May 8, 2013

Prep Journal: Perfect league record within reach for Saints

By Mike Zhe

Noah Rak (left) and the Saints could finish the year with a perfect record in league play if they can defeat St. Luke's on Wednesday. (Photo: Mark Vanasse)

As we go deeper into spring, the boys lacrosse team at Canterbury School is treating its season like a checklist that just keeps getting marked.

Last month, the Saints defeated two-time defending New England West Division 2 champion Millbrook, 10-7, for the first time since 2008, with Eric Fernandes and Luke Habich scoring three goals apiece.

On the following Saturday, they got hat tricks from Fernandes, Habich and Sam Morini and handed league rival Gunnery its first loss of the season, 14-11.

Now, if the Saints (11-2) can get past St. Luke’s on Wednesday, they’ll finish league play undefeated and earn the right to host the league’s four-team postseason tournament.

“I think our defense, with the exception of the last couple games, has done a nice job,” said 10th-year coach Chris Roberts. “Not one of the four (defenders) that play started last year.”

The known quantities coming into the year were located either behind the ‘D’ – junior goalie Casey Fuller boasts a .670 save percentage in his second year as the starter -- or in front of it. But senior Steve Oldakowski has led a unit that’s allowed double-digit goals just twice.

The Western New England University-bound Fernandes (41 goals, 11 assists, 52 points) leads the team in scoring and Habich, who’s committed to Robert Morris is at 29-17-46. Senior midfielder Mike Urquhart is headed to Holy Cross in the fall.

Another junior, Noah Rak, is Mr. Versatility. He leads the team in ground balls (about 18 a game), has won 79 percent of his face-offs and is the third-leading scorer at 17-19-36. In Saturday’s 10-8 win at Williston-Northampton, he won 18 of 21 face-offs, with that edge in possession going a long way toward determining the outcome.

After Wednesday’s league finale against St. Luke’s, the Saints wrap up the regular season against Portsmouth Abbey and Berkshire. Winning any of those games would give them 12 wins, which would be the most for the team in Roberts’ decade as the head coach.

The New England West Division 2 tournament will be held May 20 and 22 at the home of the first-place team.

Game of the Week

Governor’s at St. Sebastian’s, Saturday, 2 p.m.

This might be the best remaining chance for an ISL team to pin a loss on unbeaten Gov’s, and the Arrows are playing their best lax of the spring.

New England power rankings

To see Mike's thoughts on the top 20 prep teams in New England, head to our Prep School Power Rankings page.

Twitter: @MikeZhe603