There are maybe one or two schools around the country that can lay claim to having a better senior class than St. Anthony’s.
The Friars are loaded to the gills in the 2023 class. The list of schools to which their senior are committed is, for lack of a better word, ridiculous. North Carolina, Harvard, Michigan, Penn State, Johns Hopkins, Navy. You get the picture.
So when the previous NLF No. 1 Friars lost to Haverford School by a goal last Saturday, you just knew that they’d have something in store for the last game of their seniors’ careers. A date with rival Chaminade for the CHSAA Class AAA title was the perfect time to showcase themselves, too.
Never a doubt. Senior midfielder Jackson Greene (Team 91 LI / Harvard) pocketed four goals and added an assist and senior goalie Joey Rice (Team 91 LI / Stony Brook) stopped 13 shots for a 17-11 St. Anthony’s win to cap its season.
“It’s awesome,” Greene said. “Every time against these guys, they’re so well-coached and they have great guys on that team, but to win with my brothers… I’m getting really emotional and I’m going to miss this.”
“I think this is the best rivalry in high school lacrosse,” five-star attackman Owen Duffy (Team 91 LI / North Carolina) said. “I think I’ve said that every year, but every time we’ve won, it’s just gotten that much more special. You kind of learn to appreciate it more. The energy and atmosphere in this game is unlike any other.”
St. Anthony’s, the NLF’s No. 2 team in the country, got off to a slow start when it fell behind 3-1 when Jack Flaherty (Team 91 LI / Navy) pocketed the first of his three goals to cap a three-goal run. True to form, though, the Friars never got fazed. They just started scoring… a lot. Luke Breslin (Team 91 LI / Lehigh) found Patrick Carragher (LI Express / Penn State) to stop the bleeding and to start an 8-1 run. Jack Speidell (Team 91 LI / Harvard), Greene and Breslin scored 48 seconds apart early in the third quarter, and from there, Chaminade couldn’t string together the run it needed to slow things down.
Part of it was that the Flyers paid so much attention to Duffy and Speidell – rightfully so, those guys combined for 124 points in only 14 games against a loaded schedule – that it opened things up for Greene and company up top. In the first quarter, Chaminade used its best player and defenseman in 2024 five-star Ben Fox to shut Duffy off. It worked in limiting Duffy, but eventually, the dam was going to break.
“Owen’s amazing and they were shutting him with a long pole,” Greene said. “Two shorties in a 5-on-5 created a lot of space. He does so much for us that goes unnoticed and my linemates were just amazing today. I’m going to miss them.”
All Eyes on 2024
So will St. Anthony’s, but it’s safe to say that the four-time defending CHSAA champs will be back for more. On the other side, Chaminade knows that it will have to go through the black and yellow wall to get to where it wants to be.
“Seeing them celebrate and taking their championship trophy did not feel good,” said Fox, the North Carolina commit and Team 91 LI product. “It’s something I got to see last year and I unfortunately had to see it again this year, and I think it’s going to drive our team as a whole.”
Chaminade vs. St. Anthony’s Standouts
It’s safe to say that Breslin announced his arrival as a potential star for St. Anthony’s in the last two games of the season. The future Mountain Hawk put up three goals and an assist in a loss to Haverford School, then upped it with two goals and three helpers against the Flyers. Playing lefty attack as a righty isn’t particularly easy, even when you’re riding shotgun next to Owen Duffy and Jack Speidell, but Breslin appears to have found his footing.
Breslin’s second goal of the game was textbook off-ball play, reading Duffy’s dodge up the hash and popping to a dead spot in coverage. He took a feed from the UNC-bound senior and wired it top shelf. Earlier in the game, the duo replicated that connection when Duffy found Breslin for a dunk that capped a three-goals-in-46-seconds span for the Friars. Traditionally an X attackman for Team 91, Breslin showed that he can work well off-ball, too. Of course, he can still feed the rock, and his prettiest pass was one where he set up Pat Carragher (LI Express / Penn State) on an off-ball cut in front. Expect Breslin to be the Friars’ No. 1 attackman next year.
You’re simply not going to keep Owen Duffy off the scoresheet in 2023, so set the expectations for any defenseman accordingly. All things considered, Fox did a very good job against his future Tar Heel teammate and in the overall scheme, even though the Friars’ explosive offense had itself a day. Fox was aggressive in coverage without overextending and also had at least three takeaways, showing a good stick to pull the ball off the carpet and get going.
