Boys’ Lacrosse Season Preview
FITCHBURG -- The St. Bernard’s (18-2) boys had one of the best springs of lacrosse in this area in quite a while a year ago, and the Bernies and head coach Mike Kelley will look to do just as much damage this year.
When you return four of your top five scorers, plus reload with a talented midfield, yeah ... it can happen.
2018 graduated seniors: Joe Lelli, Sean McCue, Nick Bagley, Paul Couture, Nathan Ageyman, Tim O’Connell
2019 key returners: Mick Ginnity (attack, senior), Mike Provencher (attack, senior), Dom Valera (midfield faceoff, senior), Ben Shaw (long stick midfield, senior), Ben Goolsby (defense, junior), Brian Mahoney (defense, senior), Mike Root (attack/midfield, senior), Liam Fluharty (long stick midfield, senior)
2019 notable newcomers: Matt Smith (attack, sophomore), Jacob Banchs (defense, sophomore), Nico Mancini (midfield, sophomore), Declan Fluharty (goal, freshman), Jaxson Poirier (midfield, junior), Tyler Thibodeau (midfield, sophomore)
Bagley graduated with 109 interscholastic points (80 goals, 29 helpers), and so Kelley needs to replace all of that. But he also has to find a new goalie, and we believe he has it in Declan Fluharty.
St. B’s defense should be strong, and that should help the Blue and Gold return to the postseason for the sixth straight year.
Leominster (9-10) made the postseason a year ago and looks to return again, but it will have to do it without the firepower in last year’s team.
2018 graduated seniors: John Doherty, Jack Cordio, Tyrese Perez, Dan Reed, Hayden Greene, Ross Howlett, Joe Russo, Brendan McBride, Brayden Schuster, Corey Tumenas, Nik Hemley, Nate Glynn, Jacob Stover
2019 key returners: Ken Aubuchon, Evan Falandys (goalies), Tano Dandini, Ethan Paine, Dan Grautski, Connor Marchand, Blake Donahue, Kyle Philbin, Peter Spylios (defenders), Anthony Larson, Jimmy Kran, LJ Van Molle, Adam Couch, Lucas Taylor, Ryan Aiesi, Jack Philbin (midfielders), Zach Moran, Therron Glynn, Cam DeWolf, Nate Taylor (attack)
2019 notable newcomers: Zane Dawson (attack), Nico Cordio, Kai Crawford, Bailey Allain, Mike Rochette (midfield), Dom Delgado (defense), Lance Savage (goalie)
Head coach Colin Davis lost Howlett, the all-time Leominster leading scorer, as well as Doherty and Cordio due to that silly thing called graduation, but look at how much the Blue Devils have coming back. Davis is high on both of his goalies, who are college-level tenders who can also play in the midfield (#versatile).
But in front of those two is key: LHS’ defense sees six seniors returning. Offensively, Couch is Couch, and Dawson is hungry for time as Leominster returns some solid scoring.
Nashoba Regional (12-8) lost quite a bit of scoring punch in Bryce Chaput, but Matt Biggs has plenty returning.
2018 graduated seniors: Bryce Chaput, Graham Chapman, Bennett MacGregor, Aidan Gross, Mike Noonan, Dom Stolfi
2019 key returners: Rory Boots, Anders Fish, Kam Gilchrest
2019 notable newcomers: Large incoming freshman class
Biggs will have Fish -- one of the top faceoff specialists in the area -- back, as well as Gilchrest in front of the cage, and a plethora of returning players from last year’s side. That freshman class will be key, as they’ll fight for time, too.
We’re never worried about Nashoba. Biggs will have things set right, and if it takes a year of experience to get things done, then so be it.
Lunenburg was 9-9 a year ago, and the Blue Knights were in pretty much every game they played -- they lost five games by three goals or fewer -- and head coach Matt Fratturelli believes his squad can make a solid run at the postseason again.
And it all starts in the offensive end.
2018 graduated seniors: Robby Carpenter, Alex Stillman
2019 key returners: Senior Long Poles Jake Bremer, Luke Dufresne and Nick Hall, Attackmen Declan Fitzpatrick, Donovan Powell, Pino Montemurro and Dawson Powell, Midfielders Nick Huntington, Ethan Whipple Chris Chow, Mason Infantino, Seamus Gordon
2019 notable newcomers: Brendan Ware, Sean Keohan, Connor Viviano, Colby Sprague
Fitzpatrick, of course, missed a good chunk of the season last spring with a broken jaw, but that didn’t stop him on his return: He went on to register 61 points. Donovan Powell is his attack partner, and he, too, can score: Powell had 49 goals last year.
