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.
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.”
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?”
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.
FOXBORO, Mass. – When the Foxboro boys lacrosse team made its season debut on Monday, the Warriors let a lead, and a win, slip away against Medway.
The Warriors studied their mistakes with a long film session on Tuesday, ready to right those wrongs in their Hockomock League opener against North Attleboro on Wednesday afternoon.
The study session paid off as Foxboro raced out to a 4-0 lead, killed three third-quarter penalties, and pulled away with a strong fourth quarter to pick up a convincing 9-2 win over the Rocketeers.
“We needed that bad, a bounce-back win,” said Foxboro head coach Matt Noone. “We had some big mental mistakes [on Monday] like sliding up field, not trusting the offense that we run. The film was better than anything we could have done on the field yesterday…Every day we’re going to get better.
“Right now, [North Attleboro] was us on Monday. Kevin [Young] is a great coach, they will rebound. “
The Warriors wasted little time to get things going. Just under two minutes into the game, junior Aidan Stapleton connected with classmate Shayne Kerrigan in front for a close finish and a 1-0 lead. Just two minutes later, Foxboro converted its second shot on net, this time off the stick of Pete Conley, who ripped a shot from distance up high.
North Attleboro struggled to keep possession when it did get into the offensive zone as the Warrior defense of Pat Stapleton, Ronnie MacLellan, and Will Morrison played strong man-to-man defense and didn’t allow any open cuts in front of the net.
Foxboro struck for quick back-to-back goals again inside a minute span late in the first quarter. Conley grabbed his first assist when he found sophomore Charlie Baughan right in front for an easy finish.
The Warriors made it 4-0 just 27 seconds later, fresh off a face-off win by Kerrigan (10 face-off wins). Senior Brendan Tully beat his defenseman and found some space before firing a shot into the back of the net.
“It was a tough start,” said North Attleboro coach Kevin Young. “We’ve played better [in the preseason] and I didn’t expect to give up that first quarter like that. They didn’t rebound, there wasn’t a lot of team play, a lot of team blame instead. We have some young kids but we’ve played much better than that.”
The Rocketeers did improve in the second quarter, winning an early face-off and getting on the scoreboard. Senior Damien Curtis went one-on-one and was able to find some space to fire a shot into the back of the net.
North Attleboro had a chance to add to its lead with a man-up opportunity with four minutes left in the half but couldn’t convert. Foxboro then went on a man-up chance and Baughan took a feed from Conley and scored to make it 5-1 heading into halftime.
Foxboro’s defense killed another Rocketeer man-up chance midway through the third quarter but North Attleboro cut into the deficit just over a minute later when junior Ryan Rajotte ripped a shot inside the near post.
“When it’s 5-2, you’re still in it,” Young said. “But [Foxboro] held the ball well, they controlled it, and Tully made some great saves and those are momentum changers If you go 5-3 or 5-4, you get some momentum. But too much hero ball, one guy driving and five guys watching. I think they got to the point where they didn’t want to make a mistake and that’s a recipe for disaster. Foxboro played great, you have to hand it to them. They were just better than us today.”
With a minute left in the third, Big Red had a two-man advantage for 30 seconds and a one-man up chance for the final 30 seconds but North Attleboro’s offense was only able to muster one shot and Foxboro freshman goalie Matt Tully (seven saves) made the stop.
“Our man down [defense] is pretty good,” Noone said as his side killed all four of its penalties. “They’ve been playing for me for a while so they know what we expect and how to run it. They talk, their sticks are up and they fly around. And the equalizer is Matty [Tully]. To kill that is a huge lift for the team.”
On the other side, Foxboro cashed in on an extra man chance early in the fourth quarter. Just seconds before the call was set to expire, Tully found Kerrigan for a shot from the right side that found its way to the back of the net.
Four minutes later, Tully really put the game out of reach with a strong individual effort. He backed his way down against a defender, and then went to his right as the double came and unleashed a hard shot that the goalie had no chance at stopping.
“They controlled the ball and then opened up the center,” Young said of Foxboro’s success. “They got four or five goals right around the crease. They were patient with it, they waited. They pushed two guys from behind and two guys up top, and they were just patient enough for those guys to open up.”
Aidan Stapleton (from Conley and Kerrigan) and freshman Jack Avery (from Kevin Tully) scored in the final minutes to give the Warriors the 9-2 win.
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.”
WRENTHAM, Mass. – North Attleboro boys lacrosse ended it’s regular season exactly how it wanted to as it prepares for postseason play: beat a quality opponent.
“There are two challenges of playing a team twice in a season,” said North Attleboro head coach Kevin Young. “First off, you have to fix the mistakes you made the first time around. Second, you want to take advantage of any weaknesses they may have. The issue is that they’re doing the same things.”
Big Red showed the type of resilience, toughness, and discipline every coach preaches about, especially heading into the playoffs. After going down 2-0 and not converting on two separate man-up opportunities, North strung together five unanswered goals in four minutes to take control of the game, eventually leading to a 9-4 victory for the visiting Rocketeers.
