Boys Varsity Lacrosse
Game Summaries & Headlines.
By Matt Chandik Inside Lacrose
(Inside Lacrosse Photos: Dave Anderson)
Everything was going the way of St. Anthony's at the end of the first half of Sunday's GEICO High School Showcase game against Connecticut power Darien.
The No. 5 Friars had just scored their fourth straight goal, a tally from top-ranked Brennan O'Neill off of an Andrew McAdorey feed, and Jake Naso(Virginia) won the ensuing face-off with 35 seconds left to play before the ball found its way to senior attackman Jake Bonomi.
The Michigan commit looked to set something up, but the Blue Wave's defense stripped him and got the ball going in transition, a sequence that ended up in a goal from Darien's Henri Pfeifle. Longtime St. Anthony's head coach Keith Wieczorek expressed his displeasure with Bonomi's turnover, then added, "that one's on you, make up for it."
The goal turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the Friars, because it got Bonomi rolling as he scored four of his game-high five goals in the seocnd half, including the game-tying goal and game-clinching goal, as St. Anthony's scored the game's final three goals to top Darien, 11-9.
"I guess that was motivation to make up for it and try to get back at it," Bonomi said. "I was just trying to play hard in the second half to make up for that one goal, because that one could be the game."
In an interstate rivalry game that has gone Darien's way in their past three meetings, the Friars staff relied on their senior scorer to come up big.
"He's an All-American, he's an All-Star. Every once in a while, he puts the clock on and he's not thinking and he shoots first," Wieczorek said. "But he played an exceptional second half and that was all the difference. That's all he needed, he just needed a little reminder.... We kind of let 'em roll it out and let's go, let's go, let's go offensively and I think sometimes, in those tough situtations where we're trying to clock it a little bit, it hurts us."
Bonomi's fourth goal tied the game up with 7:08 to play, but it was a defensive play from a very likely source that got St. Anthony's over the hump in the fourth quarter. Down a man, Darien got the ball and had a clear set up out of a timeout and nearly made it through, but Friars standout LSM Greg Campisi broke through and dislodged the ball, allowing St. Anthony's to pick it up and set up their offense with 4:45 to play.
58 seconds later, McAdorey finished off the hat trick to give the Friars a lead that they wouldn't relinquish.
"It was just being active, and we knew that we had an extra man because they were man-down," said Campisi, who finished with four groundballs, two caused turnvoers and a pair of assists. "I just roamed in the middle of the field. They kind of let the leash off of me so I could go off and see if I could find anything. I saw an opportunity and I took it."
It’s not the first time that the Harvard-bound Campisi, who was also one of Long Island’s best quarterbacks in the fall, has seized opportunities to make plays. For all of the attention that the offense gets — rightfully so — Campisi is the defensive leader who guides the unit in front of junior goalie Alex Pazienza, a Sacred Heart commit who made nine saves.
“If he’s not the best pole in the country, he’s in the conversation. He’s definitely one of the best that we’ve ever had here, and we’ve had some good ones,” Wieczorek said. “That kid is so electric and so athletic. When he doesn’t make the exceptional play on a ground ball or a pass, you’re shocked. He’s become the expected weapon we have there. He's just a beast on groundballs, extremely athletic and a fierce competitior. He's the best."
At the other end, it may have been Andy Demopoulos' national coming out party in the Darien cage. Already heralded as one of the best goalies in the 2021 class, Demopoulos continued to prove that he's good for any age at the varsity level, not just for his age. The first-year starter made 13 saves, perhaps none better than a point-blank stuff with his head on a Phil Polorip. Without Naso's 20-for-24 day at the face-off X, it's uncertain whether or not the Friars would have had enough looks to beat Demopoulos.
"We have a long history of goalies at Darien. He's been learning from some of the best and he's a workaholic, doing all of the little things to help make him better. He's just going to continue to grow and become one of the premier goalies in the country," Darien head coach Jeff Brameier said. "To be a three-year starter at Darien, you have to have something special. We've only had a couple of those. We've had the two Madalons [former UNC goalie Chris and former Roanoke All-American and Princeton coach Matt] and [former Bryant All-NEC goalie] Jameson Love, we've had some good ones through and we're talking about elite goalies. If you have it in the program, it breeds more. We've got a great culture at Darien with goalies."
What Darien doesn't have, though, is a concern about its goalie spot for the next three years.