Below are the official 2019 Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Jacob Alexander, Franklin
Hockomock League All Stars
Trevor Koppy, Attleboro
Brendan Albert, Canton
Griffin Roach, Canton
Thomas Vaughan, Canton
Patrick Stapleton, Foxboro
Brendan Tully, Foxboro
Will Davis, Franklin
Patrick Morrison, Franklin
Jacob Alexander, Franklin
Nitin Chaudhury, Franklin
Benjamin Kolb, Franklin
Will Harvey, Franklin
Jake Davis, Franklin
Matthew Lazzaro, Franklin
Wes Bishop, King Philip
Chris Longobardi, King Philip
Colin DeVellis, King Philip
Aidan Sacco, Mansfield
Ryan Hazard, Milford
Brett Labonte, North Attleboro
Andy DeMattio, North Attleboro
Shane Murphy, Oliver Ames
Shane Kilkelly, Oliver Ames
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – With the Sharon defense focusing in on junior Andy DeMattio and senior Damien Curtis out due to a first quarter injury, the North Attleboro boys lacrosse team needed someone else to step up.
Enter members of the Class of 2022.
Freshman Matt Antonetti scored a hat trick, including the game-tying goal with just over a minute to go, freshman Jared Vasher was solid at the face-off X, and freshman Connor Rupert scored the game-winning goal, his second, just over two minutes into the overtime period to give North Attleboro a 7-6 come-from-behind win over Sharon on Ray Beaupre Field.
North Attleboro trailed 6-4 entering the fourth quarter but pitched a shutout for the final 12 minutes of regulation, getting within one with 8:02 left in the game on Rupert’s first goal. The Rocketeers forced a turnover with 90 seconds to go and Antonetti used a nice individual effort to net the tying goal with 1:03 to go.
In overtime, Sharon freshman Ben Shocket won the opening face-off but North Attleboro coach Kevin Young elected to have pole Brett Labonte on the wing, and the junior defenseman came up with a big play by knocking the ball free and giving North Attleboro possession.
DeMattio (two goals) had his first shot saved by Sharon freshman goalie Adam Rabb (eight saves) but the rebound fell to North to keep possession. Rupert unleashed a shot from distance that was wide but DeMattio raced to get his stick in front to keep the ball.
Senior Nick Ward started behind the net and found Ruppert to his left. In one motion, the freshman caught the ball and continuously spun to his right, unleashing a tough sidearm shot that found its way in at the near post for the winner.
“We’re playing five freshmen right now, quite a bit,” Young said. “Early on, they were a little intimated but they are starting to come into their own. That #3 [Antonetti], that went around the net and scored, he’s a freshman. The faceoff kid [Vasher], just came up from JV, he’s a freshman. They are getting used to this level.
“The freshmen looked lights out in our scrimmages. But then they kind of got thrown off a little bit. It’s almost impossible for a 14-year-old to play an 18-year-old. When they get comfortable, and they start to get to the right places, they are getting better. I would have never thought that shot was going in but we’ll take it.”
Though Ruppert didn’t factor into the scoring on North Attleboro’s first goal of the fourth, he was the catalyst for it. He forced a turnover near midfield, raced up the field and found Ward, who found DeMattio for a low bounce shot to make it 6-5.
Sharon had its best chance of the quarter with just over four minutes to go. The Eagles came flying up in transition and senior Brandon Buckman ended up with a wide open bid right in front but North junior goalie Jake McNeany (eight saves) read it perfectly and blocked the low shot, robbing the Eagles of a goal.
The Eagles had possession with a one goal cushion with three minutes to go, and looked to play keep away but North Attleboro was able to force a turnover to get it back. Antonetti set up shop behind the net, eventually going to his right, backing down, spinning out left for a right-handed blast that made it 6-6 with 1:03 to play.
Sharon had strong starts to each half. The Eagles had a handful fo chances in the opening five minutes, with McNeany making a pair of strong saves on chances from senior Mitchell Director, and then turning away Buckman from in close. Senior Daniel Lillenfeld intercepted an attempted clear from the Rocketeers and sprinted up field, finding freshman Zack Waxman all alone and he made no mistake and buried his chance for a 1-0 lead, an advantage that lasted the entire quarter.
Antonetti pickpocketed Rabb and bounced an open shot into the net to tie the game 92 seconds into the second quarter, and DeMattio scored his first of the game just over the midway point on a tough angle shot to put North Attleboro ahead 2-1.
Buckman answered for the Eagles with a nice low shot from in close but North Attleboro sophomore Tyler Sarro, who had a very strong game defensively, made a terrific read, finding Antonetti with a long pass and the latter buried it to make it 3-2.
Sharon answered with a man-up goal with under a minute to go when Brady Daylor skipped one in to tie the game 3-3 heading into half.
The Eagles came out strong in the third quarter, using face-off wins from Shocket to ignite the offense. Sophomore Drew Litner connected with Buckman in front to put the Eagles ahead 16 seconds into the third.
Less than a minute later, on a man-up chance, Director ripped a bounce shot in the back of the net to put Sharon ahead 5-3.
North Attleboro capitalized on a two-minute locked in penalty on the Eagles with Ruppert pouncing on a rebound and tucking in the loose ball to get within one but Director added another tally for the Eagles off an assist from Litner with 1:29 left in third, but that would be the last goal of the game for Sharon.
“We have a solid defense, it’s just about eliminating mental mistakes,” Young said. “We had times where we’d switch off guys and they’d score a goal. We’d drop the ball on a clear and it’d lead to a chance for them. You have eliminate those. But I think our defense is very strong, it’s all guys back from last year.”
Sharon (2-4, 4-5) is on the road at Shrewsbury on Friday.
