KINGSTON, Mass. -– On Monday afternoon at Anthony Sirrico Field, Silver Lake proved its credentials as a top five program in the ESPNBoston.com statewide rankings with a comprehensive 5-1 victory over fellow Division 1 state title contender St. John’s Prep.
“We got spanked,” was Prep head coach David Crowell’s appraisal of his team’s performance. “They dominated us in every facet of the game.”
Lakers senior forward Paul Beatty scored the first and last goals of the day to edge ever closer to the school’s single-season scoring record (the official record is unknown but is believed to be around 25 goals). Beatty was a constant threat to the Prep back line with his speed and strength and the Eagles struggled to cope.
Silver Lake head coach Dan Correia remarked, “I think we got the ball into really dangerous areas for Paul and he gives a lot of teams headaches. That’s a kid who they always have to know where he is, so it frees up things for other players on the field.”
Crowell added, “He’s a handful certainly. We thought that we could contain him, but it’s not a one-man team. The throw in was deadly; they’ve got a lot of weapons.”
Prep was given an early warning sign of the problems that Beatty can cause when, just four minutes in, he raced onto a long ball behind the defense but chipped it narrowly wide past the onrushing keeper. It was a warning that was not heeded, as five minutes later Beatty was in again on a Brendan Nemes through ball and this time he made no mistake.
In the 13th minute, the Lakers doubled the lead on a long throw-in by the aptly named Sean Hurlburt. The senior midfielder was a threat all game with his ability to put the ball in the box from distance and the Eagles failed to deal with the bounce that picked out sophomore Adam Crawford on the far post to tap home.
Despite the score line, the Lakers were not having it all their own way. Prep was getting solid hold up play from forward Matt Chilton and using the speed of Paul Magazzu on the right and Michael Lanza on the left to cause problems on the wings. Unfortunately, the final ball almost never found its mark. The one time it did, the Eagles scored.
Magazzu again getting the better of the Lakers left back to get to the touchline and his inch=perfect cross found Chilton for a free header that was powered home to cut the lead in half.
Crowell explained, “They were giving us some play on the wings and packing it into the middle. We were getting the ball to the touchline, but we just couldn’t deliver the final ball. The one time we did –- we scored.”
Ten minutes before halftime and Silver Lake went back up by two goals. Nemes sent another pass forward from the midfield, but Beatty let it slip under his foot. It worked out for the Lakers as the ball slipped behind the defense to the just onside Pat Hutchinson, who coolly slipped the ball home to make it 3-1.
The Lakers came out firing in the second half. Beatty was constantly running the channels, particularly towards his stronger left foot and the Prep central defenders, Cory Lang and Stephen Heintz, were consistently on their heels.
Just four minutes after the break, Beatty rolled his defender and raced in only to be stopped by a great save from Eagles keeper Zach Rowell at the near post. On the ensuing corner, Rowell was forced into another save at full-stretch to rob Elijah Bayne from 20 yards. Beatty would miss another glorious opportunity and then set up Hurlburt, who blazed over from inside the 18.
Midway through the half, it was Rowell again who came to Prep’s rescue. After a slip by a defender Brendan Guilderson was in alone on the goalie, but Rowell came out to make the tackle and clear.
“Our keeper, Zach Rowell, was incredible,” said Crowell. “He kept us in the game early in the second half, but it was only a matter of time because it was a shooting gallery for a while.”
Correia agreed, “A lot of coaches talk about that a two-goal lead is the most dangerous one to have, so we were desperate to get the next one, but their keeper made it really difficult to do so; he played great.”
Silver Lake would get the next goal eventually. Hutchinson split two defenders with a perfect pass to the overlapping right back Matt Calabro, who made no mistake on the finish. The Lakers wrapped up the scoring and the two points when Calabro picked out Beatty, who rifled past Rowell to make it 5-1.
Crowell was adamant that this would be a positive for the Eagles as they get ready for the Division 1 playoffs.
He remarked, “It’s a huge wake-up call. Obviously, we’re a good team and we’re better than this; we’re better than we showed tonight. That’s why we schedule these games; we know where we are now.”
Correia was hoping that the two teams could meet up again in the postseason, which could not happen until the state semifinals. He said with a laugh, “We know that they’re one of the class teams from the north. I was saying to Dave that if we see each other again, we’ll be doing well.”