Monday, April 20, 2015

Postgame Blog: St. John's Runs Past Grafton

St. John's attack Jared Ward looks for space against Grafton.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

On a rainy, windy, chilly afternoon in Shrewsbury, host St. John's overcame a sloppy start to route Grafton 10-0 and put the rest of Central Mass lacrosse on notice.

The Pioneers win came in a game that featured the Top-2 teams in our Central Mass Lacrosse Power Rankings, and featured an avalanche of a third quarter that saw St. John's win every face-off of the period and rattle off seven goals.

"Coach (Terry Leary) harps on assisted goals, so we really brought that through in the third quarter and that's what got us through," St. John's senior Jared Ward said. "First quarter, we were doing a lot of one-on-one stuff. We weren't moving the ball, it was really just a stagnant offense. But, once we get one in transition it usually comes. So, when it rains it pours, they say."

Ward and Cox Get Things Going

During a sloppy start that saw St. John's struggle to clear the ball and deal with the rainy conditions, the Pioneers turned to their two stars to get them on track. Junior middie Andrew Cox got things going, scoring in transition off a pass from Drew Kozub early in the second, and senior attack Jared Ward stretched the lead to three by scoring a pair of transition goals within a span of 20 seconds just moments later.

"The first couple of goals, whenever any team scores a couple goals they start to feel it and get in the groove," middie Sam Rogers said. "Especially with us. We see Jared score a couple of goals, he cellys (lax bro slang for "celebrates." More info here) over to himself over there, so we get fired up and kind of build on that emotion."

The Best in Central Mass

With the win St. John's asserted itself as the best team in Central Mass… For now. St. John's still has a lot of lacrosse to play, both in and out of the region, but coach Terry Leary likes where his guys are at.

"I didn't think we'd played really a full, complete game (up until Saturday)," Leary said. "I think today, for these conditions, we did the best we could… I think this is a young team. Last year Jared and (now graduated) Drew (Smiley) scored everything. This year I think if we're not spreading the scoring around, we're in trouble. So that's what I'm looking for, and there was some of that today, so that's why I was happy with today's result."

And the Pioneers were balanced, with six different players scoring goals, and four players scoring twice. Check out the bottom of the blog for all notable statistics.

What's Next for Grafton?

Despite the loss, the Indians are still off to a fabulous start at 7-1. Grafton played great defense early, led by goalie Cadrin Msumba, but an inability to possess the ball led to the dam breaking against a great St. John's offense.

Grafton's next game Thursday at Weston should tell us more about the Indians' postseason chances in Division 3 that this muddy disappointment. If the Indians can handle Weston, they'll be a legit favorite in Division 3 Central/West.

The attack was stymied by a talented Pioneers back line and the elements, but Chase Kapuscienski and Hunter Fraser each have explosive potential, and the defense actually acquitted itself quite well against St. John's, except for a few breakdowns against cutting middies in the third.

The Indians remains a complete team with a ton of potential, but bouncing back from this deflating defeat will be the first adversity they've faced all season. How they handle it will go a long way.

Redemption on the Mind for St. John's?

The Pioneers will host Groton-Dunstable Wednesday, but most St. John's fans are already looking forward to their home date with cross-town rival Shrewsbury on Saturday. The game will be the first time these teams have met since Shrewsbury's historic upset of St. John's in last year's playoffs, and even St. John's players are split on how to view Saturday's shot at redemption.

"It's just another regular season game," Ward said. "It ain't playoffs yet, so we're just going to go out with the same attitude we've been going at games all year."

"I wish we could just say it was just like any other game," Rogers said. "But we actually have a poster of the Shrewsbury team celebrating on our field in our locker room, so we're ready to go this year."

Notable Statistics

St. John's

Parker Jean- 5 pts (2G, 3A)
Jared Ward- 3 pts (2G, 1A), 1 GB
Andrew Cox- 2 pts (2G), 2 GB
Sam Rogers- 2 pts (2G), 1 GB
Chris Coburn 1 pt (1G)
Jake O'Donnell- 1 pt (1G)
Drew Kozub- 2 pts (2A), 1 GB
Brendan Doherty- 4 GB
John DeFlumeri- 3 GB
Jack Coveney- 3 GB
Hunter Gaither- 3 saves, 0 goals allowed

1 comment :

Aleke Msumba said...

Nice, balanced assessment. I think we were at
the same game. Too bad Grafton couldn't generate
some more offense to keep things interesting. Should
be a fun rest of the season.