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Lawrenceville is never short on confidence.
In the past three years, the Big Red have re-established themselves as a national powerhouse. There’s an argument to be made that this is the best that the New Jersey boarding school has ever been on the lacrosse field. The Big Red aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, either. Since taking over the job, Jon Posner has leveraged Lawrenceville’s more centralized East Coast location to pull in high-level talent from all over the country.
So heading into last Saturday’s No. 3 vs. No. 4 battle against Prep Nationals foe Salisbury (Conn.), the Big Red knew they had a plan in place to go toe-to-toe with the vaunted Crimson Knights, who have perhaps the best attack line in the country at their disposal. Despite that, nobody saw THAT coming.
The visiting Big Red walked out with a 17-5 pasting of their rivals. Four-star senior Hunter Chauvette (SweetLax / Yale) hammered home four goals and set up another. Four-star junior Timmy Piacentini (Cornell) stopped 12 shots and junior Chris Matia (Crabs / Providence) netted a hat trick and dished out two helpers to highlight Lawrenceville’s rout. As a result, the Big Red move up to No. 2 nationally in this week’s NLF high school rankings.
“I don’t think we expected that,” senior four-star defenseman and Johns Hopkins signee Quintan Kilrain (Crabs) said. “We had a good gameplan, but we didn’t know that we’d play that well. We knew that they had a really good attack line, but our plan coming down from (defensive coordinator) Coach (Tucker) Mizhir was to, ‘do us,’ well. Stay poised, stay disciplined, trust our guys, trust Timmy in the cage and clear the ball at a high clip.”
Front and Center
Kilrain’s been in the middle of it all. The senior is having the best year of his career and has established himself as a dominant all-around defenseman. When he was younger, he was more known to be the perfect complementary defenseman who understood off-ball defense at a much higher level than his peers.
That off-ball work is still there, but he now prides himself on being a shutdown 1v1 defender. There’s no hiding from the lefty future Blue Jay, and that’s bad news for opposing offenses.
“I’ve taken a step forward in being an on-ball guy,” Kilrain said. “I love to lead and taking the pride of having the responsibility of leading the defense is great. Now, I’m taking 1v1 personal and I want to shut down everyone I go up against. When someone’s going to dodge on me, I want to own that matchup.”
On The Way Up
The Virginia native isn’t surprised to see Lawrenceville barreling its way to a potential No. 1 spot. It’s been part of the vision for him at both schools, and he knows that the Big Red have the talent to be a powerhouse for a long time.
“When Coach Posner was getting me over here, he said that we were going to be the top team in the nation,” Kilrain said. “When he says that, he means No. 1, not top 3 or top 5. If you look at the group we brought in with guys like Chris and Hunter, we knew that we were capable of. We wanted to create a tradition so that other guys could follow and do the same.”
NLF High School Top 25
1. St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) (10-0)
The Friars easily swept a trio of games, outscoring opponents 52-11 in that span. An 18-7 win over Connecticut public power Darien highlighted the week. NLF No. 3 senior Owen Duffy (Team 91 LI / North Carolina) continued his patently absurd year with three goals and four assists. Four-star senior Harvard commit Jackson Greene (Team 91 LI) added four goals and two assists against the Blue Wave. Fellow four-star Harvard senior commit Jack Speidell (Team 91) tossed in a hat trick to go with two assists. St. Anthony’s finishes its season with three teams in the top 25 in defending Connecticut state champ Staples, No. 4 Haverford School (Pa.) and archrival and No. 13 Chaminade (N.Y.). If the Friars beat the Flyers again, they’ll be done. If Chaminade springs an upset, the two teams will play again for a championship.
2. Lawrenceville (N.J.) (12-1)
3. McDonogh (Md.) (11-1)
The Eagles are in the thick of the MIAA schedule and that generally portends tight games, no matter the opponent’s record. McDonogh dispatched of St. Mary’s (Md.), 7-5, in a rematch of last year’s MIAA title game. The Eagles then outlasted Calvert Hall (Md.), 9-7. NLF No. 1 senior McCabe Millon (Team 91 Maryland / Virginia), NLF No. 6 senior Mac Christmas (MadLax / Duke) and standout sophomore Bogue Hahn (Team 91 Maryland) scored fourth-quarter goals to help McDonogh pull away from the Cardinals. Four-star junior Luke Miller (Notre Dame) dashed the St. Mary’s comeback hopes with a dagger in the final minute.
4. Haverford School (Pa.) (9-2)
Haverford withstood upset-minded Springside Chestnut Hill (Pa.), thanks to 14 saves from Richmond commit Brody Murphy. The Fords also got a goal, two assists and four ground balls from Connor Nolen and two goals from both Wells Flinn (Air Force) and Will Burfeind. Haverford finished its week out by rolling past Germantown Academy (Pa.), 17-5.
5. Hill Academy (Ont.) (8-1)
Hill finds its way back in the top 10 after taking down rival and former No. 2 Culver, 13-12, in a game played at Michigan.
6. Manhasset (N.Y.) (8-0)
The Indians rolled past Nassau County rival Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.), 15-3, before fending off Ridgefield’s (Conn.) upset bid with a 6-5 victory. Liam Connor (Colgate) went off for three goals and three assists against CSH, a game in which Aidan Haggerty (Villanova) tacked on three goals and two assists. Sophomore Daniel Kolin (LI Express) bagged a pair of goals for Manhasset, which takes on rival Garden City in the Woodstick Classic on Saturday.
7. Culver (Ind.) (12-2)
The Eagles dropped a heartbreaker, 13-12, to Canadian rival Hill Academy.
8. Taft (Conn.) (7-1)
The Rhinos have seven straight wins to their name after dropping their opener to St. Sebastian’s (Mass.). Taft knocked Brunswick (Conn.) from the top 10 ranks by virtue of a 10-9 win where five-star junior goalie Ben Friedman (Prime Time / Yale) made a whopping 22 saves. Matthew Surin (Prime Time / Johns Hopkins) led the defense in front of Friedman. Ben Wick buried a career-best six goals in Taft’s win over Deerfield (Mass.).
9. Salisbury (Conn.) (7-1)
The Crimson Knights tumble after a 17-5 loss at the hands of new No. 2 Lawrenceville. Despite that, they can still move way back up as they have upcoming dates with unbeaten Choate, as well as finishing their regular season with Taft, Brunswick and Deerfield.
10. Belmont Hill (Mass.) (8-0)
The Sextants aren’t getting things done with a ton of style points, but they’re getting things done regardless. The defense has been incredibly efficient, yielding double-digit goals once in the first eight games. Matt Torrey (Laxachusetts / Air Force) is the backbone of the team and has stopped 72 percent of shots sent his way. He’s giving up a hair less than five goals per game. Sophomore faceoff man Eli Friedman has won 70 percent of his draws.
Rounding Out the Top 25
11. St. John’s (D.C.)
12. Brunswick (Conn.)
13. Chaminade (N.Y.)
14. Boys’ Latin (Md.)
15. Loyola Blakefield (Md.)
16. Georgetown Prep (Md.)
17. Mount Sinai (N.Y.)
18. Radnor (Pa.)
19. Malvern Prep (Pa.)
20. Fairfield Prep (Conn.)
21. Seton Hall Prep (N.J.)
22. Academy of the New Church (Pa.)
23. Bayport-Blue Point (N.Y.)
24. Wilton (Conn.)
25. Staples (Conn.)