Turnovers and penalties plagued the Warriors all game long, throwing the ball away 24 times throughout the game and collecting eight flags in total.
There was a lot of positive to build upon on that’ll suit King Philip well heading into postseason play. Goalie Jeremy Elpus made eight saves many of which coming on penalty kills, Chris Longobardi was dominant at the faceoff X, winning 12 out of 14 contests, and the man-down defensive unit also killed six of eight penalties.
KP’s man-down unit turned away four shot attempts just two minutes into the game and then caused a turnover just as they were back to even strength.
One minute later King Philip was hit with a 30 second technical that they were able to kill and clear. This led to the first score of the game, courtesy of Kevin Riggs (one goal, one assist) on a feed from Robert Tartaglia. Less than a minute later, Colin DeVellis (two goals) fired one in to give the Warriors a two-goal lead.
The Rocketeers didn’t flinch though. Instead, they turned to sophomore attackman Andy DeMattio (five goals, one assist), who found the back of the net four times in the final four and a half minutes of the first quarter.
Tommy Lindstrom (one goal, three assists) fed Jack Connolly (one goal, two assists) for a hard-earned goal on a continued penalty, Jason McNeany won two consecutive faceoffs, the defense buckled down to force three turnovers, and suddenly North had all of the momentum riding a 5-2 lead to end the first.
“The offense worked really well together all around today. We settled the ball and were able to find open cutters and the right shots,” said DeMattio. “We were able to keep possession on the offensive side a lot today because [goalie] Jake McNeany stood on his head, and our defense was able to disrupt their offense and clear the ball to get some fast break opportunities.”
The Warriors response came halfway through the second quarter when Riggs found Nate Minkwitz to cut the lead to two.
North’s special teams capitalized on one of those turnovers, leading to an ankle breaking split dodge from Damien Curtis to get around a King Philip defender and snipe one inside the near pipe. DeMattio found Lindstrom of off another turnover to mount a 7-3 lead with ten seconds remaining before the half.
King Philip’s defense killed back-to-back penalties early in the second half. Both times the Warriors were able to clear the ball to an attackman on a fast break with a chance for a huge momentum swing, and both times they were stuffed at point blank by Jake McNeany (10 saves).
Big Red’s vaunted defense, currently averaging a 10th best in the state 4.7 goals per game, flexed its muscles and caused nine turnovers, while holding the Warriors scoreless in the third quarter.
“Our defensive success is a team concept,” said Young. “Our second and third guys are always looking to trap and cause a ball down, while our first guy is affecting the opposing feeder. Once the ball goes down, all our defenders are looking to be active in transition.”
DeMattio opened the fourth quarter by scoring his fifth goal of the afternoon on an assist from Jason McNeany. DeVellis answered with his second of the game, but after North’s defense caused another turnover on the ensuing possession, Big Red was able to run out the majority of the remaining six minutes.
King Philip (9-8) will look to regroup next week as its host Bishop Feehan in its regular season finale, while North Attleboro (14-4) has completed their regular season and will have to sit tight until playoff seeding is announced on June 1st.
“This season has been a lot of fun,” said Young. “We have a lot of young kids, and that’s been challenging, but they’re really handling it well. Today was a great way to finish the season. Our kids took control and got it done against a Division 1 tournament team.
“We have a week off so we really get to focus on our team I.Q. as well as on-field discipline. We’ll be keeping up our strength and conditioning and try and best prepare ourselves for some solid competition down the road.”
FOXBORO, Mass. – History has a tendency to repeat itself, and Friday afternoon’s matchup between Foxboro and North Attleboro was no different.
The past four regular season meetings between the two sides have all finished very close; two by two goals (2014, 2015) and two by just one tally (2016, 2017).
That trend continued this year as Foxboro used a pair of goals in the final three minutes and a big save from senior Jake Addeche to register a 7-5 decision over the visiting Rocketeers.
In a see-saw battle that featured six lead changes, both sides had multiple leads erased. Neither team led by more than one goal until Foxboro added an insurance goal in the final seconds of the game.
“[Kevin] is such a good coach, those kids play so hard for him,” said Foxboro head coach Matt Noone. “In the last four or five years, it’s been a one or two goal game. I have so much respect for North…I knew it was going to be a battle. We weren’t ourselves in the first quarter, I think we were trying to press a little bit too much, trying to go through double teams. That’s not our system. The defense played well today, just five goals [allowed], and Jake was awesome in net.”
After battling back and forth over the first 36 minutes, the Warriors and Rocketeers entered the final frame knotted at 5-5. And despite combining for six goals in the third quarter, offense was hard to come back in the final 12 minutes.
“We started to shut their shorties off a little bit, they weren’t really going against our poles,” Noone said of fourth quarter adjustments. “The biggest adjustment…they were clearing the ball with their long poles and we were trying to shut everyone off. So we just conceded there and made them beat us 6v6 instead of in transition. What a battle though, that was a big win for us.”
