Pinkerton Laxmen Get Back to the D-I Title Contest

The Pinkerton Academy boys’ lacrosse squad got itself lined up for another crack at a Division I championship with recent tournament victories over the Londonderry High Lancers and the Exeter High Blue Hawks. Now, once again, the Bishop Guertin Cardinals remain the Astros’ only obstruction to the divisional promised land.

PA lacrosse coach Brian O’Reilly watched his second-seeded Astros play impressively in ending the 2014 campaigns of both Londonderry and Exeter in the quarterfinal and semifinal tourney matches. And now veteran coach Chris Cameron’s BG Cardinals of Nashua – who have been in every one of the last nine D-I title games and won six of them, including the last four in a row – are the only entity in the Astros’ way as they seek championship status for the first time since 2006.

Guertin beat Pinkerton in the 2005 title game, the Astros got revenge the next spring, but the Cardinals have since defeated PA in the 2008, 2011, and 2013 title matches.

The 2014 championship game was slated for Wednesday, June 11, after Nutfield News press time.

The PA crew got back to the championship game by virtue of a 15-4 thumping of Exeter in semifinal-round tourney play at Bedford High School on Sunday, June 8.

Pinkerton had dusted off the Blue Hawks by lopsided tallies of 16-6 and 16-5 during their previous two meetings with that opponent this spring, so another blowout in the tournament match wasn’t a surprise.

The upset-minded Blue Hawks began the match strong, but found themselves trailing 3-2 at the close of the first quarter.
The Astros potted the next seven goals, leading 8-2 at halftime and 10-2 with a little less than seven minutes to go in the third quarter before Exeter was able to net its third goal.

The academy side had a whopping 30-8 advantage in shots on net in the victory, and were it not for Exeter goalie Cole Finerty’s strong play (15 saves) the score would have been still higher in Pinkerton’s favor.

Sean Delea led the PA attack with five goals, Jake Lisauskas was good for two goals and two assists, Evan Sweeney scored twice, James Tulley bagged one goal and dished out two assists, and single goals were netted by Todd Billetter, Austin Maylor, Jack Hanaway, Ryan Burke, and Bailey Walsh.

In the wake of most semifinal-round tournament victories, teams rush onto the field and celebrate. But that’s not the case with Brian O’Reilly’s Pinkerton Astros.

“Our players expect to be in the championship game every year. And that’s true in football too,” said O’Reilly. “Whether they get there or not is irrelevant. They expect to be there every year. And that’s why you didn’t just see the kids out here jumping all over each other when the game was over.”

The Astros had bounded into the semifinal-round tourney match-up with number six Exeter, thanks to a 13-6 drubbing of seventh-seeded Londonderry in a quarterfinal contest played at Pinkerton June 5.

The tourney win, which was the Astros’ third besting of Londonderry during the 2014 season, wasn’t quite as decisive as the earlier 17-6 and 18-5 trouncings of the Lancers. Still, the academy crew won each quarter and won the match soundly.

The Astros led 2-1 after one period and outscored their rivals by a 5-1 tally during the second quarter to carry a 7-2 advantage to halftime. Pinkerton outscored the Londonderry crew 3-2 in both the third and fourth periods to win.

Pinkerton, rolled into the tournament with an eight-game winning streak, got three goals and two assists from Delea, three goals and one helper from Lisauskas, two goals and two assists from Tulley, and two tallies from Sweeney. Additionally, Hanaway contributed a goal and an assist, Billetter and Mason Barchard each scored once, Brett Dattilo notched three assists, and Maylor and Burke each registered an assist.

Astros’ goalie Cam Hayward made nine saves his contribution to the win.