On Thursday morning, the St. John’s Prep lacrosse team won their first Division 1 state title in more than a decade with an impressive 11-7 victory over Boston College High.
The exhilarating triumph turned out to be very special for the senior class, given that they were all part of the North 2019 finalist squad and, due to COVID, had to wait an extra year before embarking on their campaign of revenge.
On top of that, this year’s championship game started on Wednesday night, only to be postponed until half-time for the following morning due to rain and lightning in Danvers.
Needless to say, this year’s Eagles squad displayed patience, poise and a serious desire to succeed, culminating in a well-deserved celebration in front of hundreds of fans at Glatz Field.
“It’s amazing, there are no real words for it,” said three-time captain Michael Ayers. “It’s something where the minute we got into freshman (coach John Pynchon) was bracing for it and I think looking at the squad we had after year two it was a great season. exciting for our junior year, but it got canceled, which was a big blow.
“We knew we were going to come back with a lot of those same kids, rebuild, and Pynchon would get us ready to go. He did such a good job bringing in all the (new) kids that we were able to sort of build over the course of the season and end it with a state championship. “
This building process came with its ups and downs – although the downs were certainly rare for the talented group.
One particularly low moment that gave St. John’s a boost of motivation? It would be the June 4th clash with the eventual BC High Championship opponent.
Traveling to Boston for the midseason affair, the visiting Eagles lost a two-goal lead late in action and ended up falling in overtime, 8-7. This came just two weeks after they faced their Catholic Conference enemies, 14-5, and 10 days before they came together for another convincing victory (14-4) against the same team.
There is no doubt that BC High was deservedly the second best team in the state this spring, and St. John’s defeating them three times in six weeks only further supplanted their status as the best dog in the Commonwealth.
“We know they’re so well trained and they have so many great guys on this team so we knew they were going to bring their A-game and they did,” co-captain Michael said. Kelly. “They played hard throughout the playoffs, throughout the season and after they beat us in Boston we felt that way the rest of the year. We never forgot that moment when they We stuck it in overtime, so we knew the rest of the year that was our momentum and if we had the chance to play them again, we were going to capitalize on that. “
They say to be the best you have to beat the best, and that’s exactly what the 2021 Eagles did.
It’s a safe bet that the seniors in this year’s squad will continue to celebrate their accomplishments throughout this weekend and possibly beyond. But when the high inevitably wears off and they look back on their time spent with the program, their time together each day was the resounding response when asked what they would miss the most.
“Every day you come to work and it’s hard, but having these guys around you doesn’t make it feel like real work; it’s just fun every day and these guys make it fun,” Ayers said. “These guys are just amazing. The Senior 13, it’s just amazing what we’ve been able to do together and it makes him so special every time you walk into the room.”
“I’m going to miss the most coming every day and being with everyone, whether it’s in the locker room or on the pitch,” added co-captain Patrick Atkins. “Check the training plan, do the daily recording… just all the little things that you kind of take for granted at the time. This is what I will miss the most. “
The race may be over, but the mark they left on the preparation history books will live on forever. Here’s a look at some of the staggering numbers from this year’s exceptional group.
17 – Number of victories for this year’s team.
1 – Number of losses for this year’s team
5 – Number of players who scored at least 20 goals over the season (Jimmy Ayers (46), Thomas Sarni (31), Michael Kelly (35), Luke Surette (24) and Charlie Wilmot (20).
11 – Number of years since the last Eagles State Championship in 2010.
68 – Total points for the Eagles’ top scorer, second-year forward Jimmy Ayers. He scored 46 goals and 22 assists during the year, including four goals and an assist in Thursday’s title win.
106 – Number of saves made by starting goalkeeper Kaden Quirk.
116 – Number of face-offs won by team manager Graham Tyson (116-163). Owen Umansky added 84 of his 120 tries while Chris Esposito had 40 for 57.237 – Number of goals scored by the Eagles offense this season.84 – Number of goals allowed by the Eagles defense this season. ||||