Addeche made the first big save just over four minutes into the frame, but his Rocketeer counterpart, sophomore Jake McNeany (eight saves), was equal to the task and made a huge save on a strong shot from Foxboro star Louis Piccolo (four goals) just two minutes later.
“I thought both goalies were fantastic, I thought both defenses were as good as I’ve seen,” Young said. “Their #1, Louis [Piccolo] is a handful. Tommy Lockavitch was on him all day, just trying to wear him down. I was happy with the defense, they have a couple of guys over there that can really rip it.”
North advanced the ball into the attacking half shortly after McNeany’s save and called a timeout. Foxboro’s defense stood strong through and didn’t allow North to get a good look, getting the ball back with just under five minutes to go.
“It could have gone either way, tt was very evenly matched,” said North Attleboro head coach Kevin Young. “I was happy with how the guys played. I would have liked to come out with the win but [Foxboro] has some good players over there. I thought we had a pretty good defensive plan, and then their defense is always tough, always hard to break down. With the weather, I think we were throwing the ball at each other a little too far out.”
Foxboro eventually got possession back with just under three minutes left and called a timeout to set up the offense. Though they didn’t run a set play, the offense executed and gave the Warriors the lead.
Sophomore Bobby Yerardi moved to the right as Pete Conley came over to provide a screen. Instead of a pick, Conley slipped past and both North defenseman stayed with Yerardi. The sophomore alertly flipped the ball to an open Conley in front and his bounce shot just went over the stick of McNeany to put Foxboro up 6-5 with 2:11 to play.
“That was just executing our offense and Bobby having his head up and seeing his man open after being doubled,” Noone said. “It was just a quick feed inside. That’s not anything we drew up, just people being in the right spots.”
Foxboro’s Shayne Kerrigan won the ensuing draw and Foxboro was able to kill some clock in the offensive end. North was whistled for a 30 second penalty but its defense was still able to come up with the crucial turnover, getting possession back with just over a minute to go.
North attempted to tie the game, setting up a play for defenseman Will Yeomans. The sophomore used a nice move to create some separation and ripped a shot from distance that looked destined for the top corner but Addeche made a huge stop to preserve the lead.
Addeche then turned defense into offense, sprinting over midfield with the ball. With North just getting their man back from a penalty and down a goal, the defense was forced to press out. That allowed Piccolo to find some space and net his fourth of the game, giving the Warriors a 7-5 edge with 16 seconds to go.
North had one chance in the final seconds but Addeche corralled a partially blocked bounce shot for his sixth save of the quarter and 12th for the game.
“I have around eight sophomores out there at most times and when they see an opening in the net, they go for it,” Young said. “As we scale that back, we’ll have a much more disciplined, dangerous offense. I thought we moved the ball around well, but they do make young guy mistakes at times but they’ll figure it out.”
Foxboro took the lead less than a minute into the game when Piccolo used a nice spin move to change direction and create space, firing it in to put the Warriors up 1-0.
But North Attleboro senior Jason McNeany, who had a strong day at the faceoff X, won the ensuing draw and took it himself up the middle, firing the tying goal just seven seconds later. Big Red took a 2-1 lead when McNeany converted on a bounce shot with 3:20 left in the first quarter.
“I thought Jason crushed it at the faceoff today, I thought that really kept us in it,” Young said. “He’s really good at controlling the ball for guys until they get the look they want.”
Foxboro tied things up in the middle of the second quarter. With North down two men, Foxboro executed perfectly with Pat Kaveny finding Shayne Kerrigan in front for the tying goal heading into halftime.
The third quarter featured more offense from both teams, both Foxboro and North Attleboro each finding the back of the net three times.
Piccolo gave the hosts a lead just over a minute into the third but three minutes later, Jake McNeany made a save, tossed a pass to midfield to Yeomans, who took it the rest of the way and deposited into the back of the net to make it 3-3.
Foxboro regained the lead when Piccolo used a fake pass to create separation and make it 4-3, but North came right back a couple minutes later and tied it off a goal from Damien Curtis.
North then grabbed its first lead since the first half when Andy DeMattio curled around a screen right in front of goal to go up 5-4. Foxboro tied it at five apiece with 91 seconds left in the third quarter as Brendan Tully faked out his defenseman and snuck his shot under the bar.
Foxboro boys lacrosse (5-0 Hockomock, 9-0 overall) is back in action on Monday when it hosts Bishop Feehan. North Attleboro (2-2, 5-3) will try to bounce back on the same day when it opens a three-game homestand against Attleboro.
2017 Record: 8-10 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Kevin Koppy
After coming up just one game shy of the postseason, Attleboro is aiming to make the playoffs for the first time in program history in 2018.
