Boys Lacrosse Advances To State Championship For First Time In Program History

David Creed •

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The Nantucket boys lacrosse team is one win away from a state championship following their 9-3 win over Swampscott Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Chris Tran

Photography by Chris Tran

For the first time in program history, the Nantucket boys lacrosse team will be competing for a state title after beating the Swampscott Big Blue 9-3 in the Div. 4 state semifinal Tuesday afternoon at Weymouth High School.

"Overall, I think it was sloppy," Whaler head coach Sam Aloisi said of his team’s game. "But the guys, their tenacity and resilience really came through and that carried them because it was sloppy. I felt like we should have won by five or seven more goals. I think Arann (Hanlon) hit the pipe seven times and that's no knock on Arann his shots just weren't going today. He's a huge part of the offense otherwise and they'll go on Saturday (in the state title game). But between that and the turnovers on the clears… the clears were sloppy.

"We got a lot to clean up but overall, the effort was just incredible. I thought it was great,” Aloisi added.

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The Nantucket boys lacrosse team is one win away from a state championship following their 9-3 win over Swampscott Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Chris Tran
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Michael Culkins and Jeremy Jenkinson celebrating after Tuesday's win.

Nantucket’s defense was suffocating all game long and kept Swampscott scoreless through one quarter while Whaler senior midfielders Ryan Davis and Jack Halik each scored one goal in the opening frame to give Nantucket a 2-0 lead after one.

The first seven minutes of the second quarter may have been the Whaler’s worst with poor passing and sloppy all-around play. Swampscott had a goal called back midway through the second but was finally able to get on the scoreboard and cut Nantucket’s lead to 2-1 with 5:09 remaining in the first half, but that strike appeared to reset the focus of Nantucket.

“The first goal we gave up that they called off was a horrible mistake on our part and then the first goal that counted was just another mental lapse,” Aloisi said. “It was stuff we haven't done but again that's just some jitters. Once we got to halftime, I was very confident.”

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Ryan Davis celebrating after one of his two goals on the afternoon. Photo by Chris Tran
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Left to right: Paddy Carroll, Arann Hanlon, Ryan Davis

Some of that confidence stemmed from how the Whalers immediately responded to that Big Blue goal. The passing became crisper, and the Whalers moved with more speed in those final five minutes and change, striking three times in the game’s next four minutes to make it a 5-1 game. Senior attacker Colby O’Keefe scored two of those goals while sophomore Arann Hanlon scored the other.

"I think it was just cleaning up their mistakes and cleaning up the sticks, not throwing balls away and not doing stupid (stuff),” Aloisi said.

The Whaler’s senior captain, Cole Chambers, led the team by example in the third quarter and scored the only two goals in that 12-minute frame – one came with 7:19 to go in the third off a filthy behind the back goal and the other came with 15 seconds remaining.

"Colton is just our leader on the offensive side," Aloisi said. "He has been for the last two, maybe three years. He does a lot of little things that don't go in the scorebook.”

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Cole Chambers behind the back goal in the third quarter. Photo by Chris Tran

With the Whalers leading 7-1 entering the fourth quarter, the game was all but locked up. Swampscott made it a 7-2 game 37 seconds into the fourth, but Chambers scored his third of the game 50 seconds later followed by a second Ryan Davis goal 90 seconds later to make it 9-2 Nantucket with 9:02 to go in the semifinal.

Swampscott scored one more goal in the final minute, but the Whalers held on and now set their sights toward the state championship.

The state title game will take place on Saturday, June 15 at a time and location still being determined. The Whalers, ranked #1 in the tournament, will be facing the #3 seeded Sandwich Blue Knights in the game.

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Colby O'Keefe. Photo by Chris Tran
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Jack Halik fired up after his first quarter goal. Photo by Chris Tran

Sandwich has had an outstanding year and finished their regular season with a 15-3 record. They beat #30 Lenox Memorial 17-3 in the Round of 32, #14 Advanced Math & Science Academy 18-7 in the Round of 16, #6 Pentucket Regional High School 14-8 in the state quarterfinal, and the defending state champions and #2 seeded Norwell 9-3 in the state semifinal.

The Blue Knights made it to the Div. 4 state title game last spring as the #2 seed but lost to top-seeded Cohasset 8-4.

The Whalers and Blue Knights have common opponents this season including Nauset, Falmouth, and Barnstable.

Sandwich beat Falmouth 9-6 and Barnstable 17-6 but lost to Nauset 8-7.

Nantucket split their season series with Falmouth – losing the first and only game of their season 13-6 on the road April 9 but won 8-4 at home on May 2.

The Whalers beat Barnstable 13-5 at home and 11-4 on the road. Nantucket also swept the season series with Nauset – winning 7-5 on the road and 9-6 at home. The Whalers finished their regular season with a 16-1 record.

For updates on the state title match as they become available, follow the Nantucket Current on Instagram here or on Twitter (X) here.

More photos from Tuesday's state semifinal game taken by Chris Tran are below.

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Ryan Davis and Jack Halik
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Arann Hanlon after scoring his second quarter goal.
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Colby O'Keefe
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Jack Halik
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Ryan Davis
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Cole Chambers
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David Cirillo
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Paddy Carroll
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Jack Halik
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Colby O'Keefe
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Jeremy Jenkinson making a save.
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