By HockomockSports.com Staff
2019 Hockomock League Boys Lacrosse Preview
2018 Record: 5-13
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Kevin Patton
The Bombardiers will boast a relatively young group in 2019 but are still ready to compete in a difficult Hockomock League.
With a total of 14 underclassmen – eight sophomores and six freshmen – there will certainly be learning curves and some ups and downs throughout the year, but those new faces are hungry to improve throughout the season.
Attleboro’s strong suit will be in net as Hockomock League All-Star Trevor Koppy, a captain for this year’s team, returns to the cage. Koppy is one of the most experienced netminders in the league and the Bombardiers will be relying on him for his play plus his leadership as a captain. Attleboro will also rely on the leadership on and off the field by junior captain Tom Shipman, who will be a key piece in the midfield.
Shipman will be joined by senior Zach Thomas and sophomores Michael Strachan and Aidan Diggin in the midfield. All four have plenty of varsity experience so Attleboro will certainly rely on them to guide the way as the younger players are incorporated into the lineup. Sophomore Matthew Perry returns up front while junior Jack Handy is back defensively.
The Bombardiers are hoping junior Bryson Friess and freshman Fred Wheaton will make an impact defensively while freshmen Keigan Conley and Jack Lamothe will bolster the attack. Freshman Ryan Betts will also be apart of the midfield unit this season.
We are a young team…but they’re all ready to contribute quality minutes,” said Attleboro coach Kevin Patton, who switched from the girl’s team to the boys this Spring. “With Trevor Koppy and Tommy Shipman, our captains, they are prepared to lead the team to the next level. I’m looking forward to the future of the program!”
2018 Record: 10-8
2018 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinals
Coach: Bill Bendell
After missing out on the playoffs in 2017, Canton put together a memorable 2018 campaign that ended in the D2 South Sectional Semifinals. The Bulldogs are looking to replicate that success and make another deep tournament run again this year.
And with a good amount of players back from last year’s squad, there is a lot of optimism that tournament run can happen. Senior Griffin Roach, a HockomockSports.com Second Team selection, will pace the offense again this year. Roach had 30 goals and 17 assists last year and his competitiveness is contagious to those around him. Roach will be joined by classmate Dan Cohen, a Hockomock League honorable mention selection. Cohen is a dangerous player, scoring 24 goals in the regular season last year.
David Allen, Chris Lavoie, Brendan Clifford, and Matt Martin are great athletes and capable scorers as well, while Tommy Vaughan will look to make an impact with his playmaking ability. On defense, the Bulldogs will turn to Brendan Albert and Nick Mackay, who head coach Bill Bendell called two of the most underrated players in the Hockomock League. Both possess a boatload of experience at the varsity level and will anchor the Bulldog defensive group. George Kent and James Murphy will also be apart of Canton’s defense while Shane Marshall, Sam Walsh, Jack Albert, and Carson Campbell will all see time and make key contributions this seasons, Bendell said.
Sophomore Dylan Coyne will take over in net for the Bulldogs and has had a strong preseason so far. Bendell believes Coyne is poised for a breakout year. Jeff Fitzgerald, Tommy Ghostlaw, and Mackay will all be in the running to handle faceoff duties.
“We are very excited about our offensive and defensive potential,” Bendell said. “Our varsity depth is not what we would like it to be at this point, but a few players have shown flashes of potential that make us think we will be much deeper come Memorial Day.”
2018 Record: 15-4
2018 Finish: Reached D2 Central/East Quarterfinal
Coach: Matt Noone
Foxboro will have a young squad with just five seniors this year but that doesn’t mean there will be a lack of experience from the defending Davenport division champions.
Senior Brendan Tully sets the example with his work ethic but is also one of the most dangerous players in the Hockomock League. A Providence College commit, Tully has tormented defenses for the past two seasons. He had 44 goals and 22 assists last year and will be one of Foxboro’s main weapons. Tully will be joined by Bobby Yerardi, who had over 40 points as a sophomore and has improved his game in the offseason. His ability to finish right or left makes life difficult for opponents.
The Warriors bring back junior Shayne Kerrigan for faceoffs. Kerrigan is one of the best in the area on the draw and puts Foxboro in good positions time after time; he will be a key piece in the midfield for the Warriors. Junior Pete Conley, Aiden Stapleton, and Charlie Baughan will make the up the attacking group for Foxboro this year.
Pat Stapleton is one of the most experienced players in the league as well as one of the top defensive players. He will anchor a defensive unit that has been one of the best in the region over the past couple of seasons. He will be joined by juniors Ronnie MacLellan and Will Morrison. All three players have the ability to move up to LSM when needed.
One question mark for the Warriors could be goalie, as Foxboro graduated Hockomock League MVP Jake Addeche. Head coach Matt Noone is confident in his options this season, with four players competing for the time in the cage. Freshman Matt Tully is beginning the season as the starter.
“I am really looking forward to this season as we are young but dangerous,” Noone said. “The best thing about this team is our depth, there is competition for every spot and they love to compete! What more can you ask for?”
2018 Record: 16-4
2018 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinals
Coach: Lou Verrochi
Franklin has had a lot of success in recent years, and that trend looks like it will continue in 2019.
“The outlook for this season is very good,” said Franklin head coach Lou Verrochi. “It could be one of the best teams we’ve had at FHS.”
The reason for the high expectations is the amount of talent returning from last year’s Kelley-Rex team that reached the D1 South Quarterfinals. Although the Panthers graduated two-time All-American and two-time HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Eric Civetti and starting goalie Connor O’Rourke, Franklin has experience and talent back at each position.