The Bombardiers doubled their victory total from 2016 to 2017, going from four to eight in the win column. Attleboro returns 11 players from last year’s squad and has a total of 12 seniors on the team. Now in its fourth year, interest in the program is growing rapidly with 17 combined freshmen on either varsity or the JV roster.
There will be a lot of experience on the defensive end for Big Blue. Junior captain Trevor Koppy is back for his third year as the Bombardiers’ starting goalie. He turned away 306 shots last year with a 64% save percentage. In front of Koppy, senior captain Dan Perry is back to anchor the defensive unit which features all seniors.
“Dan is a physical defender that has excellent field awareness and leads by example,” said AHS head coach Kevin Koppy. “He’s constantly hustling and fighting hard for loose balls.”
Perry is joined by classmates Jim Nordberg and Chris Reynolds on close defense while Matt Potter will man LSM and Matt Jiminez brins an extra long pole presence to the defensive unit. Another returner is senior Kyle Henry, resuming his role as the team’s primary faceoff man. Henry had a successful 2017 season in that role and Big Blue will rely on him to spark the offense once again.
Seniors Jimmy Burke and Aidan McKenna, junior Cam Littig, and sophomore Thomas Shipman return to the midfield for Attleboro. Big Blue will have some new faces on the attack with seniors TJ Infante, Shane Joubert, and Aidan Downey leading the way. Freshman Mike Strachan and Matt Perry will also be involved in Attleboro’s attack.
2017 Record: 8-10 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Bill Bendell
The Bulldogs found themselves in an unfamiliar position at the end of last season: on the outside looking in for the postseason.
Canton is looking to get back into the postseason this year after coming up just one game shy of qualifying. The Bulldogs won three straight to give themselves a chance but fell just short on the road against Abington in the final game of the season.
Using that as motivation, look for the Bulldogs to be right back in the mix this season. Leading the way will be senior captains Kevin Albert, Charlie O’Connor, and Griffin Roach. All three patrolled the midfield last season but could see time in other spots depending on how the lineup comes together.
O’Connor will step in to handle faceoffs but could miss some time early along with defensemen Brian Ghostlaw and Brendan Albert. Until Canton gets back to 100%, it will rely on senior Gabe Galeotos, junior George Kent, and sophomores Nick Mackay and Jace Emma to provide protection in front of sophomore goalie Jack Connolly. Connolly had a superb freshman season in the cage for the Bulldogs and will try to build upon that his season.
Junior Mike Shaw is back for his third year on attack for Canton, providing experience and leadership up front. Juniors Matt Martin and Dan Cohen, along with sophomores Chris Lavoie and David Allen will also figure into the Bulldogs’ offense this season.”
“We have a great group of kids this year with a nice blend of experienced players and new faces,” said CHS head coach Bill Bendell.
2017 Record: 11-9 2017 Finish: Reached D2 Central/East First Round Coach: Matt Noone
It’s safe to say Foxboro head coach Matt Noone is optimistic about the 2018 season.
The Warriors graduated just three players total and return their starting goalie, the entire defensive unit, and top three scorers from a season ago. Foxboro’s record was a bit deceiving based on how much talent they had, with five one-goal losses and two two-goal losses. The Warriors were dropped in the opening game of the playoffs by just one goal after holding a multi-goal lead in the second half.
With so much of the line up back, Noone is hoping to turn those close losses into wins.
“We’re going to be a better team than we were last year,” Noone said. “We have to play within our system, and do the simple things…if we do that, we will be very good and very tough to beat. If they don’t, we’ll be losing those one-goal games again.”
It all starts with defense in Foxboro with Jake Addeche returning in the cage for his third season. Addeche (185 saves) is one of the best goalies in the region and will have a very experienced defense in front of him. Senior Pat Kaveny and junior Pat Stapleton will anchor the defense, both with equipped with plenty of skill and experience, while sophomores Ronnie MacLellan and Matt Lathrop each already have a year of varsity experience under their belts.
Junior Brendan Tully (24 goals, 15 assists) will pace the Warriors in the midfield (“His lacrosse IQ is off the charts,” Noone notes). Tully can help transition Foxboro from defense to offense, and his ability to keep possession helps the Warriors control the tempo. Tully is complemented in the middle by seniors Louis Blake and Mike Collins while both Shayne Kerrigan and Bobby Yerardi will be in the mix as well.
Offensively, the Warriors look to be well-balanced with Louis Piccolo (25 goals, 13 assists) back this year along with senior Mike Moses (18 goals, 20 assists), junior Pete Conley (15 goals, 23 assists) and senior Andrew Whalen.
2017 Record: 16-5 2017 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Lou Verrochi
Expectations are high for the 2018 season based on the talent the Franklin Panthers boast this year.
“We return a very good team,” said FHS head coach Lou Verrochi. “We have a very good and deep bench too, we’re looking forward to the season.”
