Massachusetts: Lincoln-Sudbury Rolling After Cruising Past St. John's Prep
3d Rising made its way up to Massachusetts this week as part of our effort to see as many different teams as possible and to see some good friends along the way as the high school season reaches its boiling point in many of the northeastern states.
The first stop Monday night was in Danvers, just north of Boston, where powerhouse Lincoln-Sudbury paid a visit to St. John's Prep. The reigning Massachusetts state champion, the Warriors have been atop the Rising State-by-State Rankings for most of the past two years and Lincoln-Sudbury has become a machine this year, yet to be defeated in state and now sitting at 14-2.
We caught the matchup with St. John's Prep, a young team this season, and the Warriors had no problem getting out early and running to a 16-1 lead behind a balanced offensive attack, which was led by Hobart-bound senior attackman Eric Holden's seven-point night. Defensively, Lincoln-Sudbury was stingy all game and limited the Eagles' chances and shots on the goal, able to get subs in by the third quarter.
We spoke with Lincoln-Sudbury head coach Brian Vona after the game, and we asked him about what he's done to build the Warriors' program, what's been going right the last couple seasons and more. You can see that interview below. Be sure to check out the photos from the game above, and below, read about a few of the players who stood out the most in this one.
Eric Holden, Attack, Lincoln-Sudbury, Sr. - Hobart
Holden showed himself to be a dangerous, skilled righty attackman who can be a nightmare matchup because of his low center of gravity, excellent hands and incredible shooting abilitlies. The short, but athletic and slippery attackman can protect the stick consistently and dodges with toughness, able to put the stick back to one-hand and maintain control. He used his shoulder, kept his head up and used his strong wrists to push the ball to cutting middies. He sees the field, but senses when he had the chance to go. His footwork also stands out, as he uses quick chops, stutters, subtle rockers and fakes with his body to get himself more space on each movement he makes. He led the way with three goals and four assists. His first goal was a ridiculous shot from nearly no angle, streaking outside of the left hash marks, with a pull back and finish with his off hand that hit inside the far post. His second came when he had time to set his feet and snapped his low-to-high blast and nearly lifted the cage off the ground by pounding it into the top shelf. His last came when he lost most of his angle, but somehow stopped his feet before he got too low, somehow pulled back for a little bit of room, and again just snapped a laser into the nearside top corner -- it was his third head-turning goal of the game. An excellent quarterback, his four assists came as he would bang into his defender and keep his hands free to put the ball on the money inside to teammates or up high for step-downs. His best feed came from GLE, near the cage, as he spun off his man, took a hop backward and in the same motion threw a touch lever pass to a teammate just a couple yards away for a layup one-timer. He used the lever pass and other tricky skills to get off his shots and feeds. He also rode like a maniac and created at least two turnovers for his team. Holden literally displayed a whole book of skills that must have his future college coaches fired up.
Connor McCarthy, Midfield, Lincoln-Sudbury, Sr. - Princeton
McCarthy shined in Lincoln-Sudbury's win over St. John's Prep as a Division I-ready midfielder with size, skill and a willingness to share the ball and to do work on the defensive end of the field and in the middle of the field. Standing at least 6-foot-2, McCarthy can dodge really hard from north to south. He's got strong legs, can run through sticks and contact and gets his hands free quickly. In transition, he was a force. His big size and reach allowed him to do just about whatever he wanted, doding through the ride and outrunning people. He helped get things going early for Lincoln-Sudbury by leading a break and, as the slide came to him, threw a perfect lever pass inside for an assist. It wasn't the first play he sparked while running short-stick. His size, strength and ability to hammer out on the ball carrier helps him be a tough defender up top and helped put the ball on the ground and lead it up the field on a number of plays. His full-field speed makes him a threat immediately leading the break. His first goal showed off his hands -- he took a pass on the door step with barely any room to accept it and pulled back to stick it in the top right. His second goal was an easy dodge down the middle of the field. He finished with four assists, one of those coming on a drive down the right alley and a perfect pop pass inside. The righty is one of the players to watch for Lincoln-Sudbury.
