Monday, March 14, 2016

2016 Preseason Central Mass Lacrosse All-Stars

Algonquin goalie Colton King
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Normally, I'm no fan of "preseason All-Star" teams. By their very nature, they rely almost entirely on what happened last year, and trying to project the unpredictable growth of players, both physically and mentally.

That being said, I've gotten a great response from players, parents and coaches this off-season, and I feel like I've been able to put together a pretty solid list of some of the fantastic players returning in the region this year.

And the beauty of this list is, if you aren't on it, you've got the whole season to prove me wrong!

I will also add that many teams in the region are underrepresented, just by virtue of them being young this year. Sorry guys, I get pretty in-depth with my CMass lax coverage, but I'm not out there scouting JV teams (yet).

Anyways, without further ado, here are our 2016 Preseason All-Stars for Central Massachusetts.


1. Chase Kapuscienski, Sr. Grafton
2. Curtiss Vachon, Sr. St. Bernard's
3. Russ Gillis, Sr. Tyngsboro

Keep an Eye On: Mike Frio, Jr. Tantasqua; Griffin Shoemaker, Jr. Littleton; Matt Ward, Jr. Shrewsbury

Kapuscienski and Vachon look to finish storied careers, while Gillis hopes to tie together a potentially lethal Tyngsboro attack. Vachon could go down as one of the most prolific players in Central Mass history with a big year, and Kapuscienski and the Indians have state title aspirations in Division 3. Tyngsboro, meanwhile, is hoping for a deep tournament run itself, and Gillis has all the tools to again make the Tigers one of the region's best offenses.

Frio is one of several juniors that should make Tantasqua an exciting offense to watch this year, while high-scoring Griffin Shoemaker should again make Littleton a tough out.

Shrewsbury will need a breakout season from junior Matt Ward, who has put in the work, and is drawing Joe Buduo (currently starting as a freshman at Lenoir-Rhyne) comparisons from the Colonial coaching staff.


1. Mike Martens, Sr. Algonquin
2. Kyle Laforge, Jr. Tyngsboro
3. Andrew Cox, Sr. St. John's

Keep an Eye On: Devin Pietz, Jr. Shepherd Hill; Cam Moran, Sr. Leominster; Evan Doherty, So. Marlboro; Pretty much every middie on Grafton (Seniors Matt O'Brien, Josh Birdsall, Mike Najemy and Nick Hart, plus juniors Anthony D'Angelo and Ryan Tyldesley)

Martens is our returning Player of the Year, and with good reason. A face-off ace and true two-way middie, Martens may be the region's most complete player. While the UMass commit is coming into 2016 with a ton of hype, Tyngsboro's Kyle Laforge will give him a good challenge for the title of best middie in Central Mass. An explosive athlete and ferocious competitor, Laforge brings intensity to the face-off X and the Tiger offense.

Cox seems like he's been around forever at St. John's, and this may be the year he gets to run the show. While the Pioneers are usually fueled by great attackmen (Drew Smiley, Josh Freilich, Hunter Burdick, Jared Ward and Parker Jean, just to name a few the last couple years), Cox may be the best offensive threat St. John's has this year. It will be interesting to see how the Pioneers go about initiating their offense under new coach Justin O'Leary.

If you like scoring, explosive Shepherd Hill middie Devin Pietz is for you, while Cam Moran may be one of the region's most underrated players at Leominster. Evan Doherty will look to fill some of the scoring void left by his prolific brother Billy, and leads a solid core of young talent at Marlboro.

Meanwhile, as they are at pretty much every other position, Grafton is stacked in the midfield, Seriously, take your pick of any of these guys. They're all talented, and will likely all play a role in whatever the Indians do this season.


1. Chris Campbell, So. Shrewsbury
2. Mike Tascione, Sr. Algonquin

Keep an Eye On: Luke Hanlon, Jr. Worcester

Only a sophomore, Campbell is already generating recruiting interest from Division 1 programs, and he'll need to be great this year for a Shrewsbury team that is replacing a ton of talent and experience on the back end.

Tascione is in a similar situation at Algonquin, as the T-Hawks search for at least two new starting poles. While both these guys have made their names as LSMs, it isn't out of the question one, or both, could make a move to defense permanently.

Hanlon, on the other hand, should only enhance a Worcester defense that returns a pair of experienced poles. The Warriors come into 2016 rebuilding on offense (and in goal), but should be able to defend with the best of them.


1. C.J. Gallagher, Jr. Worcester
2. Dan Bartosiewicz, Jr. Grafton
3. Tom Nicalek, Jr. Grafton

Keep an Eye On: Nick Gallo, Sr. Westboro; Brian Powell, Sr. Marlboro; Joe Arsenault, Sr. Worcester

Mid-Mass is going to be loaded with defensive talent, headlined by Worcester's Gallagher and Grafton's Bartosiewicz and Nicalek.

While those might be the three most hyped poles coming into 2016, don't sleep on Arsenault, or speedy veteran Nick Gallo at Westboro. Brian Powell will lead a Marlboro defense that is looking to improve upon a solid 2015, and should be a leader for the Panthers as they attempt to make get back to the state tournament.


1. Colton King, Sr. Algonquin
2. Cadrin Msumba, Sr. Grafton

Keep an Eye On: Robby Atwood, Sr. Nashoba; J.T. Rothera, Sr. Shrewsbury, Hunter Gaither, Sr. St. John's

It seems like I say it every year, but there are so many quality goalies in CMass. Colton King is a legit D1 player (committed to Sacred Heart), and Msumba is our returning Defensive Player of the Year.

Last year, I feel like we almost forgot how good Robby Atwood is, as the Chieftains struggled a bit, while J.T. Rothera at Shrewsbury and Hunter Gaither at St. John's each broke through in their first years starting for power programs.

Seriously, this list doesn't even include players like Dan Powers from Tyngsboro or Jeff Bernard from Westboro, two guys that are coming off great seasons. I'll say it again: There are so many quality goalies in CMass.


Anonymous said...

Don't overlook Cole Fontana of Grafton. He had an outstanding state tournament run.

Anonymous said...

can't leave out tristan pietz .. shepherd hill attack .. mid - wach all star as freshman last year
55 points..

Anonymous said...

ryan mechler from marlboro and jason plaunt are upcoming stars as well .
Like you said joe.. all these guys and more will be able to prove themselves during the season . central mass lacrosse
is on the map. multiple kids getting good solid college looks .all the kids listed in all these comments are getting looks and a whole lot more not mentioned.
its good to see..

Anonymous said...

What about that kid tuna on leominster ?

Anonymous said...

Joe what's the first game you're gonna
Come out to