Monday, May 23, 2016

Postgame Blog and Highlights: McNamara Pushes Westboro Past Grafton in OT

Westboro attackman Trevor McNamara looks for room against Grafton pole Tom Nicalek.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Westboro High School and Grafton High School are separated by just over six miles, but the last three times they've met on the lacrosse field, there's been even less space between their boys lax teams.

For the third consecutive game between these two border rivals, Westboro defeated Grafton by a single goal, this time an overtime game-winner by junior Trevor McNamara, just moments after McNamara scored an equalizer to send the game to OT.

Here are a few takeaways from today's game, plus highlights of McNamara's equalizer and game-winner below.

Ending the Regular Season in Style

It took Westboro all year to finally grab the top spot in our Power Rankings, and a share of Mid-Wach A, but the Rangers will finish the regular season as both our top-ranked team in Central Mass, and co-champions of the region's toughest league.

If anybody saw this coming, they didn't tell me, because this was supposed to be a team adjusting to a new coach and learning to live without All-American Jake Foster.

Instead, the Rangers gelled almost immediately under first-year coach Tim Montgomery, and finished the regular season 14-2, with two wins over our No. 4 Grafton, two wins over our No. 5 Groton-Dunstable, two wins over our No. 8 Wachusett, and wins over our No. 2 St. John's and our No. 10 Tantasqua.

While Westboro did come up short twice against Algonquin in a pair of close games, it's hard to see the Rangers not earning a higher seed in the Division 2 Central/West tournament now, and like I said, they spit the league title with the T-Hawks all the same.

McNamara and Bernard Among the Region's Best

Attackman Trevor McNamara and goalie Jeff Bernard are probably the best players at their respective positions in Central Mass that you never hear about. That's mostly because the Rangers' stats aren't listed on the T&G's leaderboard.

Still, I don't need a stat sheet in front of me to tell you that, from what I've seen, these two are as good as it gets in Central Mass. McNamara has exceptional balance working around the crease, and a motor that doesn't stop, while Bernard is fearless between the pipes, and serves as a catalyst for the Rangers' fast-break offense.

The overtime game-winner against Grafton was a great example of that (check out the video below). Oh, and each of them seems to think the other is the best in Central Mass at what they do.

"I have so much faith in Jeff," McNamara said. "I know he's the best goalie in CMass. He keeps us in every game."

"(Trevor) is probably the best attack I've ever seen," Bernard said. "He's amazing."

Grafton's Msumba Looks Ahead

No doubt this was a tough loss for Grafton to take, considering that the last two times the Indians had taken on the Rangers, they'd left with a one-goal loss. The third time hurt even more, but goalie Cadrin Msumba was upbeat about his team's final game of the regular season, and prospects for the tournament.

I'll let Cadrin take it from here.

"(Overtime) was definitely high-energy," Msumba said. "I should have made that save, to be honest with you... We started (OT) with a very strange penalty, but we played great man-down defense and got the ball back. Chase (Kapascienski) shot, and (Jeff) Bernard made a great save... They got a nice fast break, and McNamara just put it right over.

"I mean, it sucks, it stings, because my three years of starting varsity, we've lost to them, and the last three times in the last two years have all been one-goal games.

But we're just gonna prepare for Algonquin. We're really excited about that game. Facing a D2 Mid-Wach team, a respectable, very recognized program across the state. Colton King and Mike Martens, I mean, you hear about them all day. That's all you hear about in the news. That's all you guys put up is Martens on the face-off, or Colton in net."

Ed. Note- Our good friend Cadrin must be reading the some other CMass lax coverage, because the last time we mentioned either Martens or King (other than in our All-Star Watch List, which our boy Cadrin was on the cover of) was April 25th (in a Power Rankings piece that featured a Mr. Cadrin Msumba in the cover photo). 

If anything, I just realized we don't mention Colton King and Mike Martens nearly enough, considering they're each among the best players in the state at their respective positions. So, to make up for that, let me just say that Mike Martens is great on the face-off and Colton King is awesome in net.

