Saturday, May 10, 2014

Post Game Blog: Grafton Edges Worcester in a Thriller

Grafton's Chase Kapuscienski (25) celebrates his game-winning goal with teammate Nick Hart (5). Hart had the assist.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Here is your weekly reminder that this blog is simply my wandering thoughts on the game, not a full recap. If you would like the whole story, head on over to BostonLaxNet. The story should be up soon, and will feature a few photos I grabbed, along with complete highlights from this 7-6 nail-biter.

If you just want to watch the highlights, you can find those here.

Worcester is For Real

Many believed the Warriors' 11-0 record coming into the Grafton game was the product of a soft schedule, but I thought they really showed something against an established program in Grafton. While the end result wasn't what they wanted, I was very impressed with James Bowler on attack and Jahmal Bryan-Massop in the midfield. Both of those guys have crazy speed, and if I were doing my Central Mass All Star team right now, they'd be on it.

On the whole, you got the feeling that Worcester's top-10 guys could play with anybody, and they could certainly match up with anybody physically and athletically. After that, however, the Warriors are very green, and that lack of depth showed late in the game.

Coach Harry Jones blamed himself for not substituting enough, and Worcester came up empty on all of its late-game possessions with the score tied at six.

Grafton coach Alan Rotatori, on the other hand, came away incredibly impressed with Worcester's conditioning and resilience.

"During warmups you could tell (Worcester) had a lot of freshmen and guys that hadn't played a lot," Rotatori said. "Those guys never touched the field, so their top guys are in awesome shape! I mean, holy cow, those guys are in awesome shape. They did not get tired. I never saw them get tired. That was kind of a wake up call for us, because I don't want to ever get beat because we're not in shape. I saw some of our guys hobbling off the field because they couldn't breathe, so we're gonna, uh… I have some time, we're gonna fix it."

Rotatori was laughing and joking about the last part… Sort of.

A Sophomore Sensation

Despite the great play of the Worcester guys I just mentioned, Grafton sophomore Chase Kapuscienski was the best player on the field. His four goals, including the game-winner with two seconds left on the clock, were the definition of a guy putting the team on his back.

You'd expect that from a junior or senior, as Grafton did the last two years from the dynamic duo of Bryan Rotatori and Tyler Reilly, but with a sophomore doing it, you know this team's best days are to come. The Indians are very young by their standards. They've enjoyed the benefits of veteran leadership the last two seasons, but I don't think anybody wants to run into Grafton right now with Kapuscienski playing this well.

Not Satisfied

Rotatori mentioned that he totally revamped the Indians' system, on both ends, after a disappointing loss to Wachusett two weeks ago. He said he just wasn't getting through to his players, and that he felt he was forcing something on them that they didn't understand.

He took some ownership for Grafton's slow start, that included big losses to regional powers St. John's and Shrewsbury, but also said that he isn't going to let youth be an excuse for poor play.

"We're not satisfied with that level of play," Rotatori said of his team's early season struggles. "We lost to St. John's, an awesome team. But, should they have beaten us 11-1? Absolutely not. Shrewsbury, another great team, and they played really well against us. But, should they have beaten us 10-1? Absolutely not. There's a higher standard for us here in Grafton, and these kids understand that, and that's why they accept a little in your face motivation. They know I care about them, and I want them to get better, and that's the most important thing."


Anonymous said...

This game was won by the entire Grafton team - including the goal tending, face-offs, ground balls, assists, etc. No one player carried the team.

Joe Parello said...

Most definitely. Just wanted to give Chase props for a great game. He was phenomenal Saturday.

Anonymous said...

Keep your head on a swivel