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It was as complete a performance as a coach could ask for; the goals, the dominance in time of possession, the face-offs, the defensive stops, the saves, the rides, the clears. Belmont Hill (Mass.) did it all and almost to perfection in the ISL championship game against Middlesex (Mass.).

Sunday’s bout may not have gone according to the script that Tim Sullivan had prepared for his team, but the result was one that the Belmont Hill head coach gladly took home with him along with an ISL championship trophy.

“That’s a really good team, they have some crafty players that can hurt you and we came in preparing for a slug fest,” said Sullivan. “Our guys just really stepped up and played their best lacrosse. This was a special group. These guys worked so hard both on and off the field. They had one goal in mind when the season started but we knew we couldn’t get ahead of ourselves. We learned from every game and we learned from every practice. We applied everything we learned about ourselves and took everything day by day. Today is the product of a lot of hard work and I couldn’t be more proud. Success at Belmont Hill is measured in championships and we proved that today.”


The Road to Sunday

After vanquishing its first-round demons on Wednesday afternoon with a 13-11 win over No. 8 Thayer, the Sextants (17-1) earned a 13-8 semifinal win over No. 5 Roxbury Latin on Saturday to advance to Sunday’s championship.

Middlesex, meanwhile, was playing with house money. After defeating No. 3 Governor’s 12-9 in the opening round on Wednesday, the Cinderella Zebras (11-5) punched their ticket to Sunday’s title bout with an incredible 10-9 fourth comeback win at No. 2 St. Sebastian’s in Saturday’s semifinal.

Friedman, DiBattista Bring the Juice

The emotional win over Seb’s clearly took a significant physical toll on Middlesex, as the Zebras were unable to match Belmont’s early energy. Dominance at the face-off X by Cornell commit Eli Friedman (21-of-27 face-offs) helped Belmont control possession as the Sextants outshot the Zebras 22-5 in the first half. Middlesex goalie Arjun Rath (Laxachusetts) was able to keep it a two-goal game after a quarter with some big early saves, but eventually the Belmont Hill offense asserted itself.

Will Stewart (Villanova) opened the scoring off a feed from Ben DiBattista (Lafayette) less then two minutes in. Goals by Topher Batchelder and DiBattista (twice) built the lead up to four before Friedman buried a quick-stick feed from Stewart that gave Belmont a commanding 5-0 edge.

Freshman Colton McCann got Middlesex on the board before halftime, but Friedman quickly responded by running in his sixth of seven faceoff wins during the first half and finished himself, putting Belmont back ahead by five at the break.

Evans & Company Stay Serving

Belmont began the second half on the man-up and things quickly got out of hand. The Sextants converted almost immediately as great ball movement led to DiBattista feeding Preston Evans (Laxachusetts / Virginia) for a strike, followed by a trio of inside finishes from Dylan Casillo, John Lynch and Cal Peterson.

Even after tallies by Colgate commit Nick Moore and Frankie Forrest (Laxachusetts), the Zebras were never able to calm the storm throughout the remainder of the second half. Belmont outscored Middlesex 10-3 in the third quarter with Evans having a hand on four of the goals, scoring twice with two helpers. Evans put an exclamation point on his six-point afternoon with a pretty around-the-world finish off a feed from Jack Schneider (St. Lawrence / Laxachusetts) midway through the fourth.

The Sextants left no doubt, scoring an ISL championship game record 19 goals – a ridiculous 16 of which were assisted. The 19-6 victory earned Belmont Hill its first undisputed ISL title since 2016.

Belmont Hill vs. Middlesex Standouts

Finn Fox ’24, defense, Belmont Hill (Mass.) / Laxachusetts – Princeton

The matchup everyone wanted to see was Fox against four-star junior Owen Crann (Laxachusetts), and Fox held the explosive Penn commit to just two points on the afternoon with a goal and assist. Fox made a pair of highlight-reel takeaways on Crann and Moore, but more importantly he played sound defense and guarded one of the best players in the 2025 class to a tee. Fox stands out by not standing out. He does his job and shuts down his guy no matter the matchup. This dominant performance en route to a championship was a fitting end to his high school career.

Preston Evans ’25, attack, Belmont Hill (Mass.) / Laxachusetts – Virginia

There are a lot of ways you can score in this sport and Evans seemingly did them all on Sunday. The future ‘Hoo ripped home a lefty jump shot, dodged and created space for himself to score from his off-hand right, and in the fourth quarter he decided one from each side wasn’t enough and slung home a behind-the-back eye-popper. It’s no secret that Evans is one of the most dynamic players in the 2025 class and he’ll be the alpha of Belmont’s offense next season as a senior.

Arjun Rath ’25, goalie, Middlesex (Mass.) / Laxachusetts

Perhaps the biggest reason why Middlesex got to Sunday’s championship game was the play of Rath. He was excellent all week against Gov’s and Seb’s and helped lead his team to some massive regular season wins against Nobles and Rivers. With Middlesex struggling to gain possession and get into any offensive rhythm early on Sunday, Rath bailed out his team time and time again with some massive stops. Eventually, the nonstop barrage of shots that Belmont put on him proved to be too much. Rath still managed to make 11 saves on the day, six of which came in the first quarter.

Eli Friedman ’25, faceoff midfield, Belmont Hill (Mass.) – Cornell

Middlesex threw everything but the kitchen sink at Friedman including double poles on the wings and it never changed his approach. He stayed consistent and dominated the face-off X from start to finish with 21 wins. He’s a true Swiss army knife as his two second quarter goals helped get Belmont’s offense rolling and he continually saw time in defensive situations as well. He’s the top faceoff guy returning to play in the ISL next season.