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BY MIKE FLANAGAN

Making history is always a great feeling.

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Belmont Hill suffered its first defeat of the season to Deerfield Academy, NLFRankings.com’s No. 1 team in the country, last week. A lot of teams would be left reeling from it, but Wednesday, the Sextants had the opportunity to do something that had never been done before.

Beat rival St. Sebastian’s, NLFRankings.com’s No. 24 team in the land, for a historic third time.

Liam Horkan led the charge with four goals and an assist and Adam Figler added three goals and two helpers as Belmont Hill upended Seb’s, 13-8, to cap the Sextants’ season in style in front of a raucous crowd. Michael Marinello (St. Lawrence) was a rock in the cage, denying 16 rips sent his way.

“This is exactly what we wanted for our kids,” BH coach Tim Sullivan said. “It’s been a crazy year and these kids have put in so much work. To come out today and play a competitive game against a rival like Seb’s in front of a crowd like this, it’s all we could have asked for with our seniors to go out like this.”

“Today was one of the most electric atmospheres I’ve ever played in,” Arrows attackman Tommy Armstrong (Laxachusetts / Bucknell). “I’m proud of all our guys who never let up and worked our tails off to get back into that game. This team never quits. Tip of the cap to Belmont Hill. They were a deep team who executed every time we saw them this year. The Arrows will be back.”

Game of Runs

In the early going, it appeared as if Belmont was going to run away with a win. Just 43 seconds in, Connor Monahan found a cutting Horkan wide open in front for an easy dump-in goal to draw first blood. The goal by Horkan sparked an 8-1 run by Belmont to open the game with goals coming from Charlie Cave (Brown), Eli Goldstein (Laxachusetts), Figler, Braden Reilly, Brooks Rayment (Laxachusetts / Colby) and Horkan again, forcing Seb’s to a timeout. 

“We knew it was too good to be true,” BH defenseman Trey Brown (Laxachusetts / Boston U) said.. “To get up 8-1, there is too much talent and pride over there for them to just let us run away with it. We knew they were going to punch back and not roll over.”

The Punch Back

Following the timeout, Seb’s climbed their way back into the game with a 5-0 run. NLF No. 19 ’22 Aidan Maguire (Laxachusetts / Duke) got the run started with a shot from the center of the box to make it 8-2. Off the ensuing faceoff win, Jack Rideout (Laxachusetts / Michigan) flew in and fired a shot on cage that Marinello stopped. On the play, Rideout took an absolutely thundering check from Belmont defenseman and NLF No. 19 ’21 Grant Litchfield (Laxachusetts / Lehigh), drawing a one-minute man-up for the Arrows. Seb’s immediately cashed in as Maguire shot home his second of the day to make it 8-3. Following back-to-back saves by Seb’s goalie Ryan Williamson (Laxachusetts), the Arrows cut the deficit to four thanks to a nifty little backhanded shovel goal on a drive out from X by Tommy Armstrong (Laxachusetts / Bucknell). Just 1:09 later, Tim Browne (Michigan) found room and unleashed a perfect leaping righty cannon up high to trim the deficit down to 8-5 and force Belmont to a timeout. 

Figler’s goal at the tail end of the third sparked a 4-0 run by Belmont to close out the game. Liam Horkan completed the hat trick off a feed from Figler off transition to make it 11-8 before Figler cut out from X and deposited home a shot down low to make it 12-8. Horkan would add some insurance with his fourth of the day after beating his man from X and firing home a left shot up high from an odd angle. A series of saves by Marinello in the game’s final moments prevented any type of Seb’s comeback as Belmont prevailed to complete the 3-0 season sweep of the Arrows. 

BELMONT HILL – ST. SEBASTIAN’S STANDOUTS

Liam Horkan ’22, attack, Belmont Hill / New Hampshire Tomahawks

Horkan was the centerpiece of Belmont’s offense on Wednesday with a game-high four goals. Three of Horkan’s goals came off of cuts in front of the net while the fourth was a beautiful dodge from X and lefty finish up high late in the fourth quarter to seal the game. He plays sound fundamental lacrosse and uses his sizable frame to his advantage. 

Trey Brown ’21, defense, Belmont Hill / Laxachusetts / Boston U

It was another day at the office for Brown, who recorded a goal, two ground and forced two turnovers before halftime. Brown’s goal was a thing of beauty, flying in on the wing off a faceoff and scooping a ground ball in traffic before driving the cage and dumping home an underhanded bouncer to make it an 8-1 game. 

Michael Marinello ’21, goalie, Belmont Hill / Fighting Clams / St. Lawrence

It was a solid rebound performance for Marinello after surrendering 14 goals to Deerfield on Saturday. Marinello was a huge part of Belmont’s 8-1 run to open the game, making several saves and long clearing passes which resulted in goals off of transition. Marinello’s best save of the day came late when the game was already in hand. With just over a minute to play and his team ahead by five, Marinello sprawled down and took a shot off the cup before clearing and allowing his offense to run out the clock. Sure, it was not the flashiest of saves, but the sheer willingness to wear a shot in an uncomfortable area even when the game is not on the line says a lot about Marinello’s devotion to his craft and team.

Tim Blue ’21, midfield, St. Sebastian’s / Laxachusetts / Skidmore

Blue’s shooting ability and power were put on full display during the Arrows comeback attempt. Blue’s first goal was a perfect bouncer on the run off a feed from Aidan Maguire to make it 8-6 late in the first half. His second came late in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 9-7, lowering his shoulder and initiating contact to bull dodge his defender before firing home a another bouncer down low. The bounce shot isn’t the flashiest of plays but it works and when you’re playing Belmont Hill, you do what works. 

Jack Rideout ’22, faceoff, St. Sebastian’s / Laxachusetts / Michigan – NLF No. 26 ’22

Rideout took a big shot from Grant Litchfield early but remained in the game and didn’t miss a single face-off, going 17-of-25 on the day. It was not the result that Rideout and his teammates had hoped for on Wednesday, but the Michigan commit put his toughness on full display. He’s without a doubt the top face-off guy returning in the ISL next spring. 

fast hands, pushes the pace after he wins, made good decisions

Belmont Hill 13, St. Sebastian’s 8

Belmont Hill 6 2 2 4 – 13
St. Sebastian’s 1 5 2 0 – 8

Belmont Hill 

’22 Liam Horkan 4 goals, 1 assist
’22 Adam Figler 3 goals, 2 assists
’22 Braden Reilly 2 goals, 1 assist
’21 Brooks Rayment (Laxachusetts) 1 goal, 1 assist
’22 Charlie Cave (Brown) 1 goal, 1 assist
’21 Trey Brown (Laxachusetts / Boston U) 1 goal
’23 Eli Goldstein (Laxachusetts) 1 goal
’22 Ethan O’Neill (Laxachusetts) 1 assist
’22 Connor Monahan (Laxachusetts) 1 assist
’21 Michael Marinello (St. Lawrence) 16 saves

St. Sebastian’s

’22 Aidan Maguire (Laxachusetts / Duke / NLF No. 19 ’22) 3 goals, 2 assists
’21 Tim Blue (Laxachusetts / Skidmore) 2 goals
’22 Tim Browne (Laxachusetts) 1 goal, 1 assist
’22 PJ McKeigue (Laxachusetts / Penn) 1 goal
’21 Tommy Armstrong (Laxachusetts/ Bucknell) 1 goal
’21 Ted Harrington 1 assist
’21 Sam Frisoli 1 assist
’23 Ryan Williamson 8 saves
’22 Jack Rideout (Laxachusetts / Michigan / NLF No. 26 ’22) 17-of-25 faceoffs

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