It all will start with senior Jacob Alexander, who has been arguably the best faceoff man in the entire state over the past couple of seasons. Alexander’s ability to consistently win draws gives Franklin a huge advantage and sets the offense in motion. Patrick Morrison, a second-team All-American selection last season, will anchor the defensive unit for the Panthers this year along with Will Harvey, who was one of the most underrated players last year. Will Davis, who saw time in net some last year, is set to take over in the cage and could be one of the top netminders in the league.
The Franklin midfield will consist of Nitin Chaudhury – one of the hardest working athletes in any sport – along with Owen Palmieri and Ben Kolb, who has really impressed in scrimmages during the preseason. Franklin’s attack could be among the most dangerous in the league this year with three legitimate options. Jake Davis (32 goals, 23 assists), Matt Lazzaro (30 points), and Ben Greco are all unselfish but can also finish.
2018 Record: 9-10
2018 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinals
Coach: Hal Bean
King Philip is hoping that a good amount of returning experience from last year’s team will result in a successful season and possibly a run through the D1 South bracket.
The Warriors have one of the most experienced attackmen in the league in Colin DeVellis, who has been one of the best finishers in each of the last two years. He finished fourth overall in points his sophomore year (22 goals, 36 assists) and again his junior year (45 goals, 29 assists) and is the top returning scorer back from last year. His ability to finish in close makes life tough for opponents but he’s also able to find teammates when the defense focuses on him. Andrew Sajdak and Sam Mattson will also be key pieces on the attack and the three showed good chemistry in their first game this year.
Wes Bishop, who is committed to play at UMass Boston, is a great leader that will anchor the defensive unit. He has a lot of varsity experience and is the type of player that leads by example. Luke D’Amico is another experienced defender that will stand out for KP this year. Tyler Bartlett, Aiden Bender, Chris Longobardi, and Garrett Maxwell give coach Hal Bean a large group of experienced players.
Junior Andrew McKinney is back in goal after splitting time in the cage last season.
2018 Record: 9-9
2018 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Tim Frias
Mansfield has made the state tournament in each of the last four seasons and will be looking to make it five straight in 2019.
It all starts in the midfield with senior Aidan Sacco. Sacco, who played quarterback this past fall for the Hornet football team, is like the quarterback for the Hornet boys lacrosse team. A lot of the offense will run through Sacco because of his vision and ability to share the ball. He is also a key part of the Hornet defense. His ability to get back and track opponents while also causing turnovers and transitioning defense into offense will be key for Mansfield.
On offense, the Hornets have an experienced stick in the hands of Mike Reed, who will be relied on to lead the Hornets into the playoffs down the stretch. Connor Quirk will also be a key cog for Mansfield this year while Joe Plath, Sean Weber, and Will Nelson are going to be important pieces in the defensive unit.
The Hornets have a strong piece in Nico Holmes at the face-off X. Holmes picked up varsity experience at the position last year and he will look to give Mansfield extra possessions this year in their push for the state tournament.
Coleman O’Brien and Brian Rockwell are battling for the starting spot in the cage.
2018 Record: 6-11
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Jacob Scordato
After increasing their win total from 2017 to 2018, the Scarlet Hawks will be looking to continue that trend in 2019.
With returning starters back in a lot of positions, second-year head coach Jacob Scordato is hopeful that Milford can make a run at a state tournament berth.
“Our Goal as a team is to make the playoffs, this program hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2012,” Scordato said. “But this group of extraordinary young men are highly motivated on achieving that goal.”
The Scarlet Hawks bring back their leading scorer in Brendan White, who had 45 points last season (31 goals, 14 assists). White is a strong, physical forward with a strong shot. His ability to finish through contact makes him one of the top attackmen in the league. In the midfield, junior captain Danny Farrell is back after a standout sophomore year. Farrell, an LSM, led the team last season with 64 ground balls.
Senior Ryan Pearl will anchor a defensive unit that is looking to improve on last season. Sophomore Evan Hazard had a standout freshman campaign between the pipes last year. He will be relied upon this season to help keep Milford in games as they make a push for the postseason.
2018 Record: 15-5
2018 Finish: Reached D2 Central/East Quarterfinals
Coach: Kevin Young
After coming close to the Davenport title a year ago, the Rocketeers are ready to make another run at the division title and as well as a deep playoff run.
While the Rocketeers graduated some top talent in the league such as midfielders Jason McNeany and Max Fontes, defenseman Tommy Lockavitch, and attack Tommy Lindstrom, North Attleboro has talent and experience in every position. Juniors Nate D’Amico and Jake McNeany are back after splitting time last season and will be competing for minutes again this season.
Defensively, the Rocketeers bring back three starters from a unit that allowed a league-low 95 goals last year. Junior Brett Labonte had a terrific season and will be joined by classmate Will Yeomans and sophomore Tyler Sarro. Head coach Kevin Young said the trio is tough, vocal, active, and play very well together. In the midfield, senior captains Nick Ward and Ryan Boyle will be key pieces. Ward will also see time at attack while Boyle will be a defensive minded midfielder.
“Nick is a very smart, sneaky threat with great IQ and stick skills,” said North Attleboro coach Kevin Young. “Ryan is just a grinder that all coaches appreciate.”
Junior Dan Conroy takes over as the main faceoff guy and will be joined by Ryan Rajotte, Damien Curtis, Nick Morse, Jack Puccio, Cam Cornetta, and Joe Milosh in the midfield.
The attack will be spearheaded by junior Andy DeMattio, last year’s HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year. DeMattio had a tremendous season, scoring 52 goals and adding 22 assists for a team-high 74 points. “He should be fun to watch as he’s picked up some size and speed,” Young said. DeMattio will be joined by junior Jack Connolly and freshman Matt Antonetti.
