For the first time since 2015, the Nantucket boys lacrosse team beat the Sandwich Blue Knights, stunning Div. 4’s second ranked team 5-3. The Whalers let in two goals in the game’s first 2:24 and found themselves trailing 3-1 with 6:02 left in the first quarter. But from there the Blue Knights were unable to get anything going on offense and were shutout for the rest of the game.
“We knew they were going to have some trouble with our zone but not that much trouble,” Whaler head coach Sam Aloisi said. “In the beginning we got caught ball watching a couple times. That is how they got their second and third goals – just stupid stuff. But we cleaned it up, the guys responded, and they played incredible defense.”
Freshman midfielder Arann Hanlon scored Nantucket’s first goal, but after the Blue Knights took their 3-1 lead it was junior attacker Jack Halik stepping and taking control of the game to score back-to-back goals in a nine second span to make it a 3-3 game after one quarter. The third goal in particular was set up from some beautiful passing down the field that freed Halik up with plenty of space in front of the net to score the equalizer.
“I thought our offense showed a lot of patience,” Aloisi said. “We knew it was going to be a possession game. We knew we weren’t going to beat these guys 12-10. Mikey (Culkins) did a really good job facing off. I don’t know that he won any clean, maybe two or three, but he tied them up. Everyone played really well.”
Just under seven minutes into the second quarter, it was Culkins who took a tremendous over-the-shoulder pass from Hanlon and ripped it through Blue Knight’s goalie Shane Corcoran, who was stellar all game long to keep Sandwich within striking distance, to give the Whalers their first lead of the game and the eventual game winner.
Neither team scored in the third quarter. Corcoran stood tall for Sandwich while Nantucket dominated possession. In the final quarter of play, junior attacker Cole Chambers was alone up top in the offensive end and was able to find some space to blast one through Corcoran to give the Whalers a 5-3 lead with 10:49 to play.
“That was a nice shot,” Aloisi said. “We hadn’t really tested (Corcoran) from up top like that but when Cole gets a step up there, he has a really good shot. He just doesn’t often get it because he draws the best defender and they blanket him pretty good.”
The insurance goal allowed Nantucket to remain loose and gave freshman goalie Jeremy Jenkinson more than enough to work with as he attempted to close this one out for the Whalers.
Sandwich, as expected, began their late push and turned up the heat in the final eight minutes of the game. Jenkinson, after two-plus quarters of very little action, made a pair of high-quality stops in the fourth quarter including a leg save on a shot just feet away from the net. Jenkinson has been one of the strengths of this team all season long and lived up to that billing once again on Thursday.
Nantucket is now 8-4 and after knocking off Sandwich, it won’t be much of a surprise if they jump up a few spots from their current position as the #8 seed in the latest state tournament standings which were released by the MIAA on Tuesday. The Whalers next game is on Saturday, May 13 when they travel to Weymouth to take on the Wildcats at 10:45 a.m. Weymouth is currently 0-12 this season.
Photography below by Chris Tran.