The 2021 class of BostonLax All-Americans poses with game MVP's Bryson and Kainen Kilian. Photos by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
After a year off due to COVID, one would think that the mood surrounding the eighth annual BostonLax All-American Game on July 22 would be an entirely positive one as the best in the state of Massachusetts gathered to play lacrosse one final time.
Unfortunately, this was not the case.
On July 12, BostonLax editor in chief Ryan Kilian passed away suddenly due to a heart attack. Not only was Kilian the editor of BostonLax, he was the site's heart and soul. Everything from payroll to game assignments and the All-American Game went through him.
Having worked under Kilian for the last five years and become close with him, this news was devastating.
It took a ton of scrambling and adjusting on the fly, but the best players from across the state met at Union Point Sports Complex in Weymouth on Thursday to play in the All-American Game and honor Ryan's legacy.
Present from Needham were graduated seniors Thomas Barker (face-off, Endicott), Peter Nowlan (attack, Ithaca College) and rising-senior attack-man Nick Pisano (Bryant). Representing St. Sebastian's were graduated seniors Tommy Armstrong (attack, Bucknell), Jimmy Freehill (LSM, Denver), Sam Frisoli (midfield, Tufts) and rising junior midfielder Aidan Maguire (Duke).
Representing Medfield were rising-senior face-off man TJ Casey (UMass) and rising-senior attack-man Luke Murphy (Loyola). Both Casey and Murphy finished playing a tournament in Connecticut for their 3D club team late on Thursday afternoon before hopping on a last-second flight from Hartford to Norwood and arriving just in time for the final quarter of the All-American tilt.
Bryant-bound attack-man Pierce Gregory represented the two-time reigning Division III state champion Dover-Sherborn Raiders. Also repping DS was head coach Brian McLaughlin, who coached Team Stallion to a 19-12 victory.
Rising senior attack-man Jake Gilbert (Fairfield) represented Xaverian, while rising-senior face-off man Colin Birch was present to rep Walpole.
Without a doubt, however, the two most important participants were Ryan Kilian's two sons: Kainen and Bryson. Accompanied by their mother, Rebekah, Kainen and Bryson were introduced as team captains and were inserted into the game in the fourth quarter. Kainen added two goals in the game while Bryson had one of his own and was a perfect 1-for-1 at the face-off X against his big brother.
At halftime, professional lacrosse goalie Nick Marrocco of the PLL's Cannons LC presented Rebekah and her sons with a check for $10,000. Rebekah and her sons were also given all the money generated from admission to the game. The GoFundMe set up in Ryan's honor is now up to $172,000
Following all three goals scored by the Kilian boys, both benches cleared to join in on the celebration. Following their big performances, Kainen and Bryson were interviewed by local media.
"All my goals were from X today,” Kainen explained in his first-ever postgame interview alongside his brother. “I was just trying to go anywhere,” he added when asked if that was his game plan for the day.
"It was a tremendous honor playing tonight," said Medfield's TJ Casey following the game. "The Kilian family is obviously going through a terrible and tragic time and we just wanted to do anything we could to help them."
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.