Tuesday, March 29, 2016

CMass Lax Preview: The 2016 Tantasqua Warriors

Tantasqua junior attackman Mike Frio.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Last season, Tantasqua shocked Central Mass, splitting the Mid-Mass title with perennial power Grafton, and winning a program-record 16 games.

In fact, the 16-3 Warriors were the hottest team in Central Mass heading into last year's state tournament, winning 14 games in a row before bowing out in districts to Algonquin. Prior to the Algonquin game, the Warriors never surrendered double-digit goals to an opponent, and defeated eight different tournament teams.

Clearly, it was a break-out year, but even more will be expected of this year's group, which returns a ton of experience and talent up front, but also some pieces to build another great defense. Here's what to expect from the Warriors in 2016.


All three starting attackmen return to build on last season's historic run. The junior trio of Mike Frio, Anthony Law and Bean Beaudry combined to score 105 goals and dish out 62 assists a year ago, and they should be even better this season.

While the Warriors have shown an ability to score in transition, they're plenty comfortable just letting these three guys go to work running the offense. Frio is one of the best pure scorers in the region, and each has proven to be a capable and willing pass as well.

With so much returning talent and experience, look for Tantasqua to again boast one of the best offenses in Central Mass.


But, whether or not this team can take the next step forward will largely depend on its ability to replace Academic All-American, and SuiteSports All-Star, Andrew Tichy. The now graduated midfielder did it all for the Warriors last year, leading the team in scoring with 68 points (46G, 22A), and serving as the "quarterback" in coach John Pedace's offense.

This year, Pedace will turn to a talented sophomore to fill Tichy's shoes. Tom Muir is "a natural," according to Pedace, and seems poised for a big year in the Warrior midfield. It will now be Muir's turn to quarterback this offense, getting everybody involved and setting the table for the explosive attack in front of him.

Luckily, if he's the quarterback, he's got plenty of weapons.


The Warriors had one of the most underrated defenses in Central Mass last season, and Mid-Mass All-Star pole Zack O'Brien returns to lead another stellar group. Though some depth and experience are gone from last year's group, Pedace believes all the pieces are in place for another stellar defense.

That's good news, because they'll be breaking in someone new at...


Goalie is the one large unknown for Tantasqua. It's currently an open competition between junior J.T. Mills and freshman Mike Lucas. The Warriors will likely play both goalies throughout the early part of the season, waiting for one to get hot.

Both looked solid Saturday in scrimmages against Tyngsboro and Nashoba, so expect Tantasqua to again be in good hands between the pipes, whoever's hands those may be.

Joe's Forecast

It's hard not to like this team, what with all the scoring punch coming back up front, and the talent returning on defense. The midfield has talent, but still needs to prove itself, and obviously goalie is a question mark as well. Still, Tantasqua looks like a team that can again contend for a Mid-Mass title, going toe-to-toe with powerful Grafton in the process, and make some noise in the Division 2 Central/West tournament.

It will largely fall on that trio of talented attackmen, who each said it's their goal to hang another league championship banner this season. They've got the pieces to do it and, on paper, look to be right there with Grafton as favorites in Mid-Mass.

If Tom Muir proves to be the real deal, and they find a consistent answer at goalie, the sky is the limit for this team. A Mid-Mass title and a deep tournament run are certainly within Tantasqua's grasp.

If, however, there are some growing pains, this is still one of the better teams in Mid-Mass, and a playoff team in Division 2. Not a bad worst-case scenario.


Anonymous said...

wouldnt be suprised to see tantasqua beat grafton twice this year.

Anonymous said...

Awhhh that Andrew Tichy kid was the man. Funny kid. Also super good looking. Had unreal flow too. Gunna miss seeing him play for tantasqua