WESTON – With each passing evening this week, William Sawyer started to have a greater hunch that he would be given an increased role when St. John’s Prep took the field Tuesday for the Final Four.
What the senior attackman didn’t truly realize, however, was that he was on the verge of turning a career performance. Sawyer went on to register a game-high four goals, as the top-seeded Eagles clinched their third straight trip to the Div. 1 boys lacrosse championship with a convincing 14-5 rout of No. 5 Hingham at Weston High School.
“I didn’t get told, but I had a feeling I would play,” Sawyer said afterward. “I felt good coming into the game, and everything went well today.”
These two historic programs had already engaged in one barn-burner this spring on May 27, with St. John’s Prep (21-1) closing its regular season with a thrilling 12-9 win. Most envisioned a similar battle in the semifinals. For the first seven minutes, it certainly appeared that it would pan out as such. Harlan Graber sniped a goal 48 seconds into play to provide the Eagles a 1-0 edge, a score that would hold until later in the opening frame.
Hingham (20-3) made an emphasis to neutralize St. John’s Prep standout attackman Jimmy Ayers, and successfully did so for the most part. However, in doing so, the Harbormen began to surrender opportunities midway through the first quarter. Cam McCarthy found the net off a rebound with 4:48 to play in the frame for the Eagles. Jake Vana then added a pair of goals before Christian Esposito scored following a face-off win to close the stanza. Suddenly, St. John’s Prep was leading 5-1 at the end of the stanza.
Yet, even when the Harbormen managed to find ways to subtract those star players, someone else managed to step up for the Eagles.
Enter Sawyer. The senior proceeded to record a hat trick in the second quarter alone, the last of which came with 12.4 seconds left in the half as St. John’s Prep seized an 8-1 lead at the break.
“I actually was thinking this morning about last year when we went down (to Hingham) and jumped out on them,” chuckled St. John’s Prep lacrosse coach John Pynchon. “We did everything really well in the first half, and I think we were up 8-1. Then in the second game, it was much closer. I was like: ‘It would be really nice if we could flip those games this year, because we already did the close one.’ ”
While Hingham found somewhat of a spark from senior captain Joe Hennessey (two goals, assist), the Harbormen were simply unable to keep up with the Eagles’ high-octane attack. When all was said and done, eight different players scored for St. John’s Prep.
McCarthy, Vana and Lucas Verrier each finished with two goals apiece for the Eagles.
To this point in the postseason, St. John’s Prep has outscored its opposition at a whopping 57-9. Now, the Eagles will look to continue their dynastic run by winning the Div. 1 title for a third consecutive year this upcoming weekend.
When the game was over, the Eagles gathered for their traditional ‘Circle’ to celebrate their latest victory. It was then that Sawyer was awarded the ‘Chain’ for the second time this year, given to the player of the game.
“It’s my senior year,” said Sawyer. “This is what I live for. I want to win (it all) as a senior. I’m just trying to do that.”