The long list of returning talent starts with All-American and 2017 HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Eric Civetti. Civetti (Rutgers commit) has been tormenting opposing defenses since his freshman year. He scored 70 goals and notched 24 assists as a sophomore, and then netted 79 goals and 21 assists last year, totaling 194 points between the two years. The Panthers will also boast senior Zach Alexander and freshman Matt Lazzaro on attack.
The midfield will be loaded with two talented lines available. Captains Kyle McEniry (10 goals, 21 assists) and Chase Tanner (29 goals, 10 assists) will be joined by the speedy Nitin Chaudhury (24 goals, 10 assists) on the Panthers first unit while Jake Davis, Johnny O’Glishen, and Owen Palmieri give Verrochi an incredibly talented second unit.
As if the midfield wasn’t loaded enough, the Panthers have 2017 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Jacob Alexander back to dominate the faceoff X. Alexander, who is committed to play at Bryant University, has dominated at the X for the past two years and really gives the Panthers an advantage in terms of getting possession. “He’s arguably the best FOGO in Mass,” Verrochi noted.
The defense will be anchored by junior Patrick Morrison (Rutgers commit) along with Trevor Raffin, Jack McGrath and Spencer Briggs. Sean Lazzaro will be our top LSM while the Panthers have plenty of talent as SSDM with Will Harvey, Ben Kolb, and Aaron Mollo in the mix. Backstopping the team in goal will be Colorado commit and captain Connor O’Rourke (169 saves, 64% save percentage).
2017 Record: 13-9 2017 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinals Coach: Hal Bean
The Warriors will be looking to replicate the success they had in the 2016 season again this year.
After finishing 9-2 in league play (second in the Kelley-Rex), the Warriors had an impressive postseason run, competing with top-seeded and eventual sectional champ BC High in the D1 South Quarterfinals.
A big reason why KP has had a lot of experience over the past four years is goalie Paul Macrina. Macrina is now manning the cage at Drexel University, so there are big shoes to fill in the cage this season for KP.
King Philip also has to find replacements for the production lost by LSM Zach D’Amico, attack Tim Watson (56 goals, 28 points – second in the Hockomock League), and defenseman Connor Khung – the first two selected to the 2017 HockomockSports.com First Team and Khung apart of the Second Team.
All is not lost though as the Warriors have junior Colin DeVellis back to spearhead the attack. DeVellis was fourth overall in the Hockomock League in points last season, scoring 22 goals and notching 36 assists (58 points). Another key piece will be senior Nate Minkwitz, who can make an impact on both ends of the field. Minkwitz had 13 goals and five assists last season and will aim to improve on that. Expect LSM Wesley Bishop and midfielder Aidan Bender to factor in this season as well.
2017 Record: 12-7 2017 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Tim Frias
Mansfield returns a good amount of talent from last year’s playoff squad so the Hornets will certainly be looking to book a return trip as well as compete for a Kelley-Rex title.
The Hornets return one of the most dangerous attackmen in the area in senior Hunter Ferreira. Ferreira’s combination of size, speed, and strength – as well as finishing ability – make him a must-watch for opposing defenses. Most will dedicate two defensemen his way but Ferreira still finished fifth in the league in points with 34 goals and 19 assists. Ferreira will be joined by returners Aidan Sacco and Mike Reed, giving the Hornets an experienced three-headed monster on offense.
The midfield is also loaded with experience behind returning starters Joe Cox (19 goals, 14 assists) and Danny DeGirolamo (17 goals, 15 assists). Cox, who was named to the 2017 HockomockSports.com Second Team, muscles his way through opponents, while DeGirolamo can use his speed to cause problems. Haig Megerdichian, Brett Kessler, Connor Quirk, and Brad Grant will all see time in the midfield as well.
Tommy Donnelly will anchor the defensive unit but the Hornets will have some new faces in back. Dan Plugis and Chris Copponi will both see a lot of minutes for the Hornets in front of goalie Jack Munroe, who stepped in last season and impressed in the cage.
“Our strength this year will be at the midfield with lots of legs,” said MHS head coach Tim Frias. “We should be good in transition as well.”
2017 Record: 4-13 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Jacob Scordato
Milford hasn’t had a ton of success overall since it joined the Hockomock League, but new head coach Jacob Scordato is hoping to change that going forward.
Scordato takes over a team that had just four wins a year ago and is the third coach in the past three years for the program.
“Our players are focused on making our program a successful one,” Scordato said. “Boys lacrosse in the Hockomock is known for being a tough league, and Milford lacrosse is going to be making a lot of noise from here on out.”
Although the Hawks don’t have an incredibly deep roster, the optimism stems from the experience returning on offense. UMass Boston commit and senior captain Andrew Gallagher (16 goals, 7 assists) will be a key weapon up front along with junior captains Ryan Hazard (41 goals, 10 assists) and Josh Ligor.
Scordato also expects junior newcomer Brendan White, who has had successful football and basketball seasons so far this school year, to make a big impact on offense for Milford. Defensively, Milford will rely on senior captain and midfielder Chase Blanchette.