Anyways, we'll let that last comment slide and see ya in the tournament Cadrin. Or, maybe I'll see all three of you guys Wednesday when Grafton hosts Algonquin...

Video Highlights

Here are a few clips I was able to grab from this thriller. The first is McNamara's equalizer that came with just 28 seconds left in regulation, followed by Bernard's save and McNamara's game-winner on the other end in overtime.

Westboro Edges Grafton in OT from Joe Parello on Vimeo.


Cadrin Msumba said...

Was referring more to the T&G. But am very happy with all of our coverage and the coverage of Central Mass. Great programs, great players.

Anonymous said...

I agree , Msumba is obviously wrong, his team and top players were in the media all year long, even the new D pole #14 got more press than the Alginquin poles who kept Westboro's Macnamara to two goals the first game they played at Westboro's . You want to talk about BS!!!

Anonymous said...

Mr. "BS"..............Grafton is in the media all the time because not only have they contended with D1 and D2 teams from all parts of Mass, they have beat them. So give credit where credit is surely due........Grafton is a D3 school that has a high level LAX program, that hangs with the Big Boys......C'MON MAN its impressive !!
And yes, poles Tom Nicalek and Dan Bartosiewicz are 2 of the best in CMASS

Anonymous said...

Take it easy. We are not talking about life or death here. Most of these kids play travel together or have played together before. Most know one another and some probably hang out together. They all deserve credit for raising the level of play in CMass and bringing the spotlight on the region.

Anonymous said...

Classic for Grafton to be all over social media after a loss with malarkey... In terms of Grafton "hanging with the big boys" that is just un-educated. Grafton in terms of population is as big as Groton and other non-regional Central Mass school. Grafton is a big dog playing amongst puppies in D3. Each year they dip their feet into real competition then scurry back to their ego-boosting low caliber playoff bracket. Grafton is no underdog and should have no credit for beating any team in D1. In my eyes they should be D1 and stop bullying D3 teams out of any championship opportunity. They get far more media attention than is deserved. Keep fluffing your pillows Grafton maybe one year youll decide to compete.

Anonymous said...

The problem with the size of school argument is that the Big Boys in CMass should be DIV1. Big boys (700+boys) being SJS (1055 boys), Wach (1024), Leom (944), Shrews (751) and Gonk (702). Next Level; Tant (615), NM (557), West (533), Shep Hill (515). (this doesn't include the "urban teams" that get a factoring of the numbers.

If those teams played in a D1 Sched (which they would if they were in EMass), instead of D2, teams like GD and Grafton and others relegated to D3, could and should move up, but why, if those others play down a division (not their fault btw...that's MIAA for ya) why would or should Graf (343) or GD (436) be forced to find a way amongst them.

Now, for the most part, GD plays all these big teams in MidWach A, and then plays SJS and seeks out D1 and D2 teams from EMass. Granted, GD doesn't seek out the best. They seek out teams that, in the past have been comparable in strength. This is because they know they have to run the gauntlet in MidWach A, SJS and, usually the best two teams in Mid Wach B: Lit and Tyngs and, this year, the best team in MidWach C, Marl. (560) to make the playoffs.

Grafton, who deserves credit for going east and west to play those region's better teams (often teams of better caliber than GD goes out of region for)to get tested, but they do this knowing, for the most part, that their league schedule is not as grueling and will almost certainly making the playoffs.

That all being said, you still have to play the games and, as we've seen this year, almost anything is possible. Teams also have to play the league/division they are put in by those far above the players and coaches (ADs, MIAA) and thus THEY should not be so harshly judged.

If your team isn't beating them, get your team better, don't ask your league/ division etc, to get weaker.

Eventually, as the lax grows in the region, they will have to split it D1, D2 and D3 like EMASS and then we can talk about more appropriate alignment, but until then, LAX ON

BTW here is the link to the numbers:

All the best

Anonymous said...

Not sure how I missed this story, but those highlights from Joe's post of McNamara tieing and OT goals are impressive. Haven't had the chance to see him play live, but that was sweet. How is this kid not in All America talk?