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In highly anticipated lacrosse battle pitting ISL v. MIAA, prep schools come out on top

Ethan O'Neill of Belmont Hill celebrates with his ISL teammates during a 16-10 win over a squad of MIAA players during the Boston Lacrosse All-American Game at Babson College's McDowell Field on Wednesday. It was the first time the game pitted ISL and MIAA All-Star teams against each other.MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

WELLESLEY – For years, lacrosse fans in Massachusetts have clamored for an All-American game which pits the best of the MIAA against the best of the Independent School League.

One game in, the returns are promising. While the ISL’s All-Americans pulled away for a 16-10 victory over the MIAA in the Boston Lax All-American Game at MacDowell Field on the campus of Babson College on Wednesday, players and coaches from both teams glowed over the showcase.

“I loved it,” said attackman Liam Horkan, a Belmont Hill graduate from Malden who will play at Connecticut College next year. “I think a lot of people have been waiting for it. Happy to get the win for the ISL guys.”


“I think we’ve got something going here,” added Marcus Craigwell, the BC High coach who served as coach for the MIAA. “There’s so much talent out on the field. We just had so many good players making plays. It’s almost like all of the mistakes are how the other teams scored. Talent-wise, it was equal. It was a lot of fun.”

With four goals, Horkan was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. He scored once in the first quarter, after which the ISL trailed, 3-2, and twice more in the second quarter to help his team open up a 7-6 advantage at the break. Horkan scored the opening goal of the fourth quarter, increasing the ISL’s lead to 13-8 in the process.

“There’s a lot of high IQ lacrosse going on out here tonight,” Horkan said. “I’ve got a lot of family here, a lot of friends, happy to show off for them. I just think it’s a tribute to a lot of the off-ball movement happening and finding the open spots.”

Noble and Greenough's Chad Palumbo looks for space during the Boston Lacrosse All-American Game on Wednesday at Babson College's McDowell Field. Palumbo's ISL team beat a team of MIAA All-Stars 16-10. MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

Familiarity between many of the players and coaches wasn’t an issue, given the connections on the club circuit. Middie Patrick Crogan, a Lexington graduate who will play at Georgetown, said he felt he knew more of his ISL foes than his MIAA teammates.


“I’ve been playing with them since I was in fifth grade with Laxachusetts,” Crogan said after scoring twice. “It’s been a great time getting to know all of these guys over the years and then getting to wrap it up with this game.”

Tucker Sampson, the Governor’s Academy coach who also serves as associate director of the New England Twisters, said it was nice to coach some players in the game who have caused him to lose sleep as an opponent during the regular season. Namely, Horkan.

“He did the same thing to us up at Govs,” Sampson said. “I’ve seen that before, I wasn’t too surprised.”

St. John's Prep's Tommy Sarni scores the first goal of the 2022 Boston Lacrosse All-American Game on Wednesday at Babson College.MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

St. John’s Prep’s Jimmy Ayers, an attack from Hamilton committed to Johns Hopkins, was one of the only juniors to play in the game. He acknowledged that playing against opponents almost exclusively a year older served as a reminder of what he still needs to work on.

“You’ve got to get used to playing with bigger guys, they’re a lot faster and a lot stronger,” Ayers said after scoring twice for the MIAA.

The game was again played in memory of former Boston Lax editors Bruce Lerch and Ryan Killian. Lerch, who also wrote for the Boston Herald, passed away in 2015 and Killian died last year just weeks before the All-American Game. Killian’s sons, Kainen and Bryson, each served as assistant coaches in the game for the second summer in a row.


The ISL team celebrates its 16-10 win over the the MIAA team during the 2022 Boston Lacrosse All-American Game at Babson College's McDowell Field on Wednesday. MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE