Once the high school season kicks into high gear, rarely is there a week that doesn’t consist of upsets and noteworthy scores. This past week was one of those, though not as wild and shocking as the results that came in during each of the last two weeks, where the top 10 became largely reconstructed. So far, just one team (Smithtown East) has suffered a loss since last week’s Top 25 rankings, though Tuesdays have proven to be dramatic since the start of the season.
In this week’s piece, big victories by Taft School (Conn.), Northport (N.Y.) and Landon (Md.) are summarized, plus video from Brunswick’s win over New Canaan. In addition, links and updates from Long Island, Philly and the MIAA, as well as a rundown of notable scores from the week.
Taft upsets No. 20 Deerfield 9-8 in OT
The New England West I league has proven to be anything but predictable this year. In particular, that was evident, as a bevy of intriguing results took place.
A youthful, inconsistent yet promising Taft School (Conn.) team pulled off a morale-boosting win at home on Saturday, knocking off league power Deerfield Academy (Mass.) in OT. The Big Green trailed 4-2 at half then would eventually Virginia-bound attackman Ross Pridemore – regarded as one of the very best freshmen in the country – completed a hat trick when he accepted a pass in transition from Kyle Salvatore after a tenacious ride and buried it with only the goalie to beat. Video of the GWG can be seen here.
The win puts Taft at 4-4 on the year with surprising losses to West Linn (Ore.), Williston-Northampton (Mass.) and Millbrook (N.Y.) as well as nationally ranked Brunswick School in Connecticut. They’re still undefeated within the Founder’s League and have a tough road, but have to feel great after beating both Deerfield and Westminster (an 8-6 win last Saturday) this month.
I was able to catch up on Monday with head coach Casey D’Annolfo, whose Rhinos have topped the Big Green in two consecutive years.
“A win like that shows us that when we play well and to our potential, we can play with anybody,” D’Annolfo said. “On the flip side, when we don’t play well we can lose to anybody… We need to play with that same intensity, execution and fire we had against Deerfield every single game since we have some tough ones coming up.”
Richmond verbal Matt Davies, a natural attackman, has been lights out at midfield, recording 18 goals and six assists so far. Teams like Millbrook and Deerfield have opted to shut him off, D’Annolfo says, and his veteran presence has been pivotal since Taft’s attack is made up of three freshmen. No. 21 ranked senior Zach Ambrosino (Virginia) has returned to lead the D after missing the first five games with a hamstring injury. In goal, uncommitted junior Hanley Frantz tallied 16 saves in Saturday’s win over DA.
Northport deals Smithtown East their first loss
After returning the lion’s share of their starters from last spring’s Long Island runner-up squad, Smithtown East was ranked No. 4 nationally in the preseason preview. Hype like that puts a giant target on a team’s back with every opponent possessing the urge to be the first ones to defeat an undefeated and nationally ranked team.
This weekend, the Northport Tigers (8-1) captured that honor, receiving seven points from Michigan signee Rocco Sutherland on attack while the D stymied the Bulls’ lethal 1-2 punch of Dan Rooney and Brian Willetts. Exploding for six first-quarter goals then leading 12-7 after three, Northport picked up a huge 16-10 win
“We executed great,” Sutherland told Newsday.com. “We played as a team. There was no selfish person on the field today. And we came out fast.”
Armed with a top face-off specialist in senior Austin Henningsen (Maryland), Northport won only 10 of 30 on the day against East junior Gerard Arceri, who committed three violations. Despite the possession advantage, the Bulls reportedly committed numerous uncaused turnovers and couldn’t get much of anything out of Rooney and Willetts, who came into the day averaging 12 points per game but finished with just four. Syracuse commit Finn Goonan ’16 was assigned to cover Willetts (Notre Dame) and held the hulking shooter to two goals, also scoring two goals of his own in transition. Splitting time in cage, senior captain Scott Hatch made 12 saves in the first half while fellow captain Billy Kelly made eight stops in relief.
Suffolk County was realigned this year in Class A so this wasn’t technically a league win since they’re in separate divisions, though there’s still a decent chance Northport and SE could meet in the playoffs. The Tigers have another pivotal contest at Ward Melville on Wednesday, while the Bulls should roll on Monday against lowly Copiague. However, they’ll have a tough 10-day stretch to end the month, playing Half Hollow Hills East, Bronxville and Smithtown West, a combined 22-4 on the season.
No. 3 Landon edges Bullis 7-6 in a bizarre ending
Landon and Bullis – as Bear Sports News pointed out in his recap – really don’t like each other. It’s a fierce IAC rivalry in all sports with fuel added to the fire now that several former Landon lacrosse players are on the Bullis roster. With all of that said, Friday’s game was much anticipated by both sides and the entire DC lacrosse community.
