Saturday, March 26, 2016

CMass Lax Scrimmage Report: Nashoba Hosts Tyngsboro & Tantasqua

Nashoba and Tyngsboro face-off in the first of three scrimmages in Bolton Saturday.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Lacrosse season is officially underway across Central Mass, and I had the pleasure of attending my first scrimmages today, as Nashoba played host to a pair of teams with very high hopes for this season: Reigning Mid-Wach B champion Tyngsboro, and reigning Mid-Mass co-champion Tantasqua.

I will have full previews on all three of these teams in the coming days, but first here are my impressions from a dreary and chilly morning in Bolton

Game 1: Tyngsboro 4, Nashoba 3

The defenses were ahead of the offenses in our 9 am game, as you might expect for the first scrimmage of the season. But, more than that, Tyngsboro junior goalie Dan Powers and Nashoba senior goalie Robby Atwood both looked to be in midseason form.

Even during a slow go offensively, you could see the potential of Tyngsboro's offense, with returning All-American  junior middie Kyle Laforge slashing and creating chances for himself and teammates. Senior attack Russ Gillis scored early, and classmate middie Matt Sola had a nice day on both ends of the field.

For Nashoba, a team trying to replace a dozen graduated seniors, it was a great start to the year. The Chieftains looked comfortable in transition, with Tim Leach scoring an early fast break goal to put Nashoba on the board.

Youth was definitely served for Nashoba, as freshman attack Rory Boots may be one to watch. The newcomer played the entirety of the early game, and impressed coach Kevin McNamara with his poise. Sophomore middie Lucas Cordia was equally impressive, holding his own at the face-off X against savvy veterans Laforge and Sola.

Game 2: Tyngsboro 7, Tantasqua 6

This one was a game of runs, as Tyngsboro's midfield came out and asserted its dominance early, claiming a 4-2 halftime lead, but Tantasqua's experienced attack got going early in the second half, taking a 5-4 lead with about 10 to play.

The exciting second half erased a bit of a sloppy first half that I would describe as "choppy" and "spirited."

But, after both coaching staffs emphasized sportsmanship and clean play during the four-minute intermission, there was some really great lacrosse in the second half. Tantasqua's 3-0 run to start the half was followed by a 3-0 run from the Tigers, who took a 7-5 lead and held on, thanks to some all-around great play by Dan Powers in net.

Game 3: Tantasqua 8, Nashoba 4

I actually cut out before this one ended, because I had plans with the wife, but these two teams were actually tied near the end of the first half when I left. Apparently Nashoba rested Atwood for the second half, but I have no doubt Tantasqua would have put up some points either way. That attack is too good to be held in check for a whole game.

Quick Takes by Team


The host Chieftains have to feel pretty good about Saturday on the whole. Nashoba, like everybody else in Central Mass, was snowed out on Monday, and only got one day of actual practice in before these two scrimmages (the other days were try-outs).

Making matters more difficult, is the fact that the Chieftains basically have no returning starters, other than Atwood between the pipes.

That being said, a ton of young guys stepped up, and veterans that made moves, like former LSM Adam Chioda now playing pole, looked comfortable in their new spots. Throw in another great day from Atwood, and a level of energy that impressed the coaching staff, and Nashoba seems to be headed in the right direction.


It took a little while for the Warriors to get going, but once they did, you could tell this is going to be a team that can score in bunches.

The junior trio of attackmen- Mike Frio, Anthony Law and Ben Beaudry- are going to be a handful for anybody, and sophomore middie Tom Muir looks ready to step into the big shoes of departed Academic All-American Andrew Tichy.

Coach John Pedace praised Muir as a natural player, and called him the "quarterback" of Tantasqua's offense. If Muir is the QB, he's definitely got some great weapons at his disposal.

But don't sleep on this defense either, which is breaking in a pair of new goalies after the departure of Jared Mesick. Senior Zack O'Brien leads a talented and experienced group of poles that coach Pedace believes could again be among the best in Central Mass.


The Tigers carried themselves like experienced contenders, but outside of a few key juniors and seniors- Laforge, Gillis, Sola, Powers and pole Brendan Bartlett- Tyngsboro is actually breaking in a slew of young guys.

It didn't seem to matter, though, as the Tigers started quickly and finished strong in both their games this morning.

Still, those aforementioned guys definitely shined. Laforge used his patented quickness to get near the cage and cause opposing defenses fits, while Gillis and Sola each brought a physical presence up front.

Lefty junior goalie Dan Powers showed great hands and feet, turning away shot after shot to close out both one-goal wins, and Bartlett's move from LSM to pole appears to be going smoothly.

Tyngsboro is lacking a bit of experienced depth from last year, but it definitely has talent in the junior and senior class and, it appears, a ton of talented underclassmen.

Oh, and the Tigers are already showing poise in close games. Not a bad sign for their fifth day of lacrosse this year.

As I said earlier, more on these three teams to come in the next few days.


Anonymous said...

Tantasqua a attack are actually all only juniors this year.

Joe Parello said...

Oh snap, I had that in my notes too. Well, it's early in the season... Anyways, thanks for the heads up. Corrected now.

Anonymous said...

Tyngsborough and Marlborough have the first game of Central Mass this week I think? Thursday at Marlborough