Boys Lacrosse Advances To State Semifinal

David Creed •

Boys Lax final four 2024
Photo by Chris Tran

The Nantucket boys lacrosse team advanced to the Div. 4 state semifinal on Saturday following another convincing victory. After beating Littleton 19-3 and Winthrop 20-4 in their first two tournament games the Whalers – ranked #1 in the tournament – welcomed the #8 seeded Manchester Essex Hornets to the island and delivered Manchester Essex a similar fate – blowing the Hornets out 15-3.

"I thought our guys did a great job keeping their heads," Whaler head coach Sam Aloisi said. "There were a couple of little slips there but for as much as they were getting targeted and slashed, our guys did a great job.”

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Photo by Chris Tran

Nantucket seniors Colby O’Keefe and Paddy Carroll got the scoring going. They scored at the 6:32 and 5:37 marks of the first quarter to give their team an early 2-0 lead. The Hornets called a timeout with just under four minutes left in the first and immediately scored to make it 2-1 with 2:47 left in the opening quarter.

Whaler senior Jack Halik made it 3-1 after making a quick dodge move to his left to create some open space with 18.3 seconds left and that score stood going into the second quarter. It was a relatively slow start for the Whalers despite holding a two goal lead after the game’s first 12 minutes, but Aloisi wasn’t surprised or concerned.

"The beginning was kind of slow but that is how it goes where we've been on the other side of it too where you go against a better team and you can hang with them for a quarter, quarter and a half and then usually the better team pulls it out at the end and that's what happened and what has been happening,” Aloisi said. “All of our close games except for maybe that King Phillip game and that first Falmouth game it has been close or slow and we've been down in a couple of them but these guys just persist, keep on and do their thing.”

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Jack Halik. Photo by Chris Tran
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Colby O'Keefe. Photo by Chris Tran

Nantucket exploded for four goals in the first 4:13 of the second to pull away and make it a 7-1 game. Those goals were scored by seniors Cole Chambers, Ryan Davis, Halik, and O’Keefe. The Hornets made it a 7-2 game going into halftime, but the Whalers were in control.

Davis scored to make it 8-2 less than 90 seconds into the third quarter. After the Hornets made it 8-3 with 7:37 to go in the third, the Whalers got goals from freshman Nico Tedeschi and O’Keefe to make it 10-3 with just over three minutes left in the quarter.

A scary moment took place late in the third when a Manchester Essex player delivered a massive hit to junior midfielder Owen Sullivan. It prompted play to be stopped and the referees issued a three minute penalty for the hit while also ejecting the player from the game.

The hit didn’t sit well with any of the Nantucket players and coaches.

"That was a cheap shot," Aloisi said. "That kid ran in from 10 yards. He got thrown out.”

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Photo by Chris Tran

Sullivan avoided serious injury and returned to the game after passing all the protocols, but the hit appeared to fire up the Whalers. They outscored Manchester Essex 5-0 from that point on and showed lots of poise while methodically closing out the Hornets. Aloisi said the experience this group has developed in recent years has been on full display recently and should serve them well in Tuesday’s semifinal match.

“I think what we're seeing is the experience that this group has together. They've seen it all,” Aloisi said. “They've been up, they've been down. They've been in tough games, easy games. I think they're mentally tuned in, which is huge because we know what they are capable of physically.”

Up next for the Whalers is Swampscott High School, who is ranked #13 in the tournament and in the midst of a Cinderella run. They beat #20 Medway 13-4 in the Round of 32 and then upset #4 Lynnfield 9-7 in the Round of 16. In the state quarterfinal, they upset #5 Cohasset 9-8.

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Swampscott finished their regular season 17-1. Their only loss came against Beverly High School 7-6. Nantucket and Swampscott do have one common opponent this year: Winthrop High School. While Nantucket beat Winthrop 20-4 in the state tournament, Swampscott played Winthrop twice in the regular season and won both matchups in tight fashion. Swampscott beat Winthrop 8-5 on April 8 and then 12-11 on April 29.

This state semifinal game will take place on Tuesday, June 11 at 3 p.m. and it will be played at a neutral site field – which has been determined to be Weymouth High School.

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Photo by Chris Tran
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