kick) 4:11
M - Jacobs 10 run (Joon kick) :24.6

Fourth Quarter
M - Jacobs 3 run (Joon kick) 6:55

NEPSAC: Phillips Andover 35, Brunswick (Conn.) 28

November, 16, 2013
AVON, Conn. -- For Phillips Academy-Andover, this was not the way it wanted to finish.

After running the table during the regular season to go unbeaten, the Big Blue found themselves in a perpetual quagmire against Brunswick School in today's Jack Etter Bowl.

During the first 22 minutes, Andover's offense struggled to move the football with any consistency, and the defense had no clue on how to stop Bruins quarterback Billy O'Malley. The junior signal-caller was riddling the Big Blue secondary at will, throwing for three scores in building a 21-6 lead.

For the Andover fans who made the two hour-plus trip to picturesque Avon Old Farms School's Ryan Field, their silence was contagious — all but excepting the fact that Brunswick (based out of Greenwich, Conn.) was the better team. Late in the third quarter after O'Malley connected with wide receiver Malik Wilder for a 57-yard scoring strike giving the Bruins a 22-point advantage, the Big Blue faithful were virtually in shock and awe.

But that is when things changed. Not once did Andover believe it was out it. A break here or there was all it would need to change the complexion of this game Their wish came true as the Big Blue demonstrated tremendous resiliency by scoring 29 unanswered points to power past Brunswick, 35-28.

"I knew their initial lead would not hold up," Big Blue head coach Leon Modeste said. "We just had to do something positive. Our game plan was to control the tempo and keep their offense on the sideline because it is such a tremendous offense. Once we were down we went to the spread but still ran the ball and that was the adjustment we made in the second half."

The groundwork for this comeback began a week ago after Andover (9-0) stormed back to beat long-time rival Phillips Exeter Academy in the closing minute.

The Big Blue's 'been there and done that' attitude certainly played a major role in this triumph.

"I'm just so happy with the way our defense adjusted against, probably, the best offense we've seen all year," Modest said. "We made some adjustments and stopped some of those big plays they were having success on. That team was very-fast and we weren't use to that type of speed."

The Big Blue's resurgence started once senior running back Ryder Stone blasted through the defense for a 25-yard touchdown run with 2:55 left in the third to make it 28-12. O'Malley, who literally was having his way in the first half having completed 7 of 14 passes for 151 yards and three touchdowns, found the road a bit rougher following his scoring pass to Wilder. After Stone's scoring run, O'Malley, who came into this contest having thrown for 1,929 yards and 28 touchdowns, went 7-for-19 for 103 yards and no touchdowns. He finished his day completing 12 of 26 passes for 251 yards. The 28 points was also the lowest point total put forth by the Bruins his season. Brunswick came in averaging 45 points-per-game.

The Big Blue secondary, led by senior defensive back Brandon Michel, made the adjustments to the Bruins' speedier wide outs, hanging with them and disrupting passes that allowed PA's offense to regain possession of the ball.

"We just needed to stay confident as a defense," said Michel. "In the second half we were able to re-group and we all trusted one another and each person's responsibilities. If we continued to do that we felt we could shut down their offense as a whole and that's what we did. We knew they had a talented offense but at the same time we knew we could compete with them. We knew our offense could come back and put points on the board. But in order to stay in the game we needed to prevent them from scoring, especially in the second half."

After Brunswick (7-2) did nothing offensively following the Big Blue's score, Andover got the ball back on its own 30. Behind the solid running of Stone, who put forth a workman-like effort, gaining 217 yards on 33 attempts, the Big Blue managed to reach the Bruins' 6-yard line. Stone finished the 70-yard march with a sprint into the end zone. His ensuing two-point conversion run had Andover down by only eight points at 28-20 with 11:30 left.

Over the next four minutes, Brunswick had possession of the ball twice, once courtesy of a Jack Varvel pickoff of a Ian Maag pass, but failed to move the chains. The Big Blue re-gained possession at the 7:20 mark on their own 29. Realizing every play would critical to have a shot to come all the way back, Andover orchestrated a 71-yard drive with a mix of pass and run. Moving the ball to the Brunswick 38 and facing a third-and-11, Stone got the call again and the Calgary, Alberta native didn't disappoint. Taking a draw from Maag, Stone broke through the Bruin defense for the touchdown. Now trailing by two points, Stone tied things at 28-all after bouncing off a pair of tacklers and reaching the right corner of the end zone on the conversion run with 4:22 showing.

"I knew we could come back," Stone said. "I'll admit we were asleep in that first half. We were struggling but we pulled through. It took a little while but once we stepped up and started to make some plays we knew we had it. We found some real success on the ground. There were some great holes and some great blocking up front."

