Sunday, June 4, 2017

Xaverian Lax Upsets Franklin in D1 South Matchup

By Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7)

FRANKLIN, Mass. –  Xaverian boys’ lacrosse struggled through a brutal regular season schedule and finished below .500 at 8-10, but the Hawks qualified for the tournament under the Sullivan Rule after winning a share of the Catholic Conference.

On Sunday evening, the 12th seed demonstrated that records don’t tell the full story, as they upset fifth-seeded Franklin, 8-7, in a Division 1 South matchup. 

“We got hammered in the regular season,” said Xaverian head coach Tim Gardner. “That really tested some of the younger guys. Now the guys that I put on the field in playoff games, I trust, because they’ve been through a really tough regular season.”

Now that they’re in the big dance, Xaverian’s young players shined. Sophomore Sam Jean (3 goals) scored arguably the biggest goal of the contest to push the lead back to 8-6 late in the fourth quarter, while fellow sophomores Jack Whalen (Goal, assist) and Trevor Carroll (Goal, assist) also made key contributions.

Freshman Teagan Alexander (nine saves) was excellent in net for the Hawks, but it was senior captain Conor Sullivan who could take home the game ball for his role in containing Rutgers commit Eric Civetti. 

Civetti, who came into the tournament with 100 points on the season (79 goals, 21 assists), was held scoreless over the first three quarters while Xaverian (9-10) opened a 7-3 lead on a goal from Jean. 

“You have to play great team defense against [Franklin] and you have to find a way to handle Civetti,” Gardner recognized. “Conor Sullivan did a great job.”

With help from fellow poles Conor Chambers, Zachary Conant and Sean Nizolek, Sullivan held Civetti in check, but in the fourth quarter the Panthers star came alive, netting three goals from improbable angles in spite of great defensive from the Hawks. 

Franklin (16-5) only trailed 7-6 in the final two minutes and threatened to complete a dramatic comeback in a light rain at home, but Jean responded with a rocket past Panthers goalie Connor O’Rourke (10 saves) to make it 8-6 Hawks. 

Civetti (4 goals) scored once more with one second left in regulation, but it was too late for the Hockomock League champions. 

“It was a frustrating loss,” said Franklin coach Lou Verrochi. “[The Hawks] wanted it more than we did, especially in the first half and hats off to them. Playing in a tough league, they were ready for games like this and they were the better team today.”

Xaverian will travel to fourth-seeded Newton North for a quarterfinals matchup this Thursday at 4pm.

Continue below for Video: 

No comments :