Friday, June 28, 2013

Central Mass Finishes Strong in Final ESPN Boston Poll

There were plenty of goals to celebrate this season for St. John's

By Joe Parello  @HerewegoJoe

As I mentioned before, it was a banner year for Central Mass lacrosse, and my buds over at ESPN Boston took notice, ranking three CMass squads in their postseason Top-25.

Central Mass champion St. John's was the region's only Top-10 team, checking in at No. 8, while runner-up Grafton finished at No. 12. After struggling with early season injuries, Algonquin managed to get healthy for the regular season's home stretch and playoffs. The T-Hawks won six of their final eight (Only two losses to St. John's) to advance to the CMass semifinals and earn a No. 23 ranking.

The T-Hawks have now finished as a consensus Top-25 team in the state the last three years.

The poll also lists a "Last 10 Out" that includes Shrewsbury and Westboro. Shrewsbury held high-powered Grafton to single goal in the first half of their CMass semifinal game, but were unable to hold off a second-half surge by the Indians.

Westboro, on the other hand, was dealt a hard draw and had to face St. John's on the road in the quarterfinals.

After winning the Division I crown, Xaverian was named the state's top team. While it is certainly hard to argue with awarding the winner of the state's toughest division the top spot, I would have gone with undefeated Division II champion Longmeadow. The Lancers were flat-out dominant this year, and the only common opponent they and Xaverian played that I know enough about is St. John's.

The Pioneers defeated Xaverian, while falling twice to Longmeadow. That, in my admittedly incomplete opinion, is why I voted Longmeadow No. 1.

You can see the complete rankings here.

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