With their confidence rattled, Brunswick looked like a unit dazed and confused. Its objective was to get back into sync and hope for the best. Inside PA territory and facing fourth down, O'Malley's saw receiver Henry Taylor had a step on Michel. But his throw was just out of the senior's reach, giving the ball back to the Big Blue.

On first down, Maag (10 of 27 for 144 yards) pumped fake a bubble screen in which the Bruins’ defenders bit on thus leaving senior wide receiver Matthew Rusk-Kosa all alone for a well-executed 66-yard pitch and catch to put Andover ahead to stay with 2:45 remaining. Brunwick's final attempt to tie matters faded after O'Malley was sacked for a 3-yard loss on fourth down.

The Bruins, whose last bowl appearance came in 2006 in a loss to Belmont Hill, got this contest started in the right fashion when O'Malley found Wilder for a 32-yard scoring pass. The Big Blue answered on their opening possession. A 50-yard kickoff return by Michel would lead to a Michael Moore 1-yard touchdown dive. The PAT was blocked and Andover trailed 7-6.

O'Malley's rein over the Big Blue secondary continued during the Bruins' next possession. A pair of passes to Wilder and Dyland Wadsworth set up a Wilder 29-yard scoring grab to make it 14-6 late in the first quarter.

Brunswick added to its total with less than four minutes to go before the half. Needing just three plays, O'Malley found Taylor in the corner of the end zone for a 33-yard reception to send the Bruins into the break feeling good about themselves, leading by 15 points.

"It was a hard-fought game and we played a very-good Andover team," said Bruins coach Jarrett Shine. "It was a battle the entire time. Billy O'Malley is a leader for us and his future is very bright. Our kids have nothing to hang their heads about. Andover was able to move the ball well on the ground and we just didn't wrap up and make tackles. We also had a couple of blown coverages late which also hurt us."

NEPSAC football bowls announced

November, 10, 2013
The New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) today announced the pairings for its football championship bowls.

Here's a look at Saturday's action, with all game kicking off at 1 p.m.:

Jack Etter New England Championship Bowl - Phillips Academy Andover (8-0) vs. Brunswick School (7-1), at Avon Old Farms.

Kevin Fleming New England Championship Bowl - The Governor's Academy (7-1) vs. Hamden Hall (6-2), at Tabor Academy.

Tom Flaherty New England Championship Bowl - Dexter School (7-1) vs. Milton Academy (7-1), at Dexter School.

Arthur Valicenti New England Championship Bowl - Suffield Academy (8-0) vs. Avon Old Farms (7-1).

Dan Rorke New England Championship Bowl - New Hampton School (8-0) vs. Cheshire Academy (7-1), at Williston-Northampton.



Brimmer and May's Mojica commits to Drexel

August, 28, 2013
Brimmer and May senior guard Sammy Mojica committed to Drexel University earlier today, weeks after he took an unofficial visit to the Philadelphia school.

Mojica, a 6-foot-3 wing player known for his versatility on the perimeter, averaged 18 points per game last year for Brimmer, earning third-team all NEPSAC honors. He was one of the top players in the MIAA following his junior year, just a game away from getting his name on a “1000 point” banner at Chelsea High School—and potentially, becoming the all-time leading scorer in the school’s history.

Instead, he made the decision to attend Brimmer and May, in hopes of earning a Division 1 scholarship, preparing himself mentally for college, and to work year-round with coach Tom Nelson. He earned a scholarship this summer from Drexel, and was taken aback by the loyalty of Drexel head coach Bruiser Flint and his staff.

Given the fact that Mojica can play either perimeter position or slide over to the small forward spot, Flint nicknamed him “a Swiss Army knife,” because of his versatility on the basketball court.

“They were the first team to offer me, to give me a chance,” Mojica said. “They saw something in me.

“They were the first school to get real serious. I was waiting for an offer, they were the first ones to pull the trigger. When I went to go visit, it felt right; it felt like I belonged there.”

Nelson heavily recruited Mojica during his junior year at Chelsea. He attended games at Chelsea High, brought members of the Brimmer and May team to the games, and made a promise to Mojica’s parents: to see to it that Sammy earned a free education. Not only did Nelson help him earn a Division 1 scholarship, the coach helped transform his game, making sure to keep every promise along the way.

“Tom has been exceptional,” Mojica said of his coach. “I love Tom with all my heart. When he came to one of my games at Chelsea and brought some guys on the team, I told my parents that’s where I wanted to go.

“My mom put full trust in Tom, everything he told my mom has ended up happening. He’s very loyal, hasn’t made a mistake with me yet, he’s trustworthy. He worked me, he just pushed me so hard every day in practice.”

Their relationship goes far beyond coach and player however, as displayed when Mojica lost his house back in January. He played the end of last season without a home, after a fire consumed his mother’s Chelsea apartment. The night after the fire, Nelson and Sherwyn Cooper, a close friend of both Nelson and Mojica, brought the team to see Sammy again—this time to comfort him during what Mojica called “the lowest point of my life.”

