With a 2-0 victory over BC High last Wednesday, the Eagles of St. John’s Prep captured their third straight Catholic Conference title, running the table by winning all eight games against league opponents.
If you know enough about St. John’s Prep athletics, and the job that 12th year coach Dave Crowell has done with the program, it’s not that surprising a feat.
The remarkable thing about the Eagles pulling it off this time was that they lost their starting goalkeeper, Brian Keough, before the season even started.
Again, if you know the Prep well enough, you know that it is always ripe with talent, and sure enough Crowell was able to pick Ben Alpern from the fruit tree of Eagles athletes, and the senior keeper has stepped in from Day One to perform the work of seasoned veteran.
The shutout over BC High was his 10th clean sheet, and Alpern has allowed only seven goals in helping the Prep to a 13-1-2 mark and the No. 3 ranking in our latest Top 20 poll.
The team’s only loss came against No. 6 Weymouth, but it has also picked up two draws in its last three games, including a 2-2 tie against perennial thorn Acton-Boxboro.
The No. 12 Colonials seemingly have the Eagles’ number when it counts most, having knocked the Prep from the Division 1 North sectional in three of the last five seasons.
The continued success of offensive standouts Brooks Clark (six goals, eight assists) and Tommy Buonopane (six goals, four assists) will be essential to the Eagles making it over the hump in the postseason, and if they happen to line up across from Acton-Boxboro again, you can be sure revenge will factor into their effort.
There can only be one in the GBL
After sharing the Greater Boston League title with Medford a season ago, the Highlanders of Somerville took sole possession of the crown this year following a 5-1 win over Cambridge on Friday.
Since the MIAA granted senior Felix De Bona a waiver to play out his final season, Somerville has been scoring at will, and the scariest part is the way in which the field has opened up for junior striker Thayrone Miranda, who has 17 goals and 21 assists.
In nine October games, the Highlanders are 8-0-1 and have outscored opponents, 45-11, potting four or more goals in each win.
Heading into the postseason, Somerville may possess the deadliest offense in the state, so ultimately it will come down to its defense and midfielder-turned-goalie Luis Guerra’s ability to hold the fort, and give that offense a chance to establish a lead.
Bay State stacked up
When Weymouth scored a late, tying goal against Carey Division rival Needham Sept. 19, the Rockets looked as if they had just lost despite the final score standing at 1-1.
Last Tuesday, they made sure to close the deal following senior Mac Steeves’s goal in the 26th minute, as the defense clamped down on Bay State leading scorer Mikey Lynch (16 goals, 8 assists) for a 1-0 victory.
The win put the Rockets on top of the standings with an 11-1-2 mark against league foes, while the Wildcats dropped one slot behind with a 10-1-3 record in the Bay State.
With just a handful of games left in the regular season, the battle for the Carey wages on, with Providence College-bound Steeves (second in the league in scoring with eight goals and 13 assists) and Lynch trying to will their teams to the top.
Games of the Week
No. 9 Hingham at Silver Lake, Monday, 6:30 p.m. — Don’t look now Harbormen, but the Lakers are breathing down your back in the Patriot League’s Keenan Division, and a win in this game will put them atop the standings. Hingham did defeat Silver Lake, 2-1, but that was the second game of the season.
Boston International at Dorchester, Tuesday, 3:30 p.m. — With the City Championship looming, teams are jockeying for position, and both of these squads find themselves in prime spots.
Brockton at No. 4 New Bedford, Tuesday, 6 p.m. — The Whalers are looking to claim what they feel is rightfully theirs, and after relinquishing the Big Three crown to the Boxers last season, they will get their chance to reclaim the league title.
Lowell Catholic at Matignon, Thursday, 3:30 p.m. — The Catholic Central Small title will be on the line when these two face off for the second time this season. The Crusaders took the first match, 2-1, but the Warriors have outscored opponents, 18-1, in four games since their early October tilt.
Sandwich at Marshfield, Thursday, 4 p.m. — You’ve got to hand it to Ted Tedeschi and his Blue Knights. Seemingly down and out after a 3-7-1 start, they have turned it around down the stretch and now have their eyes on a postseason berth after going 3-0-1 in their last four games. It won’t be easy with the likes of No. 9 Hingham and No. 15 Dartmouth on the slate, and you can be sure that Atlantic Coast rival Marshfield will try to serve as a roadblock.