2017 Record: 16-3 2017 Finish: Reached D2 Central/East Quarterfinals Coach: Kevin Young
North Attleboro graduated a lot of talent from last year’s squad, so it’s no surprise head coach Kevin Young believes this season will be a big challenge for his young squad.
Although he expects it to be a challenge, the Rocketeers have built a strong program and will likely be in the mix for the division title with Foxboro. Big Red will be anchored by defenseman and captain Tom Lockavitch (Roger Williams commit) and senior LSM Max Fontes. Both Lockavitch and Fontes had tremendous junior seasons and were both honored by HockomockSports.com (first and second teams, respectively). Sophomores Brett Labonte and Will Yeomans will round out a strong defensive unit.
One of the biggest tasks will be filling the void left in goal with Hock MVP and long-time starter Dan MacDonald now graduated. The Rocketeers have three goalies in the mix with Young noting all are working hard to claim the starting spot. Junior Jack Puccio and sophomores Nate D’Amico and Jake McNeany will all be in the mix.
Captain Tommy Lindstrom (Springfield commit) will pace the offense with the help of sophomores Jack Connolly and Andy DeMattio. Faceoff specialist Jason McNeany (Cocker College commit) is also back and will be a key piece of the offense. Nick Ward, Damien Curtis, and Dan Conroy should carry the transition in the midfield with help from Ryan Rajotte and Matt McSweeney.
2017 Record: 8-10 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Ben Devlin
Oliver Ames nearly made it two straight years in the postseason but came up just one game shy of qualifying in 2017. So the goal is simple for the Tigers in 2018: get back to the tournament.
The Tigers return their top six scorers from last season, and now with a year more experience under their belts, should be ready to take on some of the top defenses in the league.
Assistant coach Ben Devlin takes over the reigns of the program, and the familiarity should help make for a smooth transition. Senior captains Eric LeBlanc (30 goals, 13 assists) and Owen Gallagher will spearhead the attack while senior captain Jack Lang will make an impact on both ends of the field while also handling faceoff duties. Junior Colin Bourne and sophomores Sam Stevens and Shane Kilkelly give the Tigers varsity experience in the midfield. Sophomore Frankie Ireland and freshman Remi Creighton will also figure into the mix on offense.
Devlin will have holes to fill on the defensive end but its excited about the skill that the Tigers have. Shane Murphy, Cullen Gallagher, and Matt Saba will be relied upon to carry the defensive unit while Rory Madden will handle LSM duties after missing last season. Nick Gillis will take over for Sean Cosgrove in net after impressing at the JV level.
“We are a couple years into rebuilding this program, which is difficult while playing in such a tough conference against some of the best players and coaches in the state,” Devlin said. “We’re young and inexperienced, but talented on defense. All I can ask is for my kids to play to their capabilities. If we do that I think we can win enough games this season to reach our goal.”
2017 Record: 7-11 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Jon Shocket
New head coach Jon Shocket is excited and optimistic that the 2018 season will be a successful one on the lacrosse field for the Sharon Eagles.
Shocket believes the Eagles have the lacrosse IQ and skill to get back to the postseason after missing out on qualification by two wins. A big reason for the optimism is the senior class.
“I have a really good senior group,” Shocket said. “If everyone buys into the system and trusts the process, this should be a fun season. This year, we have to make better decisions and move the ball around. It’s about working as a team instead of as individuals.”
The Eagles have experience at all positions on the field, starting with returning goalie Johnny Greenberg. Greenberg enters his third year as the starting goalie and will have good size in front of him. Both Sam Spencer and Coleman Loftus stand at 6’2 and look to be key pieces in the Eagles’ defensive unit.
In the midfield, Jimmy Fitzhenry, Chase Waxman, and Spencer Hall give the Eagles a well-balanced and experienced group. The three provide a combination of speed, strength, and skill that will help Sharon transition from defense to offense. Junior Matt Callan will handle faceoff duties while freshman LSM Tyler Freidman will be in the mix as well.
Senior Brett Litner brings a strong shot to the offense and will be tough to stop on the inside. Classmate Kadin Nestler gives the Eagles speed on the outside and makes the move from midfield to attack this year. Freshman Drew Litner rounds out the Eagles’ attacking unit.
2017 Record: 4-12 2017 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Pat Healey
After winning four games in its inaugural season at the varsity level, Stoughton boys lacrosse is hoping to continue heading in the right direction this spring.
The Knights picked up wins over Milford twice, Taunton, and Norton and will look to be in competition with those squads again this year. Leading the blue collar group will be captains Justin Ly, Sean Doherty, and Danny Nakhili. Ly is a three-sport athlete that is willing to do the dirty work, Nakhili provides a lot of leadership in the midfield and uses his speed to give the offense a boost, and Doherty will handle the faceoff duties and provide an offensive punch.
Twins Nate and Alex Wilson bring skill to the long poles, Marty Barrett and Josh Cohen will be key pieces on defense, and Charlie Morgan, Luke Bainton, and Mike Tracey will all be in the mix offensively.
