Sunday, June 7, 2015

2015 CMass Lacrosse District Semifinals Preview

Algonquin middie Mike Martens has been dominant at the faceoff-X and prolific offensively for the T-Hawks this year.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

The MIAA lacrosse district semis begin Monday, and there are still four Central Mass squads fighting for championships. Thus far, the tournament has brought us some surprising results, and some old mainstays living up to their reputations.

Let's took a look back at the games already played, and forward to the semifinals.

Ed. Note- The Division 2 and 3 Central/West semis were scheduled for Tuesday, June 9th, but were pushed back to Wednesday due to rain. The new times for the games are as follows:

D2 Central/West
Algonquin at Westfield- 5 pm
St. John's at Longmeadow- 7 pm 
D3 Central/West
Lee at Grafton- 5:30 pm

Division 2 Central/West
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This district's biggest surprise may not have been an upset, but the score still turned some heads across the state. After falling to crosstown rival Shrewsbury 8-3 earlier this year, St. John's put together its best game of the season, knocking off the Colonials by a final score of 16-3.

We knew all bets were off in this rivalry rematch. After all, St. John's had defeated Shrewsbury 11-0 during last regular season, only to see the Colonials upset them in the district semis.

Still, this lopsided scored was a definite surprise, and a true testament to how far St. John's has come, and how good the Pioneers can be when they're on.

I've said for a while that St. John's may have the highest ceiling of any team in the region, but consistency would be an issue. Well, the Pioneers seem to be peaking at exactly the right time, having won five in a row, including wins over Algonquin, Shrewsbury, Westboro, as well as Western Mass powers South Hadley and Agawam.

Next up for the Pioneers? That would be the last team to beat them, No. 1 seed Longmeadow. The Lancers have been silly good this year, and once again look like the team to beat in D2 CW. After getting upset in the district semis last year by Westfield, Longmeadow should be on a mission this year, but if the Pioneers continue to score at their recent rate, don't count them out against the top team from Western Mass.

The other semifinal is a CMass vs WMass affair, as Algonquin travels to face Westfield. The Tomahawks are coming off a nice win against an underrated Tantasqua squad, and have won games in a variety of ways lately, whether through suffocating defense or, at times, explosive offense.

Sophomore Zach Skowronek has come on strong in recent weeks to ignite the T-Hawk attack, as have Matt Larsen and middie Paul Luongo. It will be on them, along with steller midfielder Mike Martens, to match Westfield's firepower, while goalie Colton King and poles Stu Bleck and Paul Nardone try to hold down the Westfield attack.

The Bombers have a gaudy record, and their absolute handling of Minnechaug last week was impressive, but they haven't faced a team like Algonquin all year, other than their two losses to Longmeadow. Expect a close one.

Division 3 Central/West
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Rumors of Grafton's demise were greatly exaggerated when the Indians battled both the injury bug and a brutal schedule earlier this year. The now battle tested Indians are right where they expected to be, in the district semis with a very good chance to get back to the finals for a rematch with Mt. Greylock.

Despite an undefeated regular season, Voke school power Assabet bowed out in the quarters against Lee in double overtime. The Indians will now host Lee, a team they defeated by 13 in last year's district quarterfinals, and Grafton has to feel confident with the way they've played lately, even in losing efforts.

With junior Chase Kapuscienski playing his best lacrosse, and the rest of the attack and midfield raising its game around him, it would be a shock if Lee could slow Grafton down, but anything can happen this time of year.

Division 3 Central/East
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Finally we have Tyngsboro, who won a 15-14 overtime thriller against powerful Bedford. It was a sensational all-around performance by the Tigers, highlighted by sophomore middie Kyle Laforge's great day at the faceoff-X, and game winner, though Russ Gillis actually led Tyngsboro in scoring with five goals and four assists.

Next up for the high-powered Tigers will be their biggest test of the year, No. 2 seed Weston in the district semis. It will take another great all around game, but the Tigers have the firepower and defense to reach the finals.


Anonymous said...

Tyngs played well yesterday. No shame in losing to a team like Weston. I think Grafton rolls today but Algonquin is a coin toss vs Westfield, and St. John's need a great game to beat Meadow.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that some Longmeadow kids are not playing because of bad choices?

Anonymous said...

Anyone Know when they are going to release the names of the MId Wach A, B and C Allstars...(they do separate them I hope)? Also the MidMass Allstars?

Joe Parello said...

I've seen some individual teams Tweet about league all stars and MVPs, but haven't seen the full lists. Looks like Kyle Laforge was Mid-Wach B MVP, and the Tigers put 5 others on the all star team. They should all be coming out in the next few days, and I'm expecting the All Americans to be released on June 11th.