WORCESTER — For the St. John’s Prep lacrosse program, the ‘Circle’ has become a tradition in recent years. Following games, the team comes together for a meeting, which often develops into a rallying cry.
The final installment of the ritual this season turned out to be the most rewarding one of all for the Eagles.
Senior captain and Wesleyan commit Charlie Wilmot buried four goals, while junior attackman Harlan Graber registered a hat trick as top-seeded St. John’s Prep defeated No. 3 BC High in the Div. 1 lacrosse championship for a second straight season with a convincing 11-5 victory at Worcester State University.
The first half was a tale of momentum swings. St. John’s Prep (23-1) came out hot to start as Jimmy Ayers and Graber sniped consecutive tallies within a 22-second span. Wilmot registered his first goal 3:27 later, and the Eagles led 3-0 just 4:52 into the game.
However, BC High (18-6) had a response. James Krzywda, Tim Rogers and Will Emsing combined to score three goals in a row in the final 2:41 of the opening stanza, tying things at 3-all.
The chess match continued in the second quarter as Graber notched his second goal with 4:47 remaining in the half. Then, BC High junior attackman Cooper Chapman sniped the equalizer on the other end as the two Catholic Conference rivals entered the break deadlocked 4-4.
WORCESTER, MA – JUNE 21: St. John’s Prep Charlie Wilmot carries the ball while being pressur4ed by B.C. High’s Marshall Rice June 21, 2022 in WORCESTER, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Chris Christo/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
“I thought our game plan was sound,” said St. John’s Prep coach John Pynchon. “(BC High) made a bunch of plays which stressed us. (I just told the guys) to be calm, to stick with the program. We knew there were going to be opportunities.”
That there were, at least once the second half started. St. John’s Prep found a spark 14 seconds into the third as Jake Vana fed a pass to Will Sawyer, who sniped the cage to make it a 5-4 contest. Ayers, Graber and Wilmot tacked on goals in the third to provide the Eagles an 8-4 lead, and they rolled from there.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Wilmot. “Especially to (win) it twice. They came out in the first and it was a very close game. It was tied at halftime. We had to make some adjustments…but it was about relaxing, settling in. I think in that third quarter when we had that boost of offensive goals, when we had four straight, that really pushed it over the edge. That was kind of when we realized: ‘Hey, let’s go win this thing.’”
Matt Morrow, Vana and Wilmot capped the scoring in the final frame for St. John’s Prep.
Kryzwda finished with a pair of goals to lead BC High.
When the game was over, the Eagles came together and formed a ring one more time off to the side of the turf, their friends and family roaring them on from just beyond the nearby fence.
“It means everything,” Wilmot said. “I think Coach Pynchon talks about it all the time, building the machine, building the dynasty. That programs win championships, which is setting up the guys in the future to do it again. That’s the big thing.”