2018 Record: 14-7
2018 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinals
Coach: Ben Devlin
Coming off the best season in program history, Oliver Ames is aiming to have another successful year and hoping to replicate last year’s playoff push.
The Tigers reached the D2 South Sectional Semifinals last season and bring back five of the top seven scorers from a year ago. While the top two scorers — Eric LeBlanc and Owen Gallagher — and their 146 points graduated, there is a lot of optimism in the program because they have reloaded for this year.
Oliver Ames will be young on the attack with junior Sandro Masciarelli and sophomore Remi Creighton, but there is still experience in the position. Masciarelli had 25 goals last year while Creighton will see more minutes this year. The strength of the program will be in the midfield with the likes of senior captain Colin Bourne (30 goals), junior Shane Kilkelly (32 goals), junior Sam Stevens (23 goals), and junior Frankie Ireland (29 goals). That group was a big reason for OA’s memorable season last year and now have a year of experience playing together under their belts.
Defensively the Tigers are looking for senior captains Shane Murphy and Matt Saba to lead the way. Both players were apart of the defensive unit last year and have been a big reason for the program’s improvement over the past couple of seasons. Senior LSM Cullen Gallagher will be a key defensive midfielder while junior Tyler Campbell will likely factor into the Tiger defense this year. Junior Nick Gillis returns as the starting goalie while senior Steve Heino is an experienced backup.
“Our goal is to keep improving each day and keep building on last year’s success,” said OA head coach Ben Devlin. “The kids have bought into the program and are excited and enthusiastic about the season. We don’t expect anyone or two players to replace the production we graduated, but if all our returners can progress like they did last year, we should be in the mix for a tourney berth.”
2018 Record: 12-7
2018 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Jon Shocket
Sharon has a strong mix of returners and new faces and is hoping that combination will result in a return trip to the state tournament.
The Eagles will have an experienced defensive group with all three starting defensemen back this year, and all three are seniors. Sam Spencer, Coleman Loftus, and Ronin McCabe are back to give the Eagles a formidable defensive group. Having an experienced defensive in front of new goalie, sophomore Adam Rabb, will help as the season gets underway.
Sophomore Drew Litner is back after a terrific freshman year. Litner can score but he is one of the most unselfish players in the league and does a terrific job finding teammates on the move. He was among the league leaders in assists last year, dishing out 28 helpers. Litner will be joined by senior Brandon Buckman and freshman Zack Waxman in the attacking group.
The midfield will also have a good amount of experience with seniors Daniel Lillenfeld and Mitchell Director leading the way. Nick Stamm and Rowan Barnes have impressed this preseason and should be apart of the group as well. Junior Max Posner could be poised for a breakout year while sophomore Cobe Jacobson and freshmen Brady Daylor and Jace Nestler will be in the mix too.
Returning LSM Tyler Freedman is back after a terrific rookie campaign and could be a top player for the Eagles while there are high hopes for freshman faceoff specialist Ben Shocket, who could be an X-factor for the Eagles.
2018 Record: 1-15
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Pat Healey
The Black Knights enter their third season as a varsity program and are looking to continue to grow as a program in a difficult league.
After being inexperienced last year, the Black Knights are hoping the lessons learned from last year will pay off this year. It starts with the four captains: Sean Doherty, Luke Bainton, Alex Wilson, and Nate Wilson. Doherty and Bainton will do a little bit of everything for the Black Knights and will be two of the top options offensively. Alex Wilson and Nate Wilson will anchor the defensive unit, bringing plenty of lacrosse experience to that group.
Stoughton is also looking for a big season out of junior Foster McLeod. McLeod has shown in the past the ability to beat defenders and create opportunities for others. Sophomores Max Huminik and Mike McLaughlin will also see increased roles after impressing during their rookie seasons in 2018.
Sophomore Thomas Ratcliffe, a Hockomock League honorable mention last year, returns in the cage and gives the Black Knights a steady presence between the pipes. Sophomore Marty Barrett returns as a long pole and will be a key piece of the Knights’ defense.
By HockomockSports.com Staff
Players are listed alphabetically
Jacob Alexander, Senior – Franklin
Franklin senior Jacob Alexander hasn’t led the league in any offensive category before but he might be the most dominant player returning this season. Alexander has been the best faceoff man (83.6% career win percentage) in the Hockomock League over the past three years, and was one of the best in the entire state last year. His ability to give Franklin extra possessions gives the Panthers an incredible advantage. If they have the lead, they can quickly add onto it. If they are trailing, its likely Alexander can get them the ball right back and start a comeback. Over the last two seasons, we’ve seen Alexander really expand his game and get more involved with the offense beyond just the faceoff, scoring five goals and adding 15 assists last year. He was named first-team All American in 2018.
Andy DeMattio, Junior- North Attleboro
North Attleboro junior Andy DeMattio made a huge splash last season, emerging as one of the most dangerous attackmen in the Hockomock League. He paced a potent Rocketeers offense with 52 goals and 22 assists, a team-high 74 points. He was named HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year and to the HockomockSports.com Second Team for his strong sophomore year. With North’s point-leader Tommy Lindstrom graduated, DeMattio is going to likely be the focal point of North’s offense. The junior has the ability to move the ball and find teammates in good positions but he also has the size, speed, and strength to go at defenses one-on-one. Expect DeMattio to have another successful season this year.
Colin DeVellis, Senior – King Philip
King Philip senior Colin DeVellis has tormented defenses for the past two seasons and will be looking to cap his Warrior career off in style. Although not the biggest player on the field, DeVellis is one of the quickest players and finds ways to get past defenses and is very strong finishing in close. Last year, he scored 45 goals in the regular season, tied for fourth most in the Hockomock League and added 28 assists, ranking fourth in the league with 73 points. Whether he has the ball or no, DeVellis can be a nightmare for opposing defenses trying to keep track of him. His pace allows him to get open and he is certainly one of the best finishers in the league.
