WASHINGTON—Since falling to IMG Academy on March 23 in the season opener, St. Sebastian’s (Needham, Mass.) has seemingly rolled through the season. Except for a one-goal loss at the beginning of May, the Arrows have consistently outscored their opponents with a high-powered offense.
Against St. Anne’s-Belfield (Charlottesville, Va.) on Sunday, the Arrows used that aggressive offense to take a 6-1 lead in the first quarter and rolled to a 21-8 victory in the quarterfinals of the GEICO High School Lacrosse Nationals.
“We will always go on some runs because the way we play, but we’ll also give up some runs sometimes,” St. Sebastian’s coach Adam White said. “It’s really just an attitude. When you get a little bit of a lead, add on to that. Try to get the next one.”
St. Sebastian’s will face the winner of The Hill Academy (Ontario) and Lawrenceville (N.J.) on Monday evening at 9 p.m. ET.
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As a team, the Arrows outshot the Saints 40-29.
The Arrows were spearheaded by the duo of Parker Joyce and John Piatelli, both senior attackers. Joyce totaled two goals and seven assists while Piatelli notched seven goals and three assists within the Arrows’ flowing, improvisational offense.
“They just know where the other one is going,” White said. “It’s like their twins or something. They’ve got an uncanny ability to make eye contact, or not make eye contact.”
Joyce and Piatelli are his team’s leaders, but also two of the quietist players on the team, White said.
After a poor first quarter, St. Anne’s-Benfield got into a rhythm and scored five goals in the second quarter. That was the one quarter in which they had double-digit shot attempts and kept pace with St. Sebastian’s. Additionally, they grabbed 12 ground balls that quarter, their most all game.
“We’re a team that really relies on possession,” St. Anne’s Belfield coach Bo Perriello said. “Today they got limited touches and it was those quarters where we couldn’t seem to control the middle of the field.”
Despite that, St. Anne’s-Benfield was unable to stop the Arrows who continued to sprint the field and score. The two teams spent the quarter running up-and-down the field trading punches. But when the third quarter came around, St. Sebastian’s returned to their domination. They outscored the Saints 8-2 the rest of the way.
Ultimately, St. Sebastian’s lead was too large to overcome.
After facing IMG, the Arrows learned what it takes to face an elite team, White said. Once the team saw the Ascenders, they had two separate team meetings. During those meetings, the team talked less about strategy and more about how to mentally approach facing an elite program with an aggressive approach.
“We went, ‘OK, this is what it looks if you want to be on that national stage and compete with some of the big boys,’” White said. “I think it’s helping us now because we’ve seen some of those teams before.”