D-I boys lacrosse: La Salle beats Moses Brown, takes home 5th straight state title
By Bill Koch
Journal Sports WriterPosted Jun. 6, 2016 at 9:27 PM
PROVIDENCE — The unsettling proposition for the rest of the state’s boys lacrosse ranks?
This could have been the season La Salle Academy was vulnerable.
Starting just two seniors and graduating Duke-bound All-American Joe Manown, the Rams’ four-year R.I. Interscholastic League Division I title string seemed a difficult one to extend. Perennial powers like Moses Brown and Bishop Hendricken figured to provide the usual stiff opposition on the way to the season’s final weekend at Brown University.
That’s what made La Salle’s performance throughout 2016 all the more impressive, including Monday’s title matchup at Stevenson-Pincince Field. The Rams took home the crown yet again thanks to a thorough 7-1 victory over the Quakers, as La Salle led wire-to-wire and pitched a shutout over the final 40 minutes.
Drew Edwards claimed most valuable players honors thanks to his five goals and goalkeeper Nick DiMuccio was sharp when called upon, stopping seven of the eight shots he faced as the Rams cemented a top-30 national ranking with a perfect season.
“I don’t like to call it dominance,” La Salle coach Steve O’Donnell said. “I just think it’s an intended consequence of working hard. That’s the best way to describe it.”
Edwards needed just 17 seconds to put La Salle in front, and there was no late drama forthcoming like in last year’s 9-8 finals thriller against the Quakers. The Rams methodically added to their cushion with three more Edwards goals in the third quarter and possessed the ball enough in the fourth to prevent Moses Brown’s attackers from ever mounting a charge.
“They were playing me with a (short pole) and I usually have a long pole on me,” Edwards said. “My teammates did a great job finding me and I was able to find the net.”
La Salle (14-0) picked up right where it left off in a 20-2 semifinal win over Barrington, as Edwards raced down the middle and fired a shot past Moses Brown keeper Sam Alofsin just after the opening faceoff. The Quakers’ response after winning the ensuing faceoff was to go into a prolonged stall, holding the ball behind the Rams’ cage and earning some jeers from the capacity crowd that filled the bleachers.
Moses Brown’s fears proved justified after an eventual turnover, as Matt Manown sped the other way and doubled La Salle’s lead almost immediately at 4:14. Evan McGreen’s lefthanded rip from out high made it 3-0 and goals exchanged by Quakers’ attack Brit DeFeo and Edwards ushered in a combined 13:13 scoring drought into halftime.
“If they got ahead early and they just held the ball there was nothing we could do,” Edwards said. “Getting that lead made them go to the net and our (defense) is great, too.”Moses Brown (11-4) fell short against La Salle for the fourth time in five years despite a 17-9 semifinal rout of the Hawks. Eight underclassmen in the starting lineup should have the Quakers in strong position to reach the final again next season and take another crack at what is becoming the state’s lacrosse dynasty.
Manown and Mike Dignan — both midfielders — served as co-captains and join their fellow seniors among just the second graduating class to exit with four championships at the state’s top level. O’Donnell expects La Salle to reach the same heights next season, with another group of leaders already willing and able to step in.
“We have freshmen, sophomores and juniors now who will take the lead,” O’Donnell said. “We lose a lot of seniors, but we do every year. It’s just a program. It’s a great culture. I hope it stays this way forever.”
LA SALLE (7): Drew Edwards 5, Matt Manown, Evan McGreen; assists — Connor Severino, McGreen, Manown. MOSES BROWN (1): Brit DeFeo. Halftime — LSA, 4-1. Saves — Sam Alofsin, MB, 7; Aren Olsen, MB, 0; Nick DiMuccio, LSA, 7; Travis Pereira, LSA, 0.
BOLDIES Laura Severino’s son Connor is a member of the La Salle Lacrosse Team.
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