Shane Kilkelly, Junior – Oliver Ames
Oliver Ames had its best season in program history in 2018, going 14-7 and reaching the D2 South Sectional Semifinals. One of the reasons for that was the strong play of then-sophomore Shane Kilkelly. The Tigers had a lot of weapons, including the program’s all-time leading scorer Eric LeBlanc and Owen Gallagher, both of whom graduated. Kilkelly stepped in to give OA a three-headed monster on the offensive end and now will be relied upon as one of the go-to options for the Tigers. One of the junior’s strongest attributes is his distribution. Not only did he have 25 goals last year, he had a team-high 33 assists, which ranked fourth in the Hock and most among returning players. In fact, Kilkelly is just one of three returners with over 25 assists last year. Kilkelly is also a strong two-way player and a main component of the Tigers’ transition game.
Trevor Koppy, Senior- Attleboro
The Hockomock League has been loaded with some top goalies over the last couple of seasons. North Attleboro’s Dan MacDonald won the league MVP in 2017 and Foxboro’s Jake Addeche earned the honors last season. Attleboro’s Trevor Koppy has certainly earned his way into that conversation with his play over the past couple of seasons. Now a senior, Koppy could be in line for his best season yet. His goals against average can be a bit deceiving but his save percentage (64.1%) was right up there with the league’s best. He also boasted a league-high 309 saves last year, helping the Bombardiers stay in games at times. He does a nice job reading the play and has quick reactions. He has a tremendous clear that can help the Bombardiers turn defense into offense.
Patrick Morrison, Senior – Franklin
There aren’t too many players in the league this year that are as experienced as Franklin senior Patrick Morrison. Morrison, who is committed to play lacrosse at Boston University, has been a big part of the Panthers’ lineup since he was a freshman. Now a senior, this season could be Morrison’s best. His size (6’3) gives him an advantage on opposing attackmen, and over the past couple of seasons, his speed and strength have both increased allowing him to be a lockdown defenseman. He has no problem playing physical but his ability to read and anticipate plays along with strong stick work often results in cause turnovers. He will certainly be a key part of the Panthers turning defense into offense.
Griffin Roach, Senior- Canton
Canton has a good amount of pieces back from the team that reached the D2 South Sectional Semifinals last season, including one of their leading scorers in Griffin Roach. Roach scored a team-high 28 goals last season, had 13 assists, and finished with 41 points in the regular season, which was second most on the Bulldogs. Roach is a confident player that has no problem taking the big shot when needed. If the Bulldogs are in a close game or a situation where they need a big goal, Roach is the type of player you want with the ball on his stick. He has great speed and is very strong in possession. He will be one of the toughest one-on-one covers in the league this year because of his ability to find just enough space to finish. And as we’ve seen over the past two years, his ability to score has improved each season.
Aidan Sacco, Senior- Mansfield
Mansfield made it to the D1 South tournament last season but suffered an early exit. The Hornets are aiming to return to the playoffs again this year and one big piece will be senior midfielder Aidan Sacco. Sacco does it all for Mansfield, playing a big part in the defense while also being a catalyst on offense. He’s a very confident player that will likely be a key piece in transition the Hornets from defense to offense. He has a lot of lacrosse experience and is one of the smartest players in the league. The Hornets are going to rely on his decision making and ability to find open teammates throughout the 2019 season.
Pat Stapleton, Senior – Foxboro
Foxboro has been one of the best defensive teams over the past couple of seasons and one constant in that unit is senior Pat Stapleton. A key player on the Warriors since his freshman year, Stapleton will be the anchor of the defensive unit this year. He is committed to play at Connecticut College and will be looking to lead the Warriors to a deep run in the state tournament this year. The combination of size and speed makes him one of the top defenseman in the league. Stapleton always seems to be in the right position when Foxboro needs a big stop. Not only is he a top player, he is one of the best leaders in the league. Foxboro should have one of the top defensive groups with Stapleton leading the way.
Brendan Tully, Senior – Foxboro
The Davenport division has run through Foxboro in two of the past three seasons, and senior Brendan Tully will be looking to make it two straight and three of the last four. Tully has had a lot of success in his career at Foxboro but his best might be saved for his last year. Warriors head coach Matt Noone described Tully as the best player on the Warriors as well as the hardest worker, which isn’t always the case. Committed to Providence College, Tully is a blue collar type player that works hard from the opening whistle to the final buzzer. Not only is he an important part of the Warriors’ defense, he is a tremendous offensive player. He scored 44 goals last year and added 20 assists. His lacrosse IQ is off the charts.
DUXBURY, Mass. – For the fourth straight year, perennial Div. 3 powers North Attleboro and Duxbury squared off in the playoffs. After the Rocketeers dominated the 2017 matchup, on their way to a Super Bowl appearance, the Dragons were out for revenge in the South semifinal on Friday night at Raymond Chandler Field.
In a game between two strong programs that know each other well, the little things can be decisive. Duxbury converted two North Attleboro turnovers into 10 points, including the decisive touchdown with four minutes remaining, to pull out a 17-14 victory and advance to the sectional final.
North coach Don Johnson said, “When you get into these games against good teams, all it takes is a couple mistakes to swing it. They’re just too good to make those kind of mistakes against.”
The Dragons opened the game by spreading North out with multiple receivers and finding seams in the middle of the line for senior quarterback John Roberts (17 carries, 81 yards) and junior tailback Tim Landolfi (13 carries, 59 yards).
