It was a fitting moment in one of the better defensive boys lacrosse championship performances seen in some time.
Chaminade goalie Andrew Bonafede patted the head of defender Dominic Speranza, who crouched down for a quick breather as the Flyers had the ball on offense, with less than four minutes remaining against rival St. Anthony’s on Friday.
Bonafede should probably give all of his defenders and defensive midfielders pats on the head after a superb defensive team effort against the highflying Friars. The senior goalie made 13 saves and was named game MVP as Chaminade defeated St. Anthony’s, 12-5, in the CHSAA intersectional boys lacrosse final at Mitchel Athletic Complex.
Chaminade (16-3) hosts Buffalo-St. Joseph’s for the state CHSAA championship on Tuesday. A big reason the Flyers’ season continues is because their tough ‘D’ held St. Anthony’s (16-5) to a season-low five goals. (The Friars also scored five in a season-opening loss at Yorktown on March 27.) St. Anthony’s entered Friday’s game with 275 goals in 20 games (13.75 average).
“Bonafede is always good, but he was great [today],” Chaminade coach Jack Moran said. “The defense was tremendous, too, limiting St. Anthony’s to low-quality shots.”
After Chaminade held a 6-2 halftime lead, St. Anthony’s tallied two of the first three goals of the second half capped by talented freshman Andrew McAdorey (two goals) as the Friars trailed 7-4 with 4:42 left in the third quarter.
But the Flyers responded with five straight goals — from the 3:31 mark of the third quarter and ended the run with 3:47 remaining in the fourth quarter on Patrick Kavanaugh’s second goal — as Chaminade led 12-4. Yale-bound Sean Kuttin led the Flyers with three goals. Aidan Byrnes added two goals and two assists, and Will Kusnierek had two goals in the win.
The two storied programs split earlier meetings. St. Anthony’s won, 12-8, on April 26. Chaminade defeated St. Anthony’s, 14-13, in a thrilling CHSAA AA title game just nine days ago. But the Friars couldn’t match the intensity of the Flyers’ defense, including Speranza, Anthony Tangredi, Jack Golden, Kevin Lynch, Roy Meyer and Matthew Ahearn (who has filled in for the injured Frank Marinello recently).
The final score, specifically St. Anthony’s total, is a significant number to Chaminade.
“Our motto is, ‘Keep it to 5,’ ” said Tangredi, who will attend Lehigh.
“It’s a challenge only allowing five goals,” added the Duke-bound Bonafede. ”But we try to push ourselves.”
Which could mean more head pats for Chaminade.