But that’s not all: Dawson Powell can score, and Fratturelli has Viviano on the roster, too? Wowsa. Is it wrong that I’m feeling bad for Lunenburg’s opponents when it comes to defending him right now?
We’e liking what we’re hearing about Ware and Keohan wanting to press for time in the defense, and Zachary Pearson will be in front of the cage for the Blue Knights.
Monty Tech sees a change as Jason Dupuis is now the head coach; the Bulldogs did not make the postseason last spring.
2018 graduated seniors: Eric Glover, Trevor Dupuis, Mike Lee, Ben Tolman, Cody Bridge
2019 key returners: Andrew Cormier (midfield), Devon Sauer (goalie), Damitrius Sayarath (defender), Victor Ramirez (defender), Jake Rickaw (midfielder)
2019 notable newcomers: Samuel Gonzales
Dupuis will be taking things game by game in 2019, with the strength of the team coming at the back end: Sayarath, we’ve said it before, is a big body, and Sauer has to limit the damage in the cage.
The Oakmont Regional boys (11-6) won their league last year with a rather veteran side; it was so veteran that it lost 11 seniors due to graduation, as well as a junior who transferred out. What does Pete Romano’s team have this season?
More of the same, more than likely.
2018 graduated seniors: 11 seniors
2019 key returners: Keegan McMahon (D), Spencer Bartkus (G), Brendan Pelkey (A), Patrick O’Hara (LSM), Connor Roering (M/FO)
2019 notable newcomers: Seth Deneault (M), Brett Fells (A), Dawson Heff (D)
Romano says this group is a different team with a different set of skills, but with a great deal of returning players, they know what to do in order to repeat in the league.
Pelkey was the fifth-leading scorer on the team, and Romano will look his way quite a bit to find the back of the net. He’s also looking toward Fells and Deneault for scoring production.
In the back, Romano says that Bartkus’ voice will be imperative to the defense’s success, as he can communicate what’s going on to the defensive unit. McMahon is the rock in the back, and the Spartans will rely heavily on O’Hara.
Freshman long pole Drake Nelson will also see time in that third defensive spot.
At North MIddlesex Regional, head coach Sean McCaffrey has some depth returning, especially in front of the cage and at many positions.
2018 graduated seniors: Nigel Lothrop, Josh Harrison, Zach Libonate, Paul O’Friel, Connor Clermont Aaron Berry, Josh Levasseur
2019 key returners: Charles Loucraft (D), Ryan Radwich (D/LSM), Abada Nkwantah (A), Theo Koeleman (M), Justin Biondi (M), Jacob Talmer (M)
2019 notable newcomers: Jacob Talmer (m), Nick Diette (M), Joe Polito (A/M), TJ Murphy (M), Tom Cowgill (D, LSM)
Nkwantah is going to find a challenge from Polito in the scoring department, with plenty of talent in the midfield.
There’s plenty of experience at defense, but look at those newcomers: Diette, Polito, Murphy, and Cowgill are all freshmen and sophomores, so McCaffrey has plenty to work with over the next three or four seasons.
Fitchburg had a tough season last year, but with quite a bit returning, coach Gaetano Giambrocco is hoping the Red and Gray earns its first postseason berth in program history. The foundation has been laid, and now is the time to jump.
2019 key returners: captains Dan Dudek and Angel Santiago, along with seniors Khoi Dang-Nguyen, Zech Adamu, Austin Manning, Jacob Davis, and Terrell McLean
Dudek was a Mid-Wach C all-star at attack, so the Red Raiders will look to him to handle a good deal of scoring. Kobe Louangsabouth is also a scoring threat in attack. Junior defenseman Dylan Araujo is expected to keep goaltender Austin Manning safe. Angel Santiago returns as well as a two-way midfielder.
The Red Raiders have a good deal of athleticism in this side, and also welcome a new defensive coach in James Costa, who played four years at Assumption. A big get for Giambrocco.