Monday, May 16, 2016

Central Mass Lacrosse Playoff Race Update: 5/16/16

Eric Glover and his teammates have Monty Tech on the verge of the program's first ever playoff berth.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

We're inching closer to tournament time here in the Bay State, and many teams in Central Mass have already punched their tickets to the dance.

Still, there is work to be done across the region, so let's take a look at who's in, who's out, and who's on the bubble in Central Mass lacrosse.

As a reminder, a team must achieve a .500 record, or win its league, to qualify for the tournament, with the only exception being D3 Groton-Dunstable, which plays in Mid-Wach A, a D2 league. The Crusaders are already in under the "Sullivan Rule," but will likely finish with a winning record either way.

Also note that a team "on the bubble" is one that will need to win more games than it loses the rest of the way to qualify.

Division 2 Central/West

Already In (5):
Algonquin (12-2), Marlboro (12-2), St. John's (10-4), Wachusett (10-6), Westboro (10-2)

Almost There (3): Leominster (8-8), Tantasqua (8-5), Worcester (7-6)

On the Bubble (3): North Middlesex (5-7), Shepherd Hill (7-10), Shrewsbury (6-9),

Eliminated (2):
Fitchburg (0-10), Nashoba (1-15)

Wachusett punched its ticket with a win over St. Peter-Marian yesterday, and Tantasqua rode three consecutive wins to the brink of qualification last week. Worcester is still in the same position we left them last Wednesday, but Leominster is in decidedly better shape, after knocking off Oakmont and St. Bernard's last week to end a three-game losing streak.

The Blue Devils must now go 2-2 the rest of the way, with games against Shepherd Hill and Tyngsboro on tap for this Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, followed by a Saturday battle with Westboro, and a Monday trip to Northbridge. Suddenly, things are looking up for Leominster.

But we can't quite say the same for Shepherd Hill. After the Rams put themselves in great position with a win over Oakmont early last week, they took a step back by falling to Nashoba on Saturday.

Shepherd Hill's game at Leominster Tuesday will be an elimination game for the Rams, and if they can get past the Blue Devils, they'll still need to beat North Middlesex Thursday, and win at Tantasqua a week from Tuesday. There is no room for error.

Speaking of North Middlesex, the Patriots are still alive after a win over Lunenburg Saturday. With six games left, NM will need to win at least four against Littleton (twice), Shepherd Hill, Groton-Dunstable, St. Bernard's and Shrewsbury. That's a brutal slate.

And how about another team with no room for error? Shrewsbury has come on strong lately, winning four of its last five, while knocking off regional power Wachusett and a strong Sharon squad, but the Colonials are still just a loss away from elimination.

With Groton-Dunstable and Algonquin looming this week, and Marlboro coming up next Monday before a trip to North Middlesex, Shrewsbury will have to overcome some pretty tremendous odds to make it back to the postseason.

Division 3 Central/West

Already In (3):
Blackstone Valley Tech (8-6), Grafton (11-3), St. Bernard's (11-4)

Almost There (2): Monty Tech (8-5), Nipmuc (9-5)

On the Bubble (2): Advanced Math and Science Academy (5-7), Northbridge (5-7)

Eliminated (3): Assabet (2-9), Nashoba Valley Tech (1-6), St. Peter-Marian (0-12)

We're in pretty much the same spot we were last week in this district, with three teams in, Monty Tech and Nipmuc on the verge, and AMSA and Northbridge fighting for their lives.

Nipmuc only needs to win one of its five remaining games, and they may take care of that this afternoon against struggling Milford. Monty Tech also only needs to win one of five to make the playoffs. Lunenburg, AMSA and Greater Lowell will all be tough contests this week, but with next week's winnable games against Lowell Catholic and Fitchburg, the Bulldogs look to be in great shape.

AMSA isn't exactly in great shape after a tough loss to Bromfield last Thursday, but I wouldn't count them out yet. The Eagles will now have to win four out of six to make the tournament, but they've got winnable games against St. Peter-Marian and Fitchburg this week, and a rematch with Monty Tech (they lost 13-12 in OT to the Bulldogs in the season opener). Next Monday they'll host a Norton team that already beat them 7-2 earlier this year, but the Eagles will then travel to Fitchburg next Wednesday and host a Nashoba Valley team they already beat 8-1 next Thursday.

It won't be easy, but the Eagles are certainly capable.

Northbridge, meanwhile, must win three of its final four against a tough schedule. The Rams will travel to Hopedale Tuesday before hosting Worcester on Friday. If they can pick up a win in either of those games, they'll remain alive to host Leominster next Monday, and then travel to Worcester for a rematch next Thursday.

Division 3 Central/East

Already In (3):
Groton-Dunstable (9-5), Littleton (13-2), Tyngsboro (12-4)

Almost There (0):

On the Bubble (4):
Bromfield (6-7), Hopedale (7-9), Lunenburg (6-8), Oakmont (5-6)

Eliminated (1): Hudson (3-11)

Hudson was the first team eliminated from this district last week, but a few teams could join the Hawks soon if they don't turn things around.

Bromfield must go 3-2 in its final five to make the tournament, but will play winnable games against St. Peter-Marian, Fitchburg and Hudson in the next four days.

Hopedale, led by the explosive Noah Luccini, finds itself in a more precarious position after falling to Ashland last Thursday. The Blue Raiders must now win three of their final four, with games left against Bellingham (today), Northbridge (tomorrow), Tantasqua (Thursday) and St. Bernard's (next Tuesday).

Lunenburg will need to win both its games this week to make the tournament, and neither will be easy. First, the Blue Knights will travel to face Monty Tech Tuesday, then another trip to D2 playoff team Marlboro awaits Thursday.

Oakmont, like Bromfield, must go 3-2 in its last five games, thanks to a three-game losing streak that has put the Spartans behind the 8-ball. A pair of games remaining against Tyngsboro, and contests against Littleton and Bromfield won't make that easy.


Anonymous said...

It says shrewsbury beat Westboro, which is not the case. Westboro won 10-9

Joe Parello said...

Right you are, I meant to write Wachusset in that spot. Westboro is the only team to beat Shrewsbury this month.
Just corrected the mistake. Good catch!