Astros end South’s season, Holland’s Panther career

DERRY – The reality didn’t hit Nashua High School South boys lacrosse senior Sean Holland until late in the Panthers’ 17-7 Division I quarterfinal loss at the hands of powerful second seed Pinkerton Academy.

He realized then that this game would be his last athletic event as a Panther.

“Probably when I scored,” Holland, who will move on to Fordham University in the fall. “In the fourth. It’s pretty hard, but I really enjoyed (his career). It was great fun.”

“Today was sad,” South lacrosse coach Bill Monsen, who also was quarterback Holland’s offensive coach in football, said. “I kind of got choked up there at the end.”

But the unofficial end for South came quickly Pinkerton’s Chris Valentine scored twice less than two minutes in, and the No. 2 Astros were up 6-0 after the first quarter and 14-1 at the half. South didn’t score until Joe Bodi converted a feed from Drew Fleury with 54.9 seconds left in the second quarter.

“I thought we played very well, we did exactly what we wanted to do in the first half,” said Pinkerton coach Brian O’Reilly, whose 17-2 team now moves on to Tuesday’s semifinals in Exeter. “Spin the ball, move it quick, attack them quickly. Defensively we had a couple of schemes we wanted to work on and they worked out very well.

Alex (Sturgess) was Alex in goal (five saves) and Gennaro (Marra) just pretty much wins every faceoff.”

“Their faceoff guy is the real deal, and he took it to us,” Monsen said. “Their goalie is the best in the state and he was fantastic.”

Holland got his goal, while Bodi led Nashua with a pair. Others were by Fleury (plus two assists), Devin Linscott, Tyler Bernard and Jaden Murphy. Nate Radin had 14 stops in goal. Teresky led PA with four goals, while Ryan Auger had two plus five assists to pace the Astros. Valentine, Tom Sweeney and Owen McCormack each had a pair.

Seventh-seeded South (9-9) got a taste of what life is like withouth Holland early in the season when he was injured and they got off to a 1-6 start. They then won eight of their last 10, but that start put them in a lower seed where they would have to face the powers (Pinkerton or Bishop Guertin) in the quarters.

“Losing Sean offensively was huge, and leadership wise was huge, but kids had to learn to step up,” Monsen said. “Not just talk the talk but walk it.”

And now they walk on without Holland, as well as other seniors.

“Sean’s one in a million,” Monsen said. “I’ve never coached anybody like him. He’s a special kid. We’re going to miss him, but it was a privilege to be able to coach him.”