Follow the NLF on InstagramTwitter, YouTube and Facebook.

There’s been a common theme in recent years at St. Anthony’s.

The Friars’ list of standout offensive alums stands alone at the top of the best in the country. Pro standouts like Tom Schreiber, Mike Chanenchuk and Will Manny, among others, have shined for the Friars. Current college elites like reigning Tewaaraton winner Brennan O’Neill and Andrew McAdorey are among the best players in the country. North Carolina‘s Owen Duffy‘s been as productive as any college freshman this year.

This year, though, things are different for St. Anthony’s. The Friars still have plenty of offensive firepower. That’ll never change. But the 2024 Friars are also as good as anyone in the country on the other side of the ball. Chaminade, their biggest rival, can attest to that after St. Anthony’s held the Flyers scoreless en route to a 12-6 win Wednesday.


Dynamic Defense

Senior standouts Dante Vardaro (Team 91 Long Island / Penn) and Tommy Snyder (Long Island Express / Virginia) led the charge for the Friars. Vardaro’s in the midst of his lone varsity season after tearing his ACL as a junior. The 6-2, 195-pounder was lights-out, part of a mean, aggressive crew that completely dominated the second half after going into the half knotted at six. Vardaro’s mobility is as good as it’s ever been. The St. Anthony’s all-state linebacker can overpower most attackmen with his frame and toughness, but he looks like he can turn and run with anyone right now.

“First half, it’s a Chaminade game. It’s a rivalry. There are a lot of jitters. We have a lot of young players. Guys who, including myself, didn’t play last year,” Vardaro said. “A lot of nerves on the field, and coming into halftime, we realized that we have this. There were easy fixes and got the nerves out at halftime and we were perfect from there on out.”

Tyler Shanahan (Sacred Heart) and Michael Kelton (LI Express / Army) both get runs alongside Snyder and Vardaro on close defense. Keith Wieczorek‘s LSM depth chart is something out of a video game. Five-star junior North Carolina commit Parker McDonald (Team 91 LI) and five-star sophomore Ethan Bramoff (LI Express) alternate runs. Kyle Bilello (LI Express / Brown) is a do-it-all midfielder who excels on defense. Sophomore SSDM Jake Johnston is as good as it gets at the position in the 2026 class.

Suffocating Second Half

Together, they overwhelmed the Flyers’ offense in the second half. Connor Kuttin (LI Express / Johns Hopkins) tallied a hat trick in the first half, while Hunter Kimball (Team 91 LI)Quinn Ball (LI Express / Penn) and Jack Tully (LI Express / Bucknell) also scored for Chaminade. In the second half, though, it was all Friars, all the time. There aren’t many, if any better, atmospheres in high school lacrosse than Friars vs. Flyers at Chaminade, and the intensity was through the roof throughout.

“Those were some of the biggest scrums I’ve ever seen and we just fought hard and got ground balls,” Bramoff said. “I’ve never played with a team that’s fought for ground balls as hard as that. (This game) was everything I’d hoped and dreamed of. Everything I’ve been hoping for for the last five years that this rivalry would be, that’s what it was.”

As it turns out, the Friars can still score goals, too. Quinn Langton (LI Express / Army) scored the game-winner early in the third quarter by finishing off a gorgeous Luke Aasheim (Bryant) feed on the crease. Luke Breslin (Team 91 LI / Lehigh) then took over, rattling off of a natural hat trick in 1:27 that put the Flyers’ upset bid to bed.

“I went into halftime realizing that I needed to make an impact in order for us to get a lead,” Breslin said. “We came out and I scored three straight and I think that really set the tone for the rest of the half. I think our defense and (faceoff midfielder Michael) Moon (Team 91 LI / Brown) stepped up bigtime in the second half.

Breslin’s hat trick showed the X attackman’s touch around the cage. He crushed a switch on the first one, easily taking it to the rack. His next two came on dodges from X where he finished in tight, one lefty and one righty. The Lehigh signee continues to entrench himself as the Friars’ top scoring threat.

Flyers Eye a Rematch

Chaminade had every reason to believe it could take down its rival after the first half. Sal Caputo (Team 91 LI / Iona) continued his terrific senior season with a dozen saves, including a pair of 1v1 saves in tight. The Flyers’ issues in the clearing and faceoff games, as well as failing to maintain long possessions, meant that they played a lot of defense. That usually means impending doom against a team as good as St. Anthony’s.