“Our guys were back on their heels a little bit because we were so concerned about the pass,” Johnson explained. “They throw the deep ball so well, so they kept picking us apart with some hitches in there. They get you in your nickel defense and then they can run the ball up inside on you.”
Duxbury moved the ball to the North 35, but on fourth down and inches Roberts’ pass to Will Prouty got caught in the wind and was knocked down by Ryan Gaumond.
North took advantage of the wind on its second play from scrimmage with senior Nick Raneri hitting Andy DeMattio on a wheel route down the North sideline for 38 yards. Raneri, who was also active at the start of the game in his middle linebacker position, then burst through the middle for 16 yards to the Duxbury nine-yard-line.
Three plays later, Brendan McHugh bullied his way in from five yards out for a 7-0 lead.
The lead was short-lived. Duxbury answered with a 11-play, 75-yard drive to tie the game early in the second quarter. Roberts (10-20, 126 yards) was 3-for-4 passing on the drive and also carried it four times, including the six-yard touchdown run.
North’s offense was dealt a blow at the end of the first when Raneri was forced to the sideline with a shoulder injury he sustained while making a tackle. Sophomore Matt Penta jumped in at quarterback, and got off to a good start with 26 yards rushing on his first two plays. The Rocketeers were forced to punt and got the ball back on a fumble recovery by Omar Jasseh but were forced to punt again.
Duxbury’s offense was also struggling and was forced into a three-and-out on a good play by Trevor Hewett and Ryan Clemente, who closed up the middle on a third down draw. The ensuing punt carried in the wind and Jared Penta was unable to pull it in. Duxbury recovered at the North 25.
The Dragons had to settle for a 26-yard Brett Souza field goal but went into halftime leading 10-7.
Raneri tried to come back in the second half and he split snaps with Matt Penta, but the North offense struggled to get any momentum. The defense came out of halftime determined to clog the middle of the line and put pressure on Roberts. Twice North forced a turnover on downs inside its own territory and Clemente was staring to assert himself at the line of scrimmage along with John Kummer.
“I think we did enough on defense to keep us in the game,” Johnson said. “Getting Nick banged up there, we kind of stalled on offense in the second half. We gave them the ball a few too many times because we just couldn’t move it on offense.”
When asked what the Dragons did to limit North’s production, Johnson replied, “They got everyone within five yards [of the line of scrimmage] and, you know, we’re limited in the passing game, so they can gang up on the run and outnumber you at the point of attack.”
With 7:34 left in the game, North took over at its own 38. Penta (6-15, 74 yards) tried to look downfield, but his pass was intercepted by Seamus Johnston. The Dragons made the turnover count thanks to a remarkable catch in the front corner of the end zone by Prouty, who somehow managed to snag possession while on his back after Gaumond got a piece of the throw.
The North bench was incensed because the Rocketeers believed Prouty had pushed off to deny Gaumond an interception.
Trailing by 10 points with 4:19 to play, North put together its best offensive series of the second half. Penta found Jasseh for 25 yards over the middle to the Duxbury 41. On third down and 10, Penta threw the ball away and was gifted 15 yards when Quinn Murphy hit him late. A 16-yard swing pass to McHugh and nine-yard keeper got the ball to the Duxbury 20.
A short pass got a first down but then a pass was dropped in the end zone, Prouty made a diving play to deny Jasseh a touchdown, and Penta was sacked back to the 26. Facing fourth and 18, the sophomore dropped back and threw a strike to Ethan Friberginside the five and junior dove to the pylon for the score.
“Penta is a promising sophomore,” Johnson said. “He’s got playmaker ability and he’s a tough kid. I thought he did a great job in the circumstances to get in there and give us a chance to win the ballgame.”
Tyler DeMattio made it 2-for-2 on extra point attempts to get North back within three, but his onside kick attempt was smothered by Duxbury to seal the win.
North Attleboro (6-3) heads into the non-playoff round next week.
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – One team came into the game having won three straight league titles, making a Super Bowl appearance, and was inaugurating a new turf field, while the other team came in after back-to-back league and state titles and was riding a 25-game win streak. These were the two most successful programs in the Hockomock League over the last two seasons.
It was a game that was destined to come down to one play; to be decided by inches. That was exactly what happened.
Brendan McHugh broke a few tackles and tiptoed down the sideline to put North Attleboro in front for good with 1:33 remaining in the fourth quarter but King Philip drove inside the Rocketeers red zone and had two shots at the end zone before a last second pass was broken up at the goal line. North held on for the 14-7 victory to christen the newly-upgraded Raymond E. Beaupre Field and hand KP its first defeat since the penultimate game of 2015.
“I have no idea what happened,” McHugh admitted when asked about the game-winning touchdown. “I was staring at the ground and I thought I was going to fall, but I just stayed on my feet and just got to the end zone. I was close but I wasn’t out of bounds.”
When asked what this win meant for the team, he replied, “My senior year, we wanted to get them and we got them. So much confidence, that’s a hell of a team, that defense is legit and we grinded out a win.”
It was a battle of attrition, which both coaches had expected coming into the game. Both defenses were in control and both offense were finding their feet with a number of new faces. In the end, both coaches saw the positive from facing tough competition to kick off a new season.
“They came to play today against a very, very good team,” said KP coach Brian Lee. He joked, “I don’t know why we thought of playing them instead of scheduling someone easy a long time ago, but the truth is we learned so much about our team tonight. Playing a team like that in these conditions, they grew up fast tonight.”
North coach Don Johnson added, “We had to earn it. We had to work hard and earn it on both sides of the football. I think it’s a good confidence booster for those guys who are playing in their first game tonight.”