“We were there with him, we all went up to his dad’s house, we went up there with Sherwyn [Cooper] and we even cancelled the game we were supposed to play to go lift his spirits,” Nelson said. “We saw him at one of his lowest points. But the thing with Sammy is that he’s one of those great kids that keeps fighting through adversity.”

Following the fire, Nelson and Cooper started a fundraiser for Mojica and his family, so that the family could have money to move into a new home and find a way to replace all the things they had lost. The fundraiser brought in over $12,000.

Whether it was walking through the tattered remains of what had once been his bedroom or sleeping on the couch of teammate Jake Fay for days at a time, the fire motivated him this summer on the AAU circuit—as he proved to be one of the best players at the Hoop Group Summer Jamfest.

“Tom just kept saying to me during the AAU season, ‘Look at all these kids, you’re the one who doesn’t have a house.”

Mojica and his family now live in Everett, in a home that he says is in a much better part of town than his previous home. While he has many basketball-related aspirations, one of his main goals is to graduate from Drexel; he would become the first person in his family to earn a degree. After the emotional roller coaster that the last seven months have presented, he says it feels like going “from rock bottom to the top of the world.”

The commitment was a proud moment for Nelson. The coach considers Mojica to be one of his hardest workers and one of the highest character players that he has ever coached.

“I’m so proud of him. This is one of the best days of my life. We took a kid out of obscurity in Chelsea, and got him to a mid-major school. It was hard work. There was no smoke and mirrors with this one. It’s been a lot of ups and downs.”

Nelson added, “He sent me a text saying, ‘Check out my tweet. I love you Tom.’ I’m his coach, but I’m also a big brother. I know to draw the line as their coach, but I try to make them understand the love, that we care.”

Salisbury hockey duo make commitments

August, 24, 2013
Two members of last season's NEPSAC Elite 8 championship Salisbury hockey squad announced their college commitments this week.

First, forward Derek Barach (1995) committed to Mercyhurst earlier this week, before fellow forward Matt Muzyka ('96) gave his verbal commitment to Quinnipiac.

Barach, a 5-foot-7, 150-pound native of Glenmont, N.Y., is scheduled to join the Lakers for the 2015-16 season.

"Derek is an extremely hard working player who has the rare ability to make those around him better," Salisbury head coach Andrew Will told ESPN Boston. "He has outstanding speed, plays with tremendous energy and is relentless. Derek has a good stick, sees the ice well and finds a way to contribute offensively. I think Derek will be an outstanding addition to Mercyhurst's program."

Muzyka, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound native of Cheshire, Conn., is also on track to join the Bobcats in 2015.

"I am thrilled for Matthew and I know he is extremely excited to commit to Quinnipiac," Will said. "Matthew has excellent offensive instincts and has a knack for making good things happen with the puck on his stick. He has worked very hard to improve his play without the puck, and he is only going to get better as he grows and gets stronger."

Deerfield lax continues tradition of excellence

May, 11, 2013
DEERFIELD, Mass. – With the start of the 2013 NCAA men’s lacrosse tournament upon us this weekend, there is a good chance that when you tune in you will see Deerfield Academy lacrosse alumni playing an important role in the game.

Of the 16 NCAA tournament teams there are 14 Deerfield alums playing or coaching on eight teams. Cornell head coach Ben DeLuca and Teewarton Trophy (Player of the Year) finalist Rob Pannell are both Deerfield alums, as is North Carolina star attack Jimmy Bitter, to name a few.

Tucked away in the historic, rural town of Deerfield, Mass., resides one of the top high school lacrosse programs in the United States.

[+] EnlargeFinigan
Ryan Kilian for ESPNFormer Concord-Carlisle standout and ESPN Boston All-State selection Jackson Finigan has joined Deerfield Academy for a postgraduate year before heading to the University of Delaware next year.
Deerfield Academy, a school with a total student body of approximately 600, is known for its elite academics, as well as competitive college preparatory school athletic program. Founded in 1797, Deerfield Academy is set on a picturesque campus located 30 miles North of Springfield, Mass. in the Western part of Massachusetts.

The boys’ lacrosse program, which is run by 20-year head coach and athletic director Charles “Chip” Davis, has put together 20 consecutive winning seasons. They have won or shared a piece of their conference title in seven of the last eight years and are a jaw-dropping 87-4 overall in the past seven season of play.

Deerfield competes in the Western New England Division 1 Conference, known as one of the strongest leagues in the country. Their fellow WNE D1 competitors include the likes of Avon Old Farms, Salisbury School, Brunswick School and rival Choate-Rosemary Hall.

The balance and strength of the WNE conference has improved over the years with many of the top high school and future college stars headed to New England to further educate in the classroom and on the lacrosse field.

