Friday, June 24, 2016

CMass Lax All-Stars and Award Winners 2016

By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

I won't waste your time with any introductions, since I've already written a year in review, and presented my final Power Rankings of 2016.

So, without further ado, here are our All-Stars and Award Winners for the 2016 Central Mass lacrosse season. Note that under each position tier (first team, second team, third team, honorable mention) players are listed alphabetically by school, and that you can click any image to enlarge.

Hopedale senior attackman Noah Luccini
First Team

Griffin Shoemaker, Jr. Littleton
Curtiss Vachon, Sr. St Bernard's
Trevor McNamara, Jr. Westboro

Second Team

Cam Moran, Sr. Leominster
Ryan Mechler, So. Marlboro

Mike Frio, Jr. Tantasqua

Third Team

Noah Luccini, Sr. Hopedale
Eric Glover, So. Monty Tech
Tristan Pietz, So. Shepherd Hill

Honorable Mention

Hunter Fraser, Sr. Grafton
Matt Ward, Jr. Shrewsbury
Drew Kozub, Jr. St. John's

Shoemaker, Vachon, McNamara and Moran all did so much for their offenses this year, that they were pretty much no-brainers. Vachon made history, Shoemaker scored goals in boat-loads, McNamara ran circles around some excellent defenses, and Moran gave Leominster one of the league's most exciting attacks.

Frio was one of three great attackmen at Tantasqua, but his 100 points, and 67 goals, make him the most dominant scorer in Mid-Mass. Mechler was a scoring machine on a team loaded with young offensive talent, and Luccini carried Hopedale to within a game of the program's first tournament berth.

Glover helped his team reach the postseason for the first time, and led Central Mass with a ridiculous 74 goals. Pietz, meanwhile, showcased elite quickness and emerged as top-flight scorer for Shepherd Hill, while Fraser came alive in the playoffs for Grafton, earning the D3 C/W tournament MVP award.

Ward was tough to stop once he got rolling around the cage, and Kozub helped St. John's laugh off the idea of a rebuilding year.

Tyngsboro junior middie Kyle Laforge
First Team

Mike Martens, Sr. Algonquin
Chase Kapuscienski, Sr. Grafton
Kyle Laforge, Jr. Tyngsboro

Second Team

Andrew Cox, Sr. St. John's
Dan Turgeon, Jr. Wachusett
Charles Katz, Sr. Westboro

Third Team

Liam McDonough, So. Groton-Dunstable
Anthony Rausa, Jr. Littleton
Devin Pietz, Sr. Shepherd Hill

Honorable Mention

Dom Carter, Fr. Marlboro
Ryan Richards, Jr. Nipmuc
Tom Muir, So. Tantasqua

Worcester junior LSM Luke Hanlon
First Team

Chris Campbell, So. Shrewsbury
Luke Hanlon, Jr. Worcester

Second Team

Nick Hart, Sr. Grafton
Liam Doherty, Sr. St. John's

Third Team

Ifeatu Melifonqu, Jr. Grafton
Cam Shoemaker, Jr. Littleton

Honorable Mention

Matt O'Brien, Sr. Grafton
Andrew Estella, Jr. St. John's

This midfield is just so absurdly loaded with Grafton talent, especially on the defensive end, and that's a big reason why the Indians were able to get back to the state championship game. Obviously, Chase Kapuscienski's move the midfield helped the offense, but with LSM Nick Hart doing all the dirty work, fellow LSM Ifeatu Melifonwu emerging as another premier defender, and Matt O'Brien continuing to get it done in all phases, it's easy to see why Grafton's midfield was one of the state's best.

Outside of the Indians, All-American Mike Martens and 2015 All-American Kyle Laforge were absolute no-brainers. Each was outstanding at the face-off X, and could create offensively whenever their team needed a goal. Fellow All-American Andrew Cox was St. John's top two-way player, and Dan Turgeon led Mid-Wach A in scoring for the surprising Mountaineers.

Katz was a perfect complement to McNamara in Westboro's prolific offense, and McDonough did a little bit of everything for G-D. Rausa's size and athleticism made him a tough guy to defend, and a tough guy to keep away from ground balls, while Devin Pietz had an outstanding all-around senior season.

Freshman Dom Carter emerged as the most dangerous player in a loaded Marlboro midfield, while Ryan Richards helped Nipmuc have one of its best seasons in program history. Tom Muir served as the facilitator of Tantasqua's high-powered offense, setting the table for the Warriors' talented attackmen, and finding the back of the net 25 times himself.

Defensively, Chris Campbell was a beast LSM for Shrewsbury, and Luke Hanlon showed a great nose for the ball with WooLax. Liam Doherty dominated ground balls and the face-off X for St. John's, and Cam Shoemaker was an underrated defensive presence for Littleton. Finally, Andrew Estella served as another outstanding defender for St. John's, helping the Pioneers clamp down on some pretty good teams down the stretch.

St. John's senior pole Kieran Lyons
First Team

Tom Nicalek, Jr. Grafton
Connor Dubzinski, Jr. Wachusett
C.J. Gallagher, Jr. Worcester

Second Team

Dan Howes, Sr. Groton-Dunstable
Ben Church, Sr. Littleton
Devin Greene, Sr. St. John's

Third Team

Danny Bartosiewicz, Jr. Grafton
Zack