Sunday, June 12, 2016
2016 Central Mass Lacrosse All-Americans Named
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)
The Central Mass. Lacrosse Coaches Association has announced its US Lacrosse All-Americans, and Academic All-Americans for 2016.
Here is a quick look at each of the very deserving recipients.
Colton King, Sr. G, Algonquin
King has been one of the region's best goalies for a while now, but he finally earns All-American distinction in a year where he allowed just 7.5 goals a game against a brutal schedule, and with a defense torn apart by injuries in front of him.
With quick hands, good instincts and great vision on the clear, it's easy to see why King has long been considered one of the state's best, and why he'll be continuing his career at Sacred Heart next season.
While Algonquin was decimated by injuries, King was a constant, and you could never count the T-Hawks out as a result.
Mike Martens, Sr. M, Algonquin
Martens finishes his high school career earning All-American honors in back-to-back seasons, and will head to UMass as one of the best players to ever come out of the storied Algonquin lacrosse program.
While an injury prevented Martens from getting his storybook ending, the do-it-all middie definitely had has signature moments this season, including an overtime game-winner against state power Acton-Boxboro, and a pair of wins over league rival Westboro, which helped the T-Hawks grab a share of the Mid-Wach A title.
One of the best face-off takers in the state, and a true two-way middie, Martens clearly has a bright future at the next level.
Chase Kapuscienski, Sr. A/M, Grafton
Kapuscienski is the only guy on this list still playing, and much of that can be attributed to his successful transition to midfield late in the season. After playing three-and-a-half years on attack, Kapuscienski was moved to middie after Grafton's loss to Nipmuc. The Indians have gone 5-1 since, and now sit one game away from getting back to the state final.
Whether on attack or in the midfield, Kapuscienski knows how to create offense, scoring a team-high 72 points (44G, 28A), and he's proven to be a capable defender the past few weeks as well. This year's experience could benefit him, as he's expected to make the transition to middie full time when he begins his college lacrosse career at Mary Washington.
It's been quite a journey for Kapuscienski, who played most of last season with a broken bone in his foot, and came back with a vengeance to join the "300 Club" this season. The versatile senior will no doubt go down as one of the best players in Grafton's (also) storied history.
Griffin Shoemaker, Jr. M, Littleton
Shoemaker and the Tigers were one of the best stories of the 2016 season in Central Mass, as the play making junior helped Littleton start the year 5-0, win seven in a row down the stretch, grab a share of the Mid-Wach B title, and reach the D3 Central/East semis.
While the Tigers were impressive throughout, there's no debating Shoemaker's importance as an offensive creator and finisher. His 107 points (70G, 37A) placed him third in the region, and nobody in Central Mass scored more goals.
Look for Shoemaker and the majority of the Tigers to come back next year with even bigger plans.
Andrew Cox, Sr. M, St. John's
The Pioneers were breaking in a plethora of new starters this season, but one guy they could always count on for leadership and experience was senior middie Andrew Cox. A true two-way player, Cox impacted the game with and without the ball on his stick, and helped turn a young team into a contender once again.
Finishing second on his team with 53 points (38G, 15A), Cox proved a lethal offensive weapon, but intangibles and versatility were the senior's true strengths. He'll continue his career next year at Hamilton, and his multi-faceted game should translate well to the college level.
Trevor McNamara, Jr. A, Westboro
Westboro always has talent, but few saw the Rangers going 16-3 this year, claiming a share of the Mid-Wach A title, and reaching the district semifinals. While everyone on Westboro's roster deserves credit for the team's run, the breakout star of this team was junior Trevor McNamara.
With a combination of size, athleticism and stamina, McNamara is nearly impossible to keep away from the cage when he decides he's going there, and thanks to his soccer player fitness, he just never seems to get tired.
He finished second in Mid-Wach A with 74 points, including a league-best 64 goals, and proved to be one of the best pure scorers in the state.
Ian McCarthy, Sr. A, Advanced Math & Science Academy
Studies are obviously important at AMSA, but on the field McCarthy has been an integral part of growing the lacrosse program. McCarthy has started all three seasons in which AMSA has fielded a varsity team, and led the Eagles in scoring the past two years.
He's also helped AMSA go from a winless team in 2014, to a four-win squad last season, to a seven-win team with playoff aspirations this year. The Eagles are a program on the rise, and when we look back a few years down the road, McCarthy will be one of those guys that paved the way for future success.
Cam Moran, Sr. A, Leominster
Moran is Leominster's first ever US Lacrosse award winner in the program's 12-year history, and the senior had a season for the ages. Moran finished second in the region with 113 points (45G, 68A), and was the region's premier passer and play maker.
The Blue Devils came up short of their goal of returning to the postseason, but Moran set a new standard for Leominster lacrosse.
Devin Pietz, Sr. A/M, Shepherd Hill
Pietz excelled both on and off the field in 2016, making the grade in the classroom and totaling 75 points (52G, 23A) on the lacrosse pitch. Alongside his younger brother Tristan, Devin helped the Rams boast one of the best offenses in Central Mass, as each finished in the Top-6 in scoring in the explosive Mid-Wach B conference.
While Shepherd Hill ultimately came up short of a playoff berth, Devin had a special season, and he'll continue his lacrosse and academic career next year at Wentworth Institute of Technology. No doubt the elder Pietz will continue to excel both athletically and academically.
Obviously, you have to draw the line somewhere, and that means there will always be deserving players not named All-Americans. The last few years people have asked me for who I thought should be an All-American, but I have nowhere near the lacrosse knowledge of any of the coaches, so I always defer to their judgement.
So, don't take this as me second-guessing the choices the coaches made. Rather, understand that there were a ton of deserving candidates this year, and I think these kids deserve some props as well. Here's one player I thought of at each position.
Of course, I'll get the chance to honor these guys, as well as many other players around the region, when I release my Central Mass All-Star Team and Award Winners after the state championship games.
Curtiss Vachon, Sr. A, St. Bernard's
Hard to think of what more Vachon could have done in his career, as he was once again one of Central MA's most prolific scorers, carried his team to within a goal of the district finals, and became just the fourth player in Central Mass history to cross the 400-point threshold.
Vachon will get the chance to earn different accolades when he begins playing Division 1 lacrosse at Wagner next year.
Kyle Laforge, Jr. M, Tyngsboro
Another kid who has to be wondering what he has to do. Laforge was an All-American in 2015, and responded this year by leading the region in scoring with 115 points (63G, 52A), and leading Tyngsboro to 12 consecutive victories to end the regular season.
Expect Laforge to come back more motivated, and perhaps more dangerous, than ever next year.
C.J. Gallagher, Jr. D, Worcester
The junior pole was not only a lockdown defender for Worcester, but also one of its best offensive weapons. Gallagher led all CMass poles with 39 points (22G, 17A), and will certainly be one to watch next season.
Cadrin Msumba, Sr. G, Grafton
Msumba has been a wall for Grafton the past three years, and has grown into a vocal leader for the Indians. As good as Grafton's poles and LSMs are, it takes a special goalie for that defense to be as good as it is.