Wednesday, April 26, 2017

St. Sebastian's Lax Takes Down Rival Belmont Hill in Premier ISL Clash

Arrows and their fans celebrate first win over Belmont Hill since 2012
By Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7)

BELMONT, Mass. -- Over the last four seasons, Belmont Hill boys’ lacrosse has dominated the Independent School League, winning three titles while compiling a 47-5 overall record during that span.

Yet on a rainy afternoon at Belmont’s Gerald Jordan Field, the St. Sebastian’s Arrows asserted their claim to the ISL throne with a 14-11 victory, taking down their archival for the first time since 2012. 

“It means a lot because Belmont Hill is the standard by which the rest of the [ISL] measures itself,” St. Sebastian’s first-year coach Adam White said after the win. “They do everything the right way and that’s really challenged us as a program to up our game. They’re our rivals and it feels good because we have so much respect for them.”

St. Sebastian’s (10-1) was able to take control early by winning 12 of 15 faceoffs during a dominant first half. Belmont Hill (5-2) junior goalie Danny Hincks made 10 of his 14 saves over the first two quarters, but the Arrows versatile offense proved too much for a Belmont Hill defense that came into the game allowing just 5.5 goals per game. 

“We only graduated a couple of seniors last year, so we’ve been playing together for awhile,” explained Arrows senior attack John Piatelli. “We run a fast paced offense, spread it around and just try to attack the weak link.”

The Arrows led 9-4 going into the break on the strength of highlight goals from Will Planksy (3 goals) and Westwood transfer Mike Swirabulus (goal, 2 assists), but it was Piatelli who broke the game wide open with three goals in a four-minute span to open a 12-4 lead early in the third quarter.

Mikey Connolly scores from way out during a second-quarter rally

“We haven’t beat them since our 7th grade year and to do it at Belmont Hill is something special,” said Piatelli. “Once we got comfortable and we knew that we could take their ‘D’ we started to go on a run, our middies played great and our attack followed in the second and third, so it was a great team effort all around.”

Down 13-5 heading into the fourth, Belmont Hill showed the heart of a champion via a furious comeback to make it 13-9 with just under five minutes remaining.

Westwood resident Christian O’Neill led Belmont Hill with four goals while Wayland native Jake Haase (2 goals, 4 assists), midfielder Zach Geddes (2 goals) and attack Brian Antonelli (2 goals) all made huge plays to trim the deficit to 14-11 with ninety seconds remaining, but it was too late at that point. 

“They’re such a good team that it’s an unfamiliar situation for us being up on Belmont Hill.,” White admitted. “All credit to them for continuing to battle and they really put the pressure on us.”

With the win, St. Sebastian’s has the inside track towards an ISL title, but White knows that there is still a lot of work left to do.

“It means that we’re at [Belmont Hill]’s level and we have to continue to work hard the rest of the season. They’re our rivals and it feels good because we have so much respect for them.”

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