North took the lead just before the end of the first quarter with an eight-play, 67-yard drive. Senior quarterback Nick Raneri got the Rocketeers going with a 34-yard keeper that moved the ball down to the KP 29. Three plays later, Raneri barely eked out two yards on fourth down to keep the drive alive. Two plays after that, McHugh took a jet sweep to the right side of the line and was untouched for a 16-yard score.
The Rocketeers scored with 19 seconds left in the first. The Warriors scored 19 seconds later. Junior tailback Ryan Halliday (22 carries, 181 yards) bounced back from a fumble on his first carry of the game, bursting through the left side of the line, keeping his feet despite a diving attempt at a tackle by Luke LaBonte, and racing 80 yards for the tying score.
KP tried to keep the momentum going when senior corner Deric Casado made a highlight-reel, one-handed interception right in front of his bench, but the North defense was just as strong, forcing a three and out.
The game stayed tied coming out of halftime. KP started the half by continuing to put the ball into the hands of its new workhorse back, running Halliday into the North defensive line that was led by senior Ryan Clemente and junior Trevor Hewett.
North finally managed a long drive against the KP defense at the end of the third quarter with Raneri narrowly missing Ethan Friberg in the end zone after the junior got free down the seam.
“We felt pretty confident on that one and I think Raneri saw him so wide open that he just didn’t get enough on the football,” Johnson said of the missed opportunity. “He lofted it instead of just putting it on his hands and it seemed to take forever to come down.”
On the first play of the fourth quarter, freshman kicker Tyler DeMattio missed a 32-yard kick wide left and the game remained even.
KP’s next drive stalled at its own 46 after a holding call on third down. Cole Baker’s punt drove Ryan Gaumond back to his own 10, but the North senior scrapped for 24 yards on the return to give North at least a little cushion with which to start the drive.
After working a first down near midfield, North turned to McHugh (16 carries, 95 yards) again. The senior went for six yards to the right and then broke a sweep to the left for 14 yards down to the KP 33. After a timeout, McHugh took the ball around the left side in front of his own bench and the Warriors appeared to have him wrapped up only to stop thinking he had gone out of bounds. McHugh kept going, inches from the sideline for the go-ahead score.
“He’s that kind of guy,” Johnson said of McHugh. “He doesn’t even know he’s doing it half the time but he’s a threat to break anything at any time so there are times we say just give it to McHugh because he can create so much on his own.”
The Warriors took advantage of a new rule on the ensuing kickoff, calling a fair catch inside the 10 and automatically getting the ball at the 25. Junior Robbie Jarest rolled out to the far side and hit David Morganelli for 12 yards. Andy DeMattio nearly had a game-ending interception but could not hold on and the drive extended on a pass interference call on third down.
A 10-yard screen pass to Casado was followed by a 21-yard pass to Morganelli and suddenly KP was down to the North 17-yard-line with and the clock was stopped with eight seconds remaining. A false start backed KP up five yards, but Jarest just missed Morganelli in the back of the end zone on second down.
Here is the final play of the game as the pass is picked off by Matt Penta at the goal line with no time remaining, lifting North Attleboro to the win in the season opener #hockomock pic.twitter.com/PQOzcRL5wO
— Josh Perry (@Josh_Perry10) September 8, 2018
As the final horn sounded, the last gasp pass was picked off by Matt Penta at the goal line to seal the North win.
“I told them the second series is going to be better for you than the first and the third series will be better and the fourth and you settle down and confidence grows,” Lee said about what his team learned from that final drive regardless of whether or not it ended in a score. “They definitely believed they were going to win it at the end.”
North Attleboro (1-0) will be back on the Beaupre Field turf next week when it hosts rival Bishop Feehan. King Philip (0-1) will play another Davenport division team next Friday in its home opener, as Foxboro travels to Macktaz Field.
By David James, HockomockSports.com Contributor
WALPOLE, Mass. — North Attleboro gave a perennial state power in Walpole all it could handle, but the Rebels put together a late run to end the game, earning a 7-4 win.
North’s staunch defense put together one of its most impressive performances of the year, forcing Walpole into an uncharacteristically low scoring affair. Time after time Big Red forced shots that went way off the cage, and goaltender Jake McNeany (10 saves) was everywhere for the state’s fifth-best scoring defense.
Senior captain Jason McNeany (three goals) saved one of his best performances for last, winning 11 out of 15 faceoffs to give North the chances it needed, as well as being the game’s leading scorer.
Fans of a defensive battle were in for a treat as 10 minutes passed before a shot on net took place when Walpole’s Thomas Shea opened up the scoring for the Rebels. There would be only one more shot on cage, as well as nine combined turnovers throughout the first, leaving the score at 1-0.
The second quarter saw both offenses settle down, but had a similar result. Cullen McGlynn had the lone tally making it 2-0 for the Rebels halfway through the quarter. North had chances to respond, as Walpole picked up a penalty with 1:35 remaining in the half, but hit the post twice. Walpole goalie Joseph McGrath made four saves in the quarter and kept the score at 2-0 going into the half.
Importantly for Big Red though, Walpole was hit with another penalty with just three seconds left on the clock. Carrying a man advantage into the second half, Jason McNeany won the faceoff, hit teammate Tommy Lindstrom (two assists), who gave it right back to McNeany, who buried the man-up ripper from straight on to give North their first goal of the game.
Both offenses went back and forth as Walpole’s Kyle Hirshom responded to make it a two-goal game again, quickly followed up by Andy DeMattio’s goal off a nifty feed from Nick Ward. Two minutes later Lindstrom was able to draw a penalty and find McNeany again, who scored on the continuation and tied the game, 3-3.
