Massachusetts Boys Division 1 Poll
|3||St. John's Prep||4||15||5||4|
|7||St. John's (S)||10||15||8||3|
Aside from staunch fans and those associated with the program, does anyone remember that Catholic Conference champion No. 1 BC High exited December with a 1-3-1 record after having scored just six goals?
Didn’t think so.
The Eagles lost once the rest of the way, an early February blip against No. 17 St. Mary’s (L), and earned the program’s fifth Division 1A championship in a dramatic 2-1 OT win against Pope Francis, a game which BCH trailed after 44 minutes of regulation. Nine graduate but many who played prominent roles in this year’s success are eligible to return for coach John Flaherty.
No. 2 Pope Francis had a remarkable season, grabbing 44 of 50 available points against teams not named BC High. However the Catholic West champion Cardinals were 0-3-1 against the Eagles, including the crushing 1A loss in which they led until 52 seconds remained in regulation. A half-dozen seniors graduate but many of the key cogs in the division’s highest-scoring offense (124 goals) could return for coach Brian Foley.
No. 3 St. John’s Prep, runner-up to BC High in the Catholic Conference, combined grit, sound team defense, and skilled young forwards to play its way into the 1A Final Four, where it split four games. Following a mid-January lull, SJP closed the regular season on a 7-0-3 roll. Eleven seniors, including the heart of the defense, graduate but all of the leading scorers among forwards could return for coach Kris Hanson.
As the season progressed, Independent No. 4 Hingham just kept getting better. From mid-January until the end of the regular season, the Harbormen were 8-1-2 with the only loss to BC High. They played their way to a 1A automatic berth, winning their first two games before running out of steam. Coach Tony Messina and his staff will have to recalibrate next winter as nine seniors graduate.
There was an awful lot to like about No. 5 Central Catholic’s season. The MVC/DCL One champion Raiders led the division in wins (22) and fewest goals allowed (19). However, that first-ever State Championship eluded the 1A Tournament’s top seed as the offense scored one goal in back-to-back losses to Hingham and Pope Francis. As many as 16 players – including five of the top six forwards – could be back for coach Kim Brandvold.
En route to winning its first D1 State Championship since 2002, No. 6 Waltham was the only team to defeat Central Catholic in the regular season, 1-0, in early February. That win gave the Hawks confidence to play with any team and it showed in their 6-0 North Sectional championship win against No. 12 Winchester and their 4-1 State title decision of Marshfield. The senior-heavy team will graduate 11, providing a challenge for coach John Maguire and his staff.
No. 7 St. John’s (S) enjoyed a terrific turnaround season under coach Mike Mead, ending a three-year post-season drought and qualifying for the 1A for the first time since 2012.
No. 8 Burlington claimed another Middlesex League’s Freedom Division title to earn a 1A berth, coming up just short in losses to SJP and Pope Francis. Several key offensive players are among 10 seniors Coach Bob Conceison must replace.
No. 9 Andover played through the disruption of its coaching staff being suspended during the investigation of unwarranted charges against them to earn an automatic 1A berth. Coach Chris Kuchar will have to replace 10 next year.
No. 10 Marshfield surged to a 4-1-2 regular-season finish, then rattled off four wins to claim the South Sectional, capped by a 1-0 OT decision of No. 14 Braintree. Several top offensive players could return for coach Dan Connolly.