Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Post Game Blog: Shrewsbury Earns Another Statement Win Against Grafton

Shrewsbury senior midfielder Derric Dell'Olio
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Big wins and suffocating defense have come to define the 2014 season for the Shrewsbury Colonials, and Thursday morning's vacation week game against CMass power Grafton was no different.

As a reminder, this is just a blog with my wandering thoughts on the game. If you want a complete recap, head over to BostonLaxNet a little later when the story is posted. If you'd like to see my highlights from this game, you can click here.

I also suggest you click that little wheel in the lower right hand corner and change the quality to HD.

On a Roll

After ending Algonquin's three-year Mid Wach winning streak with a suffocating 5-1 victory, the Colonials blasted previously unbeaten Littleton 17-2. It goes without saying that they came into this game with a ton of momentum, but I don't think anybody saw a 10-1 blowout coming against one of the best programs in the region.

But that's just what the Colonials did, and what's even scarier is this could have been a whole lot worse.

Shrewsbury struggled to even possess the ball in the first quarter, and when Alex Chin snuck a goal in with one second left in the opening period, you could almost feel the entire Colonial bench breathe a sigh of relief.

Then the onslaught began.

Dell'Olio Does It All

Senior midfielder Derric Dell'Olio showed up a bunch in the box score- a pair of goals and four ground balls- but his impact went far beyond that. He was calm and decisive with the ball on offense, and seemingly always in the right place in defensive and ground ball situations.

He also proved to be a vocal leader late in the game, shouting out commands and getting his younger teammates in the right place and playing at the rate pace as the Colonials looked to close things out. Like I said, he made many contributions that didn't show up in the box score, but that's what senior leaders do, and Dell'Olio is one of the best senior leaders in the region.

Couture's Dominance

Shrewsbury senior defenseman Griffin Couture is a big dude. Like, you would not be at all surprised to learn that he was a standout offensive/defensive lineman for Shrewsbury's football team. What would surprise you is how darn quick is he for a big guy.

He ran with Grafton sophomore Chase Kapuscienski all day, not an easy task considering the star attackman's water bug quickness. Still, Couture bodied him up and flustered him for the majority of the game. Kapusciencski did score Grafton's only goal, something Couture blamed himself for after the game, but Shrewsbury was already up 7-0 at that point late in the third with the outcome long since decided.

Couture is your early favorite for Defensive Player of the Year in Central Mass.

Showdown With St. John's Looming

For attacks looking to score on Shrewsbury, it's going to take more than speed and skill to get past Couture, and eventually beat star goalie Chris Gorman. You're going to need strength as well, and that brings us to Saturday's showdown with St. John's.

The Colonials will get home field advantage for this cross-town rivalry and CMass favorite crowning game, but Couture and the Shrewsbury defense will face their biggest test yet in star Pioneer attackman and Navy commit Drew Smiley.

If you're looking for one attackman vs defenseman match up to watch in CMass this season, this is it. Couture vs Smiley is going to be a war, not just because both guys can really play, but because both are big and brutally strong as well.

With realignment, there is no longer a true Central Mass tournament, so each of these teams still has to worry about state No. 1 Longmeadow from Western Mass. But, the winner of this game will have the inside track to a top-two seed in Division 2 Central/West.

I'll be there taking video and live tweeting, if you're curious.


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