Friday, May 23, 2014

CMass Lax Tournament Brackets Released: (Semi) Rapid Reaction

Worcester goalie Sean Moran (16) had 14 saves in the Warriors' historic win over Grafton last week.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

The MIAA released the brackets for the 2014 boys lacrosse tournaments today, and Central Mass squads will play for a title in three different districts; D2 Central/West, D3 Central/West and D3 Central/East.

I will have a full playoff preview coming soon, but here are some quick thoughts on each district.

Division 2 Central/West

Click to enlarge
My initial impression of this bracket is that it is an absolute bear. After the preliminary round, everybody except for top seeds Longmeadow and St. John's will be in for a war.

Algonquin vs South Hadley on Tuesday should be a great one, especially with the Tomahawks getting contributions from everybody lately. Coach Luongo always seems to get his team peaking right in time for the playoffs. Westboro is faced with an interesting match up against the 14-2, but relatively untested Chicopee Pacers.

Westfield has enjoyed a great season, but if Wachusett can find whatever magic it had when it beat Shrewsbury a few weeks back, that game could be competitive as well. Shepherd Hill's seven-game winning streak was snapped by Grafton this week, but the Rams are as hot a lower seed as there is in the state. They've been scoring goals in bunches, but finding room to work against Shrewsbury's suffocating defense won't be easy.

The game I'm most interested in is Worcester (listed in the bracket as Doherty) hosting Leominster. I haven't gotten a chance to see the Blue Devils yet this season, but the year they've had (winning 11 of their last 12) has grabbed my attention.

This is a tough draw for both teams, as I thought both would be seeded a little higher and have the chance to make some real noise. As things stand right now, the winner here will have to face powerhouse St. John's in the quarterfinals.

Obviously, beating the Pioneers is a tough order for anybody in the state these days.

Division 3 Central/West

There are fewer CMass teams in this bracket, but somebody in the region could take home the D3 CW title. Grafton sits as the No.2 seed, and there doesn't appear to be a worthy challenger for the Indians until the regional semifinal.

One of those challengers could be Assabet, who has rarely been challenged, but has made short work of most of its competition this year. They rank second to Blackstone Valley Tech amongst the vocational schools in the area, and I wouldn't count them out, even against mighty Grafton.

Getting back to BVT, the Beavers should have their hands full with Belchertown in the first round, and if they advance would face a Herculean task in round two. BVT has some recent tournament success to point toward though, so this isn't exactly a team that hasn't been here before.

But, of all the CMass teams in this district, St. Bernard's has the toughest road. Led by attackman Curtiss Vachon, SB's is normally high-scoring, but they've been held down by athletic defenses like Wachusett and Leominster in recent weeks. They can expect to see some speed when they go against Wahconah in round one and Western Mass power Mt. Greylock in round two.

Division 3 Central/East

Click to enlarge
We get an all CMass affair in the 7-10 game, with Hudson traveling to Littleton. The Tigers blasted Hudson 11-4 in the teams' first meeting in early May, but just three days later the Hawks returned the favor with a 9-8 win.

Who takes home the rubber match? Who knows, but Littleton is the "hotter" team, having won four in a row, while Hudson comes in losers of its last three.

Groton-Dunstable would have made the tournament in Division 2, so I think they're actually a little under-seeded at No. 6 here. If you're looking for a sleeper, it's the Crusaders, led by do-it-all middie Quintin Forbes.

Tyngsboro also hangs its hat on solid midfield play, and high-scoring middie Ben Foley will have to play well for the Tigers to get past a solid Weston squad.

No comments :