The 2020 state lacrosse finals were scheduled for Saturday (yes, June 20) at Boston University’s Nickerson Field. But, because of the COVID-19 pandermic, the spring season was officially cancelled by the MIAA in late April, leaving a host of boys’ lacrosse players wondering what could have been.
Over the past decade, there been a number of classic state finals games at Nickerson Field and Harvard Stadium. And with no live action this spring, we take a look back at some of the best championship games since 2010.
Division 1 in 2010: St. John’s Prep 12, Duxbury 11 (OT)
Duxbury dominated the late 2000s with 99 straight in-state wins, and only St. John’s Prep was able to match up with the Dragons. Prep snapped that streak with a 12-10 regular season victory over Duxbury in 2009, only to fall, 13-12, in a state final rematch that June.
The following year, the Eagles got their revenge with a thrilling overtime victory to deny the Dragons a seventh straight state title. Prep won a faceoff with 18 seconds left in regulation and Garrett Campbell buried a game-tying goal off a rebound to force overtime. Then Nick Triano made a point-blank save and found long pole James Fahey, who raced down the field for a transition goal to give Prep its only boys’ lacrosse state title.
“That feeling, if you could bottle it and sell it, you’d be the richest person on earth,” said John Roy, the Eagles coach for 22 years and an English teacher at the Prep. “Most of the guys on the team had lost the year before, and that’s why sports is so fantastic, when a team can come together to achieve the ultimate success.”
Colin Blackwell – Hockey at Harvard; currently a member of the NHL’s Nashville Predators
Garrett Campbell – Lacrosse at Harvard
Chris Cody – Lacrosse and football at Duke
Ryan Delisle – Football at Harvard
James Fahey – Lacrosse at UMass Amherst; currently a member of MLL’s Boston Cannons
Bobby Gallahue – Lacrosse at Trinity
Mark McDonald – Lacrosse at Sacred Heart
Jimmy O'Connell - Lacrosse at Trinity
Matt Scalise – Lacrosse at Harvard
Nick Triano – Lacrosse at Hartwick and Endicott
Division 3 in 2011: Weston 5, Dover-Sherborn 4
Entering the final, Weston coach Jim Wilcon knew he had to shift strategy. His squad averaged over 10 goals per game, but faced a high-powered Dover-Sherborn team that averaged nearly 16 goals per game. So Wilcon employed what reporter Bruce Lerch termed “One of the best finals performances ever from a strategic standpoint,” switching from man to zone defense and holding the Raiders to just two goals over the first three quarters. Goalie Jared Fong made 14 saves, and Weston held on despite D-S scoring twice in the final two minutes.
“I think it was a surprise to a lot of people because it was our first state title and D-S is a powerhouse,” said Wilcon, who coached Weston from 2009-2012 and returned to the position in 2018. Anytime you’re in that underdog role, it’s natural to feel like the pressure is on the other team, but we were 20-2 that year and the kids had a ton of confidence in each other and believed in the system.”
Jared Fong – Lacrosse at Gettysburg and Northeastern
Stephen Iodice – Lacrosse at Saint Anselm
Joey Pasquale - Lacrosse at Fairfield and Northeastern
Kyle Richardson – Hockey at Dartmouth
Division 1 in 2014: Acton-Boxborough 5, Duxbury 4 (2OT)
Coach Pat Ammendolia doesn’t remember his 2014 Acton-Boxborough team as full of stars, but the Colonials banded together to allow just 20 goals over their final four state tournament wins. Facing an elite Duxbury defense anchored by goalie Nick Marrocco, who became an All-American at Georgetown, A-B buckled down and forced a 4-4 stalemate through regulation. With 1:05 left in the second overtime, Chris Wiggins pocketed the winner to lift the Colonials.
“We knew Duxbury was very good, but we caught them off guard a bit with our defensive game plan,” said Ammendolia, who owns a 157-74 record over 11 seasons at A-B. “The special thing about that game, it was so close that every little play, there was so much riding on it, and our kids were going as hard as they possibly could.”
Hunter Arnold – Lacrosse at Keene State
Gabe Cormier – Lacrosse at Keene State
J.T. Kelly – Lacrosse at RPI
Chris Wiggins – Lacrosse at Bentley
Division 3 in 2014: Cohasset 10, Dover-Sherborn 9
According to former Cohasset coach James Beaudoin, these mainstay D3 title contenders could’ve met once again in the 2020 finals. In his first two years at the helm for the Skippers, Beaudoin twice led his team against D-S in the state finals, falling 12-10 in 2013 before achieving redemption the following year.
Playing at Nickerson Field in 2014, Cohasset led 8-3 at halftime, but D-S closed the gap with a 5-1 run in the third quarter. Will Golden, who died in a accident two years later, scored a critical goal to give the Skippers some breathing room, and Jack Conte made a save with 10 seconds left to seal it.
“It was just athletes being athletes and making plays,” said Beaudoin, who recently took over the boys’ lacrosse program at Phillips Andover. “It was a great game at a great venue, and it came right down to the final save.”
Dan Axelson – Lacrosse at Providence (fifth-year waiver for 2021)
Jack Donahue – Lacrosse at Tufts (fifth-year waiver for 2021)
Will Golden – Hockey at Skidmore
Tim Gillis – Lacrosse at Fairfield
Cole Kissick – Lacrosse at Richmond
Jack McElgunn – Lacrosse at Skidmore
Jeff Powers – Lacrosse at Bowdoin
Colin Whalen – Lacrosse at Colgate
Division 2 in 2018: Reading 13, Concord-Carlisle 9
Led by Mike Tobin and Jack Geiger, the Rockets pulled away late after an intense back-and-forth affair at Nickerson Field. Reading led 4-1, then trailed, 6-3, before Geiger began to take faceoffs and scored two goals prior to halftime. Tobin, who gutted through a torn labrum the entire season, took over with three straight goals in the third quarter to make it 8-6 Reading, and the Rockets held on from there for the program’s first state title.
“Geiger and Tobin were their usual strong selves,” said Reading coach Charlie Hardy, who owns a 334-91 record over 19 seasons. “In the huddle Jack told the guys, ‘We’re not losing today,’ and we just tightened our belts and got back out there. It was an exciting game with two equal teams. It came down to who wanted on more. And on that day, it was us.”
Jack Geiger – Lacrosse at UMass Amherst
C.J. Hart – Lacrosse at Saint Anselm
Mike Tobin – Lacrosse at UMass Amherst