By Kevin Stone/@kstone06 (Story and Pics), and Mike Flanagan (Video)
WELLESLEY – The best high school talent that Massachusetts has to offer was at MacDowell Field at Babson College on Wednesday night for the latest installment of the BostonLax All-American game.
Proceeds from the game went to both the Bruce Lerch Foundation and the Kilian Family Foundation with the new ISL vs. MIAA format drawing quite a bit of interest.
In front of a standing room only crowd on what turned out to be a beautiful night for lacrosse, Team ISL took down Team MIAA 16-10 in an extremely competitive game. Belmont Hill’s Liam Horkan (Connecticut College) won MVP with a four-goal performance.
“It’s my first time out here being a part of it and it’s a great event that gets put on out here at Babson,” said Horkan. “It’s good to see a lot of familiar faces and some of the other guys I’ve met from the MIAA.”
As for his big night, Horkan was quite modest.
“Just a lot of guys finding me inside, that’s all I can really say,” he added. “There was a lot of high-IQ lacrosse going on out here tonight.”
Both Bryson and Kainen Kilian – who were co-MVP’s of the 2021 game – served as assistant coaches for each team on Wednesday while BC High head coach Marcus Craigwell led team MIAA. Governor’s head coach Tucker Samspon led Team ISL
It’s no secret how much animosity lies between ISL and MIAA players, despite guys seeing each other throughout the summer with so many different club tournamets, camps and clinics these days. Still, from the time the teams strapped on their helmets and thew on their high school jerseys one final time for stretching and ball drills, there was a palpable intensity in the air during warmups. Even during the half hour or 45 minutes of downtime prior to pregame prep, there was very little socializing between MIAA and ISL guys.
On the field, the highly anticipated matchup didn’t disappoint.
“We were just excited and the guys were all fired up at the beginning,” said Sampson. “You could feel the energy in the huddle, people have been asking for this for a while and we wanted to show out a little bit. I thought we adjusted a bit and the boys got after it, I thought it was great.”
Lexington’s Patrick Crogan (Georgetown) had a two-goal night on Wednesday and echoed many of the same sentiments regarding this first MIAA/ISL battle.
“I thought it was great competition and a really good way to get the boys working hard,” he said. “It was kind of intense the whole game, kind of came down to the fourth quarter where it really started to get really chippy at the end. I loved it, just a great time with the boys.”
Despite being on the losing end, Crogan’s public school pride still seeped through.
“Stay public, go MIAA,” Crogan added with a grin.
St. John’s Prep’s Tommy Sarni (Providence) opened up the scoring early and after a goal from Belmont Hill’s Ethan O’Neill (Tufts), tallies by Crogan and Longmeadow’s Luke Szyluk (Merrimack) gave the MIAA a 3-1 lead that ended up as a 3-2 lead after one.
The intensity picked up in the second as the team’s went back-and-forth, with the ISL carrying a slim 7-6 lead into the half. Midway through the quarter St. Mark’s Luke D’Orsi (Babson) fired home a rocket on the run to make it 5-3 ISL. After Medfield’s Luke Murphy (Loyola) scored a pretty backhander over the shoulder off a dodge from X, Horkan scored back-to-back goals to push the lead to 7-4. Horkan’s second goal was a pretty little shovel shot on a nice feed from St. Sebs’ Aidan Maguire (Duke). Crogan scored with six seconds left in the second to make it a one-goal game.
Team ISL got a little bit of separation in the third, outscoring Team MIAA 5-2 to take a 12-8 lead to the fourth. Early in the fourth, With 13:22 left Horkan scored his fourth and final goal off a feed from BB&N’s Jack Pappendick (Duke) in transition to make it 14-8. In the final 30 seconds, Nobles’ Chad Palumbo (Princeton) finished off the night with a goal before both teams greeted their goalies at each cage and then posed for a giant team picture.
The intensity wore off long enough for players to mingle with each other and their families postgame, taking pictures with teammates new and old. As the sun began to set, the Killian kids played with Mike Flanagan’s dog Daisy and nothing but smiles and laughter flooded the field as the pictures and hand shakes continued.
It was the perfect cap to another night that highlighted just how close the lacrosse community is, whether you’re prep or private. See you all in 2023.