The showdown between the two programs probably didn’t help matters. Penalties, trash talk, hard hits and controversy took place left and right, according to reports. In fact, with 2:51 remaining the Bullis head coach called over the refs for a stick check on Landon’s sideline, but not a player. Leading by a goal, a Bears assistant coach was called for an illegal stick, resulting in a three-minute, non-releasable penalty to put the Bulldogs’ EMO unit out there for an extended period of time to attempt to tie things up.
Landon ran down the clock and emerged victorious despite the craziness, carrying over their momentum from Monday’s double OT win over archrival Georgetown Prep, which I wrote up at this link. On Friday, the Bears got a goal and three assists from sophomore Nate Buller (Duke) and the eventual game-winner from Cornell-bound Colton Rupp at the 10:59 mark.
There’s a good chance that Friday’s game against St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.) will turn out to be Landon head coach Rob Bordley’s 600th win as head coach.
Bullis returns to action with a Tuesday game with Good Counsel (Md.) followed by a key league matchup with Georgetown Prep on Friday.
Brunswick-New Canaan highlights
Lax.com was in Fairfield County on Thursday night and has the highlights below. The Rams took a 3-0 lead early before the Bruins stormed back to a 6-3 halftime lead, winning 9-7.
-In their first of three meetings this year, hated rivals No. 15 St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) and No. 16 Chaminade (N.Y.) battled it out on Thursday. Amherst recruit Brogan Mahon paced the Flyers’ offense with five goals to give Chaminade their eighth straight home victory in the series. Complete game film with commentary is at this link on MSGVarsity.com.
-The MIAA has been incredibly exciting to follow during the first two weeks of conference play. If you have a few spare hours, peruse Game.Kudda.com, as the video site has a contract with the league to put up every game.
In a game that featured commentary from Booker Corrigan and myself, Boys’ Latin pulled out a double overtime win over neighborhood rival Gilman last Tuesday. Senior attackman Patrick Spencer (Loyola) scored his fourth goal to end it in 2OT while Jack Pezzulla, a junior headed to UNC, had 20 saves in one of the better goalie performances that I’ve seen at the high school level in a long time. Check out the fourth quarter and both OT periods below:
On Friday, visiting Mt. St. Joe (Md.) topped Gilman (Md.) 13-10 in a monstrous win for the program and first year head coach Stephen Berger, who graduated from MSJ in 2000. The Gaels trailed 8-5 at half but went on a big run in the third and fourth quarters, led by junior Maryland commit Drew Harrison at the midfield. Watch their win here.
-Having lost two of their previous three games coming in, No. 11 Episcopal Academy (Pa.) collected a nice Inter-Ac win on Friday, defeating Malvern Prep 11-8. Junior face-off man and future Buckeye Christian Feliziani made a tremendous statement against newly minted Under Armour All-American Charles Kelly, winning 17 of 21 against the Carolina commit to give the Churchmen a strong possession advantage. EA has a big week, playing their second game against rival and No. 1 Haverford on Friday as well as upstart and undefeated Hun School on Saturday at the Katie Samson Festival. I plan on being there and will have a report from a few of the festival’s big games this weekend.
Other notable scores around the country
No. 2 Massapequa (N.Y.) 16, Port Washington (N.Y.) 6
No. 4 Gonzaga (D.C.) 18, Fordham Prep (N.Y.) 2
No. 7 Hill Academy (Ont.) 13, No. 21 Culver (Ind.) 6
No. 9 McDonogh (Md.) 9, St. Mary’s (Md.) 6
No. 11 Darien (Conn.) 7, Manhasset (N.Y.) 3
No. 15 St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) 8, Niskayuna (N.Y.) 6
No. 17 Georgetown Prep (Md.) 15, Episcopal (Va.) 6
No. 18 Hun (N.J.) 9, No. 13 St. Augustine (N.J.) 7
No. 25 Salisbury (Conn.) 10, No. 19 Westminster (Conn.) 7
Bronxville (N.Y.) 14, No. 21 Greenwich (Conn.) 4
St. Paul’s (Md.) 12, No. 24 Calvert Hall (Md.) 8
Half Hollow Hills East (N.Y.) 10, Smithtown West (N.Y.) 4
Cherry Creek (Colo.) 8, Regis Jesuit (Colo.) 4
Ridgefield (Conn.) 8, Garden City (N.Y.) 7
Pleasantville (N.Y.) 10, Bronxville (N.Y.) 7
McCallie (Tenn.) 15, Centennial (Ga.) 13
Lambert (Ga.) 11, McCallie (Tenn.) 6
Westfield (N.J.) 9, Ridgewood (N.J.) 4
La Costa Canyon (Calif.) 10, Torrey Pines (Calif.) 5
Corona Del Mar (Calif.) 8, La Costa Canyon (Calif.) 6
Jamesville-DeWitt (N.Y.) 12, West Genesee (N.Y.) 11 in OT