“I’m hoping for more wins,” said SHS head coach Pat Healey said in an interview with Stoughton Media Access. “Last year we got four under our belt which is great for a first-year program. We brought up a lot of freshmen this year from the youth program. But baby steps, this is a tough league so we’ll do as best as we can.
Now in its third year as a varsity program, Taunton is aiming to progress day by day to continue to build the program.
The Tigers went without a win last season but bring seven starters back with another year of success on their belts. Junior goalie Ryan Williams returns in cage to give the Tigers a familiar face on the defensive end. Williams has been manning the cage for Taunton since the team moved to a varsity schedule.
In front of Williams will be junior Justin Demoga, a captain, that handles close defense. Head coach Brendan Chambers noted Demoga is great with positioning, takes a great approach, and is willing to learn and improve every day. Chambers noted Demoga will be tasked with menacing opponents’ best attack throughout the season.
In the midfield, junior captain Dylan Nichols provides leadership and experience for the Tigers. Nichols has the speed to make an impact on both ends of the field and Chambers is hoping for some offensive production out of the junior. Nichols will be joined by senior Chris Kanabayashi who will contribute to the offense with his hard shot.
Junior Noah Kuczewski is making the jump from JV to varsity and will be one of the Tigers’ main pieces on attack. Chambers is also relying on junior captain Joel Delgado, who put a lot of time in during the offseason to improve, to be an important part of the offense.
“Our goal this year is to continue to build on what we did last year,” Chambers said. “We want to increase our lacrosse IQ and try to be more competitive in all our games. Ideally, we’ll win a couple games and get better every day.”
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Back in April, North Attleboro boys lacrosse saw its second half comeback effort against King Philip fall just short.
Fast forward to Friday afternoon where no come back was necessary. In fact, the Rocketeers were in driver’s seat the entire way, racing out to an early lead and never looking back to pick up a convincing 10-3 win.
With the win, North Attleboro clinched at least a share of its first ever Davenport division title; also the program’s first ever league title.
“I think we worked together as a team, on both ends of the field,” said North Attleboro head coach Kevin Young on the biggest difference between the two games. “It wasn’t just one guy trying to drive the crease and everyone else watch. Everybody out there was pretty conscious of the transition game, both offense and defense. [King Philip’s] Paul Macrina is one of the best outlet goalies in the league so we always had someone high all the time – that seemed to work. It was a great effort on both sides, I was very happy with the guys today.”
While the Rocketeers were limited to just one goal in the first half of the first meeting between the two, it took North just one quarter to find the back of the net three times.
In the first minute of play, Owen Costello found some space and then found the back of the net to put North up 1-0. The Rocketeers continued its strong start when Zach McGowan found Nick Moore in front for a bounce shot less than four minutes into the game. Big Red’s lead grew to three shortly after with McGowan again assisting. This time the senior connected with Tommy Lindstrom for a man up goal.
King Philip’s Tim Watson found Colin DeVellis with a perfectly weighted pass over the goal and the sophomore finished to bring the Warriors within two by the close of the first quarter.
“They came out a little more intense than us to start,” said King Philip head coach Jamie Stefanini. “And then just mental errors. Guys missing assignments, not communicating on defense, and just throwing the ball away — just simple stuff you can’t do. When you play a quality team like North Attleboro, you can’t throw it away.”
North Attleboro tacked on two more goals in the second quarter with McGowan having a hand in both of them.
First, the senior attack took control of possession, dodged around and defenseman as he raced from behind the net. McGowan released a shot as he curled toward goal and found the back of the net top shelf. Minutes later, McGowan connected with Costello as he eluded his mark in front for a quick goal to make it 5-1 heading into half.
The Rocketeers continued to build their lead into the second half. After neither side scored for the first eight minutes, Colin Young found the back of the net on a feed from Jack Dakin. Moore grabbed his second to put North up 7-1.
King Philip had an answer when Watson recorded his second point of the game, sneaking one in from a tight angle to cut it to 7-2.
If there was any hope for a comeback, it was quickly erased when North scored in transition just one minute in. Freshman Will Yeomans scooped up a loose ball and raced into the attacking zone. When he defense committed, he dropped the ball off to McGowan for an easy finish in close.
King Philip cut it back to five when Aidan Bender converted a feed from John DeLuca, but that would be the Warriors’ last tally.
Young grabbed his second on a nice tic-tac-toe play with passes coming from Moore and McGowan. Dakin then found the back of the net from distance after a simple pass from McGowan.
McGowan (two goals, five assists) paced North’s offense with seven points.
“He’s controlling our offense,” Young said. “He’s smart, he calls the right plays all the time. If he gets the ball and controls the ball, we’re in much better shape. He’s just calm with the ball.
We have a lot of seniors this year that are getting playing time and you can see the difference. Last year we were losing the one goal games, now we’re winning them or we’re getting up early. We traded blows with KP last game and ti went right down to the wire. We were hoping to get up early and we did.”