You wouldn’t expect a 6-1, 200-pounder to move as well as he does in the open field, but he was pulling away from guys when he got the ball and ran upfield. When he graduates, the current junior will have been the best defensive player on the team for three straight years, a rarity for Chaminade.
The theory behind Chaminade’s defensive gameplan was good. The Flyers were intent on limiting the damage from the attack tandem of Duffy and Speidell, and rightfully so. What that did, though, was open up 1v1 matchups for Greene to exploit up top, and oh boy, did he ever exploit them.
The Harvard commit bagged four goals and an assist in his Friar finale. Greene torched the Flyers’ defense with his first step and shot on the run. He started the scoring with an alley rip, stuck an on-the-run corner shot in both the second and third quarter and then stuck one short-side in the final frame. It didn’t matter if a pole or a short-stick was on him. Greene couldn’t be stopped.
Greene’s biggest growth, though, has come on the other side of the field. He used to focus nearly all of his energy on creating offense. As a senior, he evolved into an excellent two-way threat who played great defense and showed a genuine desire to play on that end of the field. Couple that with a nice first step and that terrific on-the-run shot, and you’ve got an outstanding next-level prospect.
Joey Rice ’23, goalie, St. Anthony’s / Team 91 LI / Stony Brook
Rice and Sean Forde split the goaltending duties for the Friars throughout the year. The senior got the nod in the finale and came away with the best game of his career, stoning 13 shots and not ceding any weak goals. A tall, lanky goalie, Rice’s game has continued to improve to the point where he earned game MVP honors.
He made an early high-to-high stop that looked to give him a big confidence jolt. The Flyers got to him early for a 3-1 Chaminade lead but Rice settled down and helped St. Anthony’s put together an 8-1 run to take control of the game. Not bad for a guy who found out only two days before that he’d be getting the nod.
“I really appreciate the opportunity,” Rice said. “It was the last game of my career and I was going to make the best of it. I needed the win for my brothers and for everyone around me, and it’s a great feeling. I knew I needed to step up. It feels amazing. I’ve been playing with a bunch of these guys my whole life. It’s just great to win with them. They’re the best.”
Jack Tully ’24, midfield, Chaminade / LI Express
Like, so, so, so fast. Chaminade’s clear should basically be 10 punt return middle. Tully’s speed is a game-changer in the middle of the field and he also did a nice job of collecting a couple of ground balls on the faceoff wings. He can flip the field in a hurry with his explosiveness and projects to be a major asset for the Flyers’ transition game next spring. Tully shows the willingness to compete on the defensive end, too.
St. Anthony’s 17, Chaminade 11
Pat Flaherty ’24 (Team 91 LI / Navy) 3 goals, 1 assist
Brendan Reilly ’23 (Amherst) 3 goals, 1 assist
Gary Correa ’23 (LI Express / Stony Brook) 2 goals
Ryan Landolphi ’23 (Navy) 2 goals
Matthew Marchetta ’24 (LI Express) 1 goal
Gavin Creo ’23 (LI Express / Richmond) 3 assists
Connor Kuttin ’25 (LI Express) 1 assist
Jack Tully ’24 (LI Express) 1 assist
Phil Verdi ’23 (LI Express / Johns Hopkins) 8 saves
Jackson Greene ’23 (Team 91 LI / Harvard – NLF No. 72 ’24) 4 goals, 1 assist
Luke Breslin ’24 (Team 91 LI / Lehigh – NLF No. 83 ’24) 2 goals, 3 assists
Patrick Carragher ’23 (LI Express / Penn State) 2 goals, 1 assist
Jack Speidell ’23 (Team 91 LI / Harvard – NLF No. 40 ’23) 2 goals, 1 assist
Aidan Zuhoski ’23 2 goals
Owen Duffy ’23 (Team 91 LI / North Carolina – NLF No. 3 ’23) 1 goal, 2 assists
Jack Ponzio ’23 (Team 91 LI / Navy) 1 goal, 1 assist
Michael Moon ’24 (Team 91 LI / Brown) 1 goal
Colin Johnston ’23 (LI Express / Gettysburg) 1 goal
Kyle Bilello ’24 (LI Express / Brown – NLF No. 91 ’24) 1 goal
Michael Finnerty ’23 (LI Express / UMass) 1 assist
Cole Aasheim ’23 (LI Express / North Carolina – NLF No. 47 ’23) 1 assist
Joey Rice ’23 (Team 91 LI / Stony Brook) 13 saves