No Stopping St. Bernard’s
FITCHBURG -- When everything is clicking, it’s just impossible to stop a team -- much it like it was impossible for Blackstone Valley Tech to stop the St. Bernard’s boys’ lacrosse team Monday afternoon -- that’s not only powerful, but also technically savvy.
The fourth-seeded Bernardians simply rolled over the 13th-seeded Beavers with a 19-0, mercy-shortened Central/West Division 3 tournament game at the Bernardian Bowl.
The Blue and Gold (18-1) now move on to the quarterfinals, where it will take on either No. 5 Grafton or No. 12 AMSA, who play tonight.
While Nick Bagley scored seven goals and two assists to put him at the 200-career goal/299-career point plateau, Mike Provencher had six, Mick Ginnity potted four, Dom Valera added three, and long pole Ben Shaw had one to end the third quarter, the telling stat was the total number of faceoffs and ground balls won by the Blue and Gold.
Through three quarters, faceoff master Valera had claimed 17 of the game’s 19 faceoffs.
In addition, St. B’s had claimed an immense 44 ground balls to the Beavers’ 32.
“Faceoffs and ground balls win lacrosse games, and we dominated faceoffs, we dominated ground balls. I’m proud of the boys today; they worked hard,” said longtime Bernardians coach Mike Kelley. “When we move the ball, we score. And they moved the ball. It didn’t turn into a dodging show where we tried to go one on one. We worked with each other.”
But not only that: the hosts didn’t know what the definition of a non-quality shot was until the third quarter. Of St. B’s 29 shots, 25 were on goal, and had 16 straight on-target shots starting with Bagley’s opener, which came seven seconds into the game as Valera blew his opposition away.
Valera made it 2-0 half a minute later with a left-handed blast by his shoulder, and Bagley, on a helper by Provencher, made it three 41 seconds after that.
It would remain 3-0 for the next six minutes until Provencher shuffled home a low goal after Valera fed him with 4:53 left in the opening quarter.
Six seconds later, Bagley made it 5-0 thanks to Michael Hougham’s help.
Half a minute later, Valera found Ginnity, who dumped it in almost as soon as he had caught it.
In all, St, Bernard’s had an 8-0 lead through the first 12 minutes, and would go into the halftime break up by 13.
Three more came in the third and the fourth, respectively.
Sean McCue was a brick wall in the cage for the Bernardians, making 12 saves.
“His clearing made our transition game seamless,” Kelley praised. “It was outstanding. He was throwing dimes, and moving off the ball finds the holes.”