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By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Two boys lacrosse heavyweights squared off at Memorial Field on Saturday afternoon as the No. 11 Needham Rockets hosted the No. 5 St. John’s Prep Eagles for a little late-season Division I North vs. Division I South showdown.
Behind five goals apiece from Pat Keefe and Michael Ott, the Catholic Conference champion Eagles (13-3, 8-0) earned a big 14-10 victory over Jason Child (four goals, one assist) and the Rockets (11-4, 9-0).
SJP began the game on a 6-0 run with three goals coming from Keefe, and the Eagles took their six-goal lead into the second quarter. Peter Nowlan put an end to the run by sticking home a goal on the man-up to make it a 6-1 game. Nowlan’s goal began a 4-0 run by the Rockets to end the quarter, with goals coming from Child (two) and Brendan Walsh (three goals, one assist), closing the gap to 6-4 at halftime.
Peter Nowlan made it a one-goal game at 6-5 off of a feed from Max Sylvia just 16 seconds into the second half, but the response from Prep proved to be the game’s turning point. Following the strike by Nowlan, SJP strung together a 7-1 run to take a commanding 13-6 lead with 1:51 remaining in the quarter. Child responded with a rip off of a feed from Walsh with 58 seconds left in the quarter to cut the deficit to 13-7 at the end of three.
Nowlan completed the hat trick 52 seconds into the fourth to make it a 13-8 game. Kurt Brinkhaus nearly cut the deficit to 13-9 on a one-on-one at the crease, but was denied by the outstretched leg of Prep goalie Alex Kreher (11 saves). Michael Kelly fired home a goal on the man-up moments later to make it a six-goal game once again at 14-8. Two straight from Walsh made it a 14-10 game with 2:38 to play, but that would be the closest Needham would get. The Eagles chewed the remainder of the clock and prevailed by the four-goal final.
For funny and insightful sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter @fLAno0