2017 GEICO High School Lacrosse Nationals, Day 1, Game 3

By Christopher Lawlor

WASHINGTON – It was the Parker Joyce and John Piatelli show for a rollicking Sunday afternoon matinee.

The St. Sebastian’s School (Needham, Mass.) senior duo is teammates for the remainder of the tournament here but next will part ways for different Ivy League institutions. For now the Saints just thrilled they are still plying their trade in a Red and Black uniform.

The lethal combination netted nine goals, teaming for six between them, and 10 assists as the third-seeded Arrows trounced St. Anne’s-Belfield (Charlottesville, Va.), 21-8, in the opening round of the inaugural GEICO High School Lacrosse Nationals at Catholic University’s Cardinal Stadium.

The Arrows (17-2) will take on No. 2 The Hill Academy (Ontario) or The Lawrenceville (N.J.) School in the semifinals Monday at 9 p.m. EDT on ESPN3.

St. Sebastian’s freelance, improvisational offense was in full gear. Joyce, who is headed to Dartmouth in the fall, cranked in seven goals and a trio of helpers, while Piatelli, a Harvard recruit, added seven assists and two markers.

“John [Piatelli] is the kind of guy who leads by example; he’s a quiet guy but is the last one to leave practice because he wants to get up shots,” St. Sebastian’s head coach Adam White said. “And if you can believe it, Parker [Joyce] is even quieter. Both are great leaders and the younger players see the way they have developed chemistry for four years, but especially starting last year.”

The seniors did their talking with their play on the field.

The Arrows held a huge advantage in shots, 49-29, and groundballs, 40-28.

Mikey Connolly added a hat trick and Brian Piatelli ad Matthew DeSisto each had two goals; and Michael Swirtbalus had two assists in the win. Goalies Alex Gainey (eight saves), Mac Fotiades (five) and Nicholas Connelly cobbled 13 saves.

“We’re an unselfish team; this is a pretty special crew,” White said.

St. Sebastian’s, which led 18-8 after three quarters, netted three in the fourth.

“We struggled all game with their transition,” STAB head coach Bo Perriello said. “They generated offense from groundballs and winning faceoffs.”

Whenever the Saints (17-5) inched closer, the Arrows found a way to pick up the pace, usually scoring in gobs. With St. Sebastian’s leading 13-6 at intermission, Jack Schultz dropped the deficit to six goals after 14 seconds of the third.

Joyce and Peter Murphy provided Arrow goals after that and suddenly it was 15-8 at the 5:48 mark. The Saints attempted to slow down the fast moving Arrows but were running of time and possession.

Just as STAB tried to make a game of it midway through the second quarter via a Savraj Moore goal, St. Sebastian’s roared back for an 11-5 lead with three quick goals.

Once again Joyce scored from Piatelli at 5:26 and then John Piatelli did the honors just 90 seconds later. Then long-stick middie Eric Jeremiah added the 11th goal for the Arrows before Emmett Barger responded. Barger stopped the Arrows’ run at 2:42 when the STAB middie clicked from close range.

Yet the Arrows added two late markers Mikey Connolly tallied at 2:09 and Brian Piatelli found the back of the net with 10 seconds left for a 13-6 halftime lead.

St. Sebastian’s dominated the groundballs, 28-19, connected on 13 of 31 shots on target and won 14 of 20 faceoffs (70%). Joyce and John Piatelli teamed for six goals and sevens in the opening 24 minutes.

The Arrows flexed the muscle in the opening period pumping in six goals for a decisive 6-1 advantage. In just under three minutes, the Arrows were in tune as Parker Joyce had a hand in both goals. First, he ripped a shot at 10:30 and then added an assist on John Piatelli’s marker.

STAB halved the lead at 9:36 when Jack Schultze scored. The Arrows closed out the period with four straight.

Pennsylvania-bound Schultz fired in a hat trick, Duke-bound Joe Robertson had two goals and an assist, while Connor Shellenberger, Michael DiGiacomo and Barger added one apiece for STAB. Goalies Jeff Perkins (10 saves) and Mitch Stamp (two) totaled 12 saves.

The Arrows were playing the game with heavy hearts after the recent passing of junior attackman Peter Pickard’s mother, Susan, from breast cancer. The team wore pink t-shirts under their white game jerseys. Earlier this month in a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Awareness, Pickard and his St. Sebastian teammates raised over $60,000 for the cause.

“We’re proud to wear the pink,” White said. “We’ll also honor the memory of Susan Pickard by playing hard.”