Cards win 5th straight title

When Chris Cameron took over the Bishop Guertin High School boys lacrosse program in 2003, he didn’t hesitate when setting a long-term goal for the Cardinals.

Pinkerton Academy had just won its eighth title in nine years, winning four in a row twice, and Cameron thought that someday, he’d have Bishop Guertin in position to do the same.

After Wednesday night, the Cardinals made it one better.

Top-seeded Bishop Guertin took an early lead, controlled possession and played some of its best defense of the season to beat No. 2 Pinkerton 10-6 at Bedford High School in the Division I championship game, the fifth consecutive title for the Cardinals.

“Five in a row … my goal when I took over the program was to be like Pinkerton,” Cameron said. “When I took over in 2003, they had just won the second of four in a row. To win five is pretty incredible. It doesn’t get old.”

Connor Donahue scored three goals and John Miller had two goals, and both scored goals late in the fourth quarter to give Bishop Guertin (19-2) a little more room to breathe. Dom St. Laurent (assist), Charlie O’Brien, Tom Hurley, Nick Prunier (assist) and Gage Sevigny also had a goal each.

But before the goals by Donahue and Miller, Cameron felt like things were shifting Pinkerton’s way.

“It felt like the momentum was going their way and I took a timeout,” he said. “I don’t like taking time outs in the third quarter. I want to save them, but it felt like momentum was going their way. They were hanging around.”

A big part of that was the play of Astros (17-4) goalie Cameron Hayward, who stopped 16 shots, including several in the first half when the Cardinals were dominating time of possession.

“If not for him, this game would have gotten away early,” Pinkerton coach Brian O’Reilly said of Hayward. “He has the knack for making that kind of save, and he made some big ones late in the game for us and kept us in it for a while. When they pumped those last two in, it was over.”

The Astros got a goal each from Evan Sweeney, Jake Lisauskas (assist), Todd Billetter (assist), Sean Delea, James Tulley and Brett Dattilo.

Early on, the game had the feel of when the teams met in the regular season, a 14-11 win by Bishop Guertin that the Cardinals led 10-3 at halftime. Bishop Guertin got out to a 4-1 lead when O’Reilly took a timeout with 2:48 left in the quarter.

“When I took that timeout, it was to stop leading into what happened last time,” the coach said. “I liked the way we responded. We closed it to 4-3 after that.”

Sevigny scored early in the second to make it 5-3 and the goal by Lisauskas with 7:03 to go in the second got it back to a one-goal game, and that’s where it stood for most of the second. Prunier pushed the lead back to two goals with 1:18 left before halftime.

Twice in the third quarter, Bishop Guertin pushed the lead to three, bit after O’Brien’s goal made it 8-5 Cardinals with 4:27 to play, Tulley answered to make it 8-6.

“They came in with a great game plan,” Cameron said. “They shut of St. Laurent and when you shut a guy off, it’s risky, because you’re playing five-on-five and it changes your slide package. I thought we dominated possession. Our offense was good, but not great, but defensively, we held them to two goals in the second half.

“Every team we played a second time, we got so much better on the defensive end. We hit our slides, we played good one-on-one defense, and the biggest thing, the goalie (Jake Sonberg) was making saves.”

And it all added up to a fifth consecutive title – the Cardinals’ seventh overall – and a new spot in the record books.