For Chaminade, it was a three-peat that was hardly a repeat.
Usually, when Chaminade faces St. Anthony's, in what is widely recognized as one of the best boys lacrosse rivalries in the country, not just Long Island, the games are close. In fact, the last four regular-season matchups were decided by one goal, including both this season.
"Seems like it's always one goal," Chaminade senior midfielder Jack Tigh said.
On April 15, Tigh scored with 6:04 left to give the Flyers an 11-10 victory.
On May 7, the Friars reversed the outcome when Eamon Campbell scored in overtime to give St. Anthony's a 9-8 triumph.
So when the teams played for the Class AAA Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA title, which also serves as a state championship in the large-school classification, on May 20, the result was shocking. Not because the Flyers won, but because they won by a count of 15-7.
The one-sided victory that produced the Flyers' third straight AAA crown left veteran coach Jack Moran shaking his head afterward. "The kids played awesome!" he exclaimed, and this time, the oft-overused word was an apt description.
Faceoff specialist Brendon Luu won 13 of 14 draws during the first half as Chaminade built a 10-3 lead that stunned the large crowd at Mitchel Athletic Complex. "This was the last game for our seniors and I wanted to make it special for them," said Luu, a junior, who wound up winning 21 of 26 faceoffs that night.
St. Anthony's contributed to its own demise with a two-minute, non-releasable penalty for a check to the head early in the second quarter. Chaminade capitalized with three goals for a 6-1 lead. The story line was clear: This was not going to be a one-goal game. "This is the most amazing feeling. It's my first championship," Luu said.
Tigh scored three goals with three assists in the title game and senior John Brennan also had a hat trick. "We knew it was the last time the seniors would play together and it's definitely special," said Tigh, who led the Flyers in scoring with 24 goals and 20 assists and will play lacrosse at Yale. "This one feels the best because it's my last game and because now I have three championships and my older brother Colin only had two."
Chaminade's balanced offense also featured Brennan (19 goals, 21 assists) and sniper Brendan Kearns (32 goals, 8 assists). Its stingy defense was led by Duke-bound Jack Fowler, Quintin Germain and Maryland-bound middie Tom O'Connell. In compiling a 13-4 record, the Flyers played their usually tough non-league schedule, including games against Massapequa, West Islip, Yorktown, Ward Melville, Greenwich and Delbarton.
But this season was typical in that it was all about those three games against St. Anthony's. The ending, however, was quite atypical.