2024 Champ Series Boston Cannons vs  Philly Waterdogs 2/19 Championship

Matt Kavanagh comes in clutch to win the 2024 Championship Series in overtime for the Boston Cannons

By Sarah Griffin | Feb 26, 2024

With the bright lights on him, Marcus Holman could’ve taken his chance at the net in overtime. But he didn’t.

“I thought about shooting. I’m glad I didn’t,” he laughed. 

It was only minutes before Marcus’s shot at the game-winner was stuffed by Matt DeLuca with the save of the tournament. With the ball back in his stick again and the shot clock ticking away, he had to act quick. But when the most clutch player in lacrosse history is wide open looking for his chance, how do you not give him the ball?

In the grand finale of the Championship Series, it was only fitting Matt Kavanagh called game in overtime for the Boston Cannons. From Notre Dame, to the Denver Outlaws, now to the Championship Series, they don’t call him “the King of Clutch” for nothing. 

“You want to find your opportunity to make a cut,” explained Kavanagh.

“Marcus picked up that rebound and I thought he was going to shoot, and then pulled it out behind and a lot of the attention was on him, and I saw Ryan Conrad sink a little bit lower, DeLuca’s body was turned, and I just made that cut to the back of his head. That’s just drills that we do - back to the basics.” 

“He’s done it a million times before. He’s the most clutch player probably in the history of lacrosse, straight up,” said Marcus.

Kavanagh’s been one of the guiding veteran voices on this Cannons team since he was traded from the Redwoods in November 2022. After four years in green and yellow, Kavanagh would be dawning new colors for the first time in his PLL career. 

But initially, the veteran attackman didn’t even know where he fit in on the Cannons roster. Shortly after the trade, Cannons head coach Sean Quirk resigned. After a 1-9 season missing the playoffs in 2022, Kavanagh didn’t see much of a direction for himself with his new club.

“I just really didn’t know where my spot was.”

It wasn’t until a two-hour conversation with newly-hired head coach and general manager Brian Holman did Kavanagh find the fire within him to revive the player and competitor we all know him to be. 

“We discussed his vision for the team, and for me, and it re-lit a fire inside me,” he said. “I’m really lucky to play for a coach like him.”

Kavanagh’s sentiments for his coach and the culture he’s instilled in their team has been echoed by his players all week. It wasn’t even a year ago Brian made his first appearance as the Cannons’ head coach at last year’s Championship Series, telling the media at this time next year, they’d be in the tournament.

“I think some people thought of it as a far-fetched idea after finishing last in the league, and here we are,” said Marcus in Wednesday’s pregame press conference of his father’s then-bold declaration.

Certainly, Brian exceeded all expectations in his first season with the Cannons.

On the field, he revived a team from a 1-9 record in 2022, to 7-3 only a year later. The Cannons ranked number one in the league in offense and secured the second overall seed in pursuit of the 2023 PLL Championship. 

While it was a heartbreaker on Long Island in the semifinals last September as the Cannons’ season ended at the hands of the Waterdogs, there’s no doubt in their locker room they’ll be back next year. “Cannons culture” as Brian and his team call it runs strong. 

And now, here they are. Not just at the Championship Series as Brian promised a year ago. Now, the Boston Cannons are the 2024 Championship Series winners. 

“That’s the best part of being a professional athlete,” said Kavanagh. “Playing in those tight games and in those clutch moments.”