“My assistant coach John Hensey has been working on some defensive schemes that are really working well,” Young said. “There’s no one that doesn’t have a job. All the slides were set. We have a couple of different sets based on who we play and who is carrying the ball. The defense can play with confidence because Danny is in net and he’s killing it.”
North Attleboro boys lacrosse (11-2 overall, 8-1 league) is back in action against Attleboro in a non-league game. The Rocketeers can win the Davenport title outright with either a win over Mansfield or Stoughton, or a loss from Foxboro. King Philip (10-5, 7-2) is back in action on on Saturday, hosting Walpole.
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The Hornets got off to a great start against Kelley-Rex rival North Attleboro in a non-league meeting on Friday afternoon. Behind two of Bill Grant’s three goals, Mansfield took a 4-0 lead in the first half and that turned out to be the difference.
The Rocketeers closed the gap with a fourth quarter rally but in the end the early deficit proved to be too much and Mansfield held on for an 8-5 victory.
“That was the really difference that our guys popped out to,” said Mansfield coach Tim Frias, “and, you know, North is a great team, they’re well-coached and you see them work hard after every ball, so nothing’s safe.”
North Attleboro coach Kevin Young, whose young team only has three seniors in the starting lineup, admitted that the lack of intensity at the start hurt on Friday.
He said, “That class last year was nice and strong, carried the load, so these guys have to step up and learn and they are. The second half was good…made a push at the end.
“We just have to get confident, start working together, and not make JV kid mistakes.”
Grant opened the scoring inside the opening minute off a feed from Connor Finerty. The score would stay the same for nearly seven minutes before Grant won a ground ball and then fed it to Ryan Smith, who had his first shot saved by Danny MacDonald but batted in the rebound.
Sam O’Connell made it 3-0 for the Hornets before the end of the first quarter off a great pass from Jon Reed from the ‘X.’ The Mansfield passing moved the North defense around and got MacDonald to chase out of his crease for a second to allow space in front for O’Connell.
“That’s the philosophy we’re working on on offense,” said Frias. “The faster you move the ball, the more opportunities you’ll get, especially with a lot of guys that can shoot. Move it around and you’ll get open and they’re getting it.”
North had a few chances in the first quarter. Sean Powers made three of his seven saves in the half and the Rocketeers hit the post twice, including a chance for Zack McGowan that smacked off the bar from close range. One shot by Owen Costello slipped past Powers but the muddy field held the ball just short of the line and the goalie was able to cover in time to prevent the goal.
Grant tacked on his second goal of the game on a man-up three minutes into the second quarter, but North was finally able to get on the board on its own EMO when freshman Nick Ward fired a shot inside the post.
In the second half, Finerty restored the four-goal lead on an assist by Hunter Ferreira, as the senior cut through the middle of the North defense. On a turnover, Ferreira got his first to make it 6-1 and it looked like Mansfield could run away with the game.
But, North had an answer. Costello beat his man to the middle and despite heavy contact was able to get a shot away and beat Powers. Shortly after, Colin Young beat the Mansfield defense in transition after a strong clear and made it 6-3.
Frias laughed when asked if the muddy field affected his team, which is used to playing on turf. He said, “It slows you down and they take advantage of it on some of their clears. It was brilliant how they had great clears and we almost lost it based off of that and make it into a race.”
The North defense started to clamp down after the break and limited the chances for the Hornets and was aided by MacDonald, who made five of his nine saves in the second half.
“We have Danny in net this year, last year he was on attack,” explained Young. “That’s his position and I expect him to go far. He’s kind of a young kid too but he stepped up and made some huge saves. He’s been outstanding for us.”
The defense could only hold out so long, as Grant beat his close defender with a head fake to the back of the cage and then a spin move into the middle before depositing his shot to MacDonald’s left to complete his hat trick.
“That always helps,” said Frias of getting a hat trick from Grant. “Between him, Hunter, and Connor you figure we’re going to get one out of one of those guys.”
Smith fed Reed for his second goal of the game to make it 8-3, but North did not give up and managed to cut into the lead with a pair of quick transitions in the final minute.
McGowan beat his defender and then finished just under the bar and then Collin Young tacked on his second on a man-up in the final 30 seconds to cut the lead to three.
“That sense of urgency has to come all game,” said Young, “it can’t come just because we need a goal with a minute left. I think they’ll mature. The kids I have now will grow into people as strong as the teams we graduated.”
Frias admitted he was starting “down the path” to being nervous as North scored two quick goals, but he was proud of his team’s strong start to the season.
“That’s a credit to these seniors,” he said. “They’ve played on some very good teams, we’ve just had a hard time grinding it out. They’ve lived it so now they’re grinding it and they’re coming together.”
Mansfield (4-1) will face Hanover on Tuesday, while North Attleboro (2-2) will travel to Taunton.
Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.