Harlan Smart, Midfield, Lincoln-Sudbury, Sr. - Dartmouth
Smart represented the other half of the Warriors' scary midfield duo, also standing upward of 6-foot-2, but also showing some great quickness to set up his dodges. Smart's got a really quick first step, a hard shot and great legs to be a challenging matchup. His lone goal was a simple one and got the Warriors going early -- he just shook to his right, got down the alley with enough space to get his hands back fast for a shot to beat the goalie high. He really showed the ability to split and draw a slide. He's got a hard accurate shot and he consistently showed the ability to dodge, draw a slide and make a pass to where the slide came from. He got himself to great shooting spots numerous times, but a few of his shots saw good saves from the opposing goalie. Smart was still a major factor for the Warriors with his ability to initiate and press transition with his speed.
Caleb Geitz, LSM/Defense, Lincoln-Sudbury, Sr. - Bowdoin
Geitz was one of seveal impressive long poles for the Warriors. He is a blue collar-style defender who is in the fight on every groundball, can take face offs, has a motor and gets his stick into the play defensively to turn the ball over. He was all over the place throughout the game and even helped out on the draws, winning a couple. He was a part of the reason the St. John's midfield struggled to get quality looks at all in this game. The timing on his checks and his sense for the field helped him be a factor throughout the contest.
Daniel Ryan, Defense, Lincoln-Sudbury, Jr.
Ryan was busy against St. John's in coming up with a bunch of caused turnovers and groundballs. He's got an athletic build and excellent control over the stick, coming up with the ball quickly as it squirted loose near the crease a couple times. He was aggressive to push transition and sprinted through a number of defenders to get off a great overhand shot, but the opposing goalie made a terrific save. Ryan was locked in one-on-one, and his matchup never got a quality look at the cage. He's got a balance to his build and to his play, and he was highly effective for the Warriors in the one-sided victory.
Trevor van Leer, Goalie, Lincoln-Sudbury, Jr.
In some ways, van Leer looked like a clone of Brett Queener -- small, but athletic and physically tough; directive and loud, energetic and showing incredible reflexes. He was working like a maniac in warmups and even at halftime, taking full-speed overhand shots from teammates standing just feet away. He was explosive out of the cage and seemed to be a general of his defense; you could see the players were listening to his orders and it was working. van Leer allowed only one goal, and it was a transition opportunity that no one would have saved. He was oustanding against St. John's, turning in a half dozen saves before being relieved. He ate up the Eagles' few quality shots that came by way of transition or the extra-man. van Leer is without question an important emotional leader for this team and a big part of its success this season (and last).
Brendan O'Brien, Defense, St. John's Prep, Soph.
O'Brien was a standout for the Eagles in a tough matchup against a powerful Lincoln-Sudbury team that went hard from start to finish. But O'Brien showed excellent skill with the long pole as a young defender who had a challenging matchup the whole game. He played effective position defense by putting his body into good angles against some of the shifty Warriors attckman. He had a couple of caused turnovers on the ball, and had some bright moments off the ground, showing slickness to grab a ball and spin out of pressure. He was St. John's most noticeable player when the ball was on the ground. O'Brien sent passes up the field with accuracy even when on the run.
Devin McCabe, Goalie, St. John's Prep, Soph.
McCabe, who shined in front of us during the off-season, turned in a solid performance against Lincoln-Sudbury. He finished the day with ten saves and showed the ability to track fast shots from the release point to his hands. He stopped upward of half of his shots with the head of his stick or his hands, meeting the ball from some of the most talented shooters on the Warriors' roster, including some high heat from some of the biggest, most powerful shooters. He also stoned the Warriors in transition on a couple low shots that were placed well, but he was quick to get down to meet them. One of his best saves came as he sprawled to get a foot on a hard overhand shot coming at him from a streaking Lincoln-Sudbury long pole in transition. McCabe was also tough to shake off a couple shots to his body that had to leave some marks. He's got a bright future.