“We played a LOT of defense and I think we responded well,” Chaminade senior defenseman Ben Fox (Team 91 LI / North Carolina) said. “We just have to start training harder. They were more well-conditioned and to stay in a good game like that, we have to keep going hard throughout the whole game. We came out strong, but we have to keep that energy throughout. We can take everything away from this game, because we started out strong and then tapered off. You can look at the good things that worked and then the bad things, … and then just attack where we’re weak.”

“They had the ball a lot in the second half, so when we got the ball, we kind of forced shots,” Kuttin said. “We weren’t playing with the same energy we had in the first half. I think that’s what we have to work on as a team is getting better for four quarters and finishing the game.”

St. Anthony’s vs. Chaminade Standouts

Ethan Bramoff ’26, LSM, St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) / Long Island Express

A mainstay in recent – and future – NLFRankings coverage, Bramoff was in the thick of things all day for the Friars. Before the game, he confidently predicted that he’d find the back of the net. True to his word, the recently-named five-star prospect got to work. He and fellow five-star LSM Parker McDonald (Team 91 LI / North Carolina) doubled a midfielder out of a timeout.

Bramoff connected with a thunderous check, grabbed the ground ball, raced the other way and snapped home a bouncer. It was the start of three straight goals from the Friars’ rope unit after SSDM Jake Johnston (LI Express) and faceoff man Michael Moon (Team 91 LI / Brown) also scored, all within four minutes of each other.

Bramoff throws checks to inflict pain. A well-built defender, he’s more than capable of covering, and you really have to guard your stick anytime you’re around him. He also once again made picking up ground balls look effortless.

Sal Caputo ’24, goalie, Chaminade (N.Y.) / Team 91 Long Island – Iona 

Caputo has been rock-solid for the Flyers all season long in his lone campaign as Chaminade’s starter. He was up to the task again against the Friars, making a dozen saves, including a couple of 1v1 saves in tight. He’s not big, but Caputo is quick enough to offset that lack of size. He was excellent early on in helping Chaminade jump out to an early lead. Caputo was very good in the second half, too, making seven saves. He and the Flyers were simply done in by playing way too much defense in the final two quarters.

Ben Fox ’24, defense, Chaminade (N.Y.) / Team 91 Long Island – North Carolina

Fox and Luke Breslin locked up in an all-Team 91 battle. Breslin got three goals and the win, but only one really came on Fox. Fox decidedly won the first half of the game, using his power to latch on to Breslin to force him into low-quality chances. Once he gets his hands on his matchup, it’s over. Fox has committed himself to the weight room for so long, and his 6-2, 195-pound frame is tough to overcome. He got unlucky in the second half when he slapped the ball out of Breslin’s stick, only to have it bounce right back to the future Mountain Hawk for a goal. Fox’s 1v1 coverage is as good as any defenseman in the country.

Jake Johnston ’26, SSDM, St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) / Long Island Express 

What a spark plug Johnston is. He’s always been one of the best players on an excellent LI Express Channy 2026 team, but to be so good at doing it all at the varsity level as a sophomore is particularly impressive. He excels defensively, understanding team defensive concepts as well as he can match up with middies 1v1. Johnston is omnipresent around the ball. He also cashed in a huge juice goal for the Friars when he burned the Flyers on a transition effort. The Friars then won the next faceoff, on which Michael Moon scored, so consider as Johnston having an impact on a second goal, too.

Michael Moon ’24, faceoff midfield, St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) / Team 91 Long Island – Brown

Moon was a decisive victor in a battle that was expected to be around 50-50. He claimed 11 wins in 16 attempts and bagged a goal six seconds after Jake Johnston canned his. A second-year starter for the Friars, Moon looked comfortable in the big-game atmosphere. He won five of seven draws in the second quarter, which coincided with the St. Anthony’s offense starting to find its groove. A cerebral tactician with above-average stick skills for the position, Moon can push the pace if given the opportunity and he made smart decisions with the ball after his wins.

Connor Kuttin ’25, attack, Chaminade (N.Y.) / Long Island Express – Johns Hopkins

A junior and somehow the grizzled veteran of an attack line that also features two sophomore first-year starters in the LI Express duo of John Balsamo and James Gillis, Kuttin was an absolute force in the first half. The 5-7 future Blue Jay realized early that trying to dodge past 6-5 Tommy Snyder (LI Express / Virginia) wasn’t likely to yield great dividends. So he smartly did his damage by moving around and being an effective off-ball player. He blasted home a rebound for his first goal. Later, he took a nice throwback feed from Jack Tully (LI Express / Bucknell) for a gorgeous stepdown blast. He capped his hat trick by finishing off a Balsamo feed in transition off of a faceoff win. He’s clearly the emotional leader of the Flyers’ offense, and it’s no coincidence that the offense was at its best when Kuttin was at his best.