Unphased by the momentum, UMass Lowell commit Conor Foley was able to put one in the back of the net 30 seconds later to silence the North crowd.
Walpole got just the break they needed to steal all the momentum one minute into the fourth quarter. After a Jake McNeany save, a scrum formed in front of the net. After 10 seconds of fighting for it, Foley was able to poke it loose and hockey slap shot it into the back of the net, making it 5-3 in favor of Walpole.
Ryan Birch scored the Rebels’ sixth of the game to extend the lead to three with eight minutes to play. McNeany willed his way through a Walpole defender to make it a two-goal game again but two back-to-back North penalties and excellent goaltending by McGrath would make that the last opportunity for a comeback.
After North’s defense killed off a six on four penalty kill, McGlynn was able to add an insurance goal to make it 7-4, which would stand for the remainder of the game.
Although not the way the Rocketeers (15-5) wanted to end their season, they have plenty to hang their hats on, as they exceeded all expectations for this year. Replacing their entire starting offense from last year other than Lindstrom, as well as 2017 Hockomock League MVP goaltender Dan MacDonald, is no small task. Big Red proved that they’re at a point where they don’t have to rebuild, they reload.
Still a relatively young program, North has come a long way in 11 years. A program that had just eight wins in its first four years when head coach Kevin Young took over has now strung together 31 wins in the last two years, and everything is trending up for Big Red, as a boatload of talented underclassmen with lots of experience return to next year’s roster.
By David James, Hockomock Sports Contributor
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass — The North Attleboro boys lacrosse team won its first playoff game since 2014 on Wednesday, and did so in impressive fashion from start to finish.
Dominating the faceoff, causing 28 turnovers, completing 14 of 16 clear attempts, and drawing eight and a half minutes of penalties, the Rocketeers had complete control the entire game.
Big Red’s sophomores shined, as attackmen Andy DeMattio and Jack Connolly tallied four goals and one assist each. Goalie Jake McNeany recorded 12 saves, and Big Red’s defense held Belmont to three goals and dominated in transition.
“Brett Labonte was just faster than any of their players on the ride today. I think he had nine clears himself and he got assists on two of them,” said North Attleboro head coach Kevin Young. “We work really hard on strength and conditioning at practice and as a result, I think our whole team was just faster today. We had more energy throughout the game and that served us well.”
A unique challenge was presented to faceoff man Jason McNeany (one goal, two assists), as Belmont prefers to have defensemen take the faceoff to try and cause an immediate turnover after a loss. The senior captain not only accepted but dominated this task, winning 11 out of 14 draws he took against three different opponents.
“I was worried about their #22 [Thomas Ballard]. Every film I’d watched he torches the opposing faceoff guy,” Young said. “DeMattio getting hot in the first quarter forced Ballard to go down and stay on him and then we were able to dictate things from there. When a long pole wins faceoffs and comes down and scores goals, which [Ballard] does a lot, that’s a huge momentum boost for them so it was essential to eliminate that and Jason did a great job doing so.”
Thomas Lindstrom (one goal, three assists) opened up scoring a little more than two minutes into the game beating his man one on one and sneaking it past goalkeeper Michael Delhome. Connolly found DeMattio two minutes later to give North a 2-0 lead.
Both teams went back and forth exchanging blows as four goals were scored over the next minute. Belmont’s Alec Morin cut the lead to one, only for McNeany to hit DeMattio off the ensuing faceoff to extend the lead back to two. Belmont’s Jackson Pullman to answer to make it 3-2 North but less than 30 seconds later Nick Ward (two goals, one assist) found Connolly and the Rocketeer lead was back up to two.
With a minute remaining in the first North would score three goals that changed the entire complexion of the game. Lindstrom found McNeany for a man-up rip then Ward added two strikes the next 14 seconds, the latter being a buzzer beater off McNeany’s faceoff win, and Big Red ended the first quarter up 7-2.
The second quarter saw little offense and the beginning of what became a very chippy contest. Belmont’s Pullman scored his second of the game halfway through the quarter but that would be the only goal on either side, as well as the Marauders’ last of the game, leading to a 7-3 halftime.
“[Belmont] picked up their defense and we started playing hero ball,” Young said. “After scoring seven in the first, guys were trying to [isolation] by themselves thinking it’d be easy. That fed right into their defense and we couldn’t get anything going. When one guy goes isolation and five guys watch him it’s not successful ball.”
On the flip side North’s defense, currently averaging a seventh best in state 4.6 goals allowed per game, came alive and killed two penalties while causing 10 turnovers in the quarter.
“[Belmont] got two early ones on some nice draw and dumps that left one-on-ones with the goalie and we can’t allow that,” Young explained. “Once we corrected that we only allowed one more goal in the game and things mostly went our way. We forced them to make uncomfortable passes and put the ball on the ground and when the ball’s on the ground, we go in with the mentality that we own it, and today we did.”
To start the second half DeMattio scored his third of the game on a helper from Lindstrom and Jake McNeany made two huge saves from point-blank range to give North all the momentum it needed to squander any chance at a comeback.
Over a 90 second span Connolly scored three times, assisted by Labonte, DeMattio, and Lindstrom respectively, to put the game out of reach and head into the final quarter of play up 11-3.
Big Red was able to stall out almost the entire fourth quarter until Labonte picked up his second fast-break assist, this time to DeMattio, to make it 12-3 with a minute to play.
#6 North Attleboro (15-4) moves on to play at #3 Walpole (14-4) in the D2 Central/East quarterfinal round on Saturday at 3:00.
“Walpole’s a big, strong, tough team that moves the ball really well. They’re a tough team to play but we’ll shift all our attention towards them and give them everything we have,” Young said. “I feel good about it. When this group plays their best they can play with anybody.”