“There are a number of very high level payers at almost every team in our league now,” Davis said. “That speaks to the amount of good players that play the game and these schools are attracting these very high level players. This was not always the case.”

The Beginning: Every elite program has a defining period when it makes its ascension to the top and remains there.

Davis attributes much of the start of Deerfield’s reign at the top to a midfielder out of Charlottesville, Va. named Henry Oakey. Oakey came to Deerfield in 1993 and would go on to star at the University of Virginia and graduate with a National Championship (1999).

“He was one of those kids who I would consider a catalyst,” Davis recalled. “I felt like ever since he got to Deerfield we have not had a losing season. We had three good years in the mid 1990’s where we only lost two games a year and since about 2000 we have been at the top of the league each year. “

Alumni: The impressive list of Deerfield alumni who have moved on to successful intercollegiate lacrosse careers is as impressive as it is large. In the 2013 season Deerfield alums played on 10 Division 1 programs (six Ivy League teams, three ACC teams, and one Patriot League team) with numerous other Division 3 schools also represented.

Pannell, Bitter and others are both looking to lead their college lacrosse teams to the NCAA Championship this season. Deerfield also boasts alumni such as Bitter’s older brother Billy, who attended Deerfield before starring as an All-American attack at North Carolina. The older Bitter is now playing in the professional ranks.

“Personally, when deciding boarding schools I couldn't think of any negatives about Deerfield,” Jimmy Bitter told ESPN Boston when I spoke to him during his final season of play at Deerfield. “It has great academics, a very friendly environment, and a top athletic program. The school taught me to push myself academically and grow as a lacrosse player. Coach Davis is very knowledgeable about the game of lacrosse and really makes an effort to improve each player.”

College Preparation: The elite lacrosse, balanced with the rigorous academic schedule, is why many student-athletes choose Deerfield. Deerfield offers students a grade 9-12 boarding and day school experience as well as a postgraduate option.

Canadian born attack Joe French is doing a Postgraduate year at Deerfield this year before heading to the University of Virginia to play for head coach Dom Starsia.

French was young for his grade as a 16-year old senior, and thought by doing another year of school it could help prepare him both athletically and academically for UVA. French settled on Deerfield due in part to its academic reputation, and close alumni network.

“Deerfield has been a blast and I am a little bit sad that this year is coming to an end,” French said. “Academically I have taken an array of classes from public speaking to statistics, or even an English class called ‘Reading Insanity.’ The lacrosse is just a bonus. We have a great team and every day of practice is just another way to get better because the long pole your dodging is going to UVA or Army, or the middie your feeding is going to Princeton or Delaware.”

Like French, Jackson Finigan is also currently doing a PG year at Deerfield. Finigan is committed to play lacrosse at the University of Delaware next year and won an MIAA state championship last season at Concord-Carlisle High School. Finigan chose to attend Deerfield after visiting the campus, meeting with Davis and learning about the high-level combination of academic and athletic success at the school.

“At Deerfield we are held to the highest standards to perform in the classroom and on the field,” Finigan said. “The school work is as hard as any college and the lacrosse is about as good as any college level as well. Between balancing lacrosse and schoolwork I have grasped a sense of time management that I can carry with me for the next four years in college.”

2013 Season: French and Finigan are two members of a 2013 squad that currently sits atop, with Brunswick School (Conn.), of the WNE Conference D1 with an overall record of 12-1.

Deerfield has three games remaining against three of their toughest competitors in Avon Old Farms, Salisbury, and Phillips Exeter in their quest for another WNE conference D1 championship. Davis knows all too well that it will not be an easy feat.

“We are coming into the home stretch of our season with three games to play,” Davis said. “All three teams are very good teams and we always have competitive games with all three.”

Deerfield is averaging 12 goals a game this season and is holding teams to an impressive six goals against on average. Davis attributes much of this season’s success to experience and leadership.

“We have two outstanding captains this season in attack Adam Philie (Dartmouth commit) and defender J.R. Mastro (Trinity),” Davis said. “Both came to Deerfield as sophomores, both are good friends and are outstanding, mature leaders.”

After suffering a two-goal opening game loss to Brunswick, Deerfield has ripped off 12 consecutive wins and has improved with each win this season.

“The style of lacrosse that we are playing is unselfish by nature,” Davis said. “I knew we had a lot of talented kids this year so we have had to manage their expectations about playing time and they have bought into the selfless mindset.”

Deerfield, along with all of the NEPSAC lacrosse programs, does not participate in any post-season tournaments due to the nature of the spring athletic season and the limits with end-of-year scheduling. While many would like to see some sort of tournament Davis embraced the current state while acknowledging the difference with the public school tournament format.

“It gives each game its own importance,” Davis said. “If you lose a game that may not feel like a big rivalry game it may come back to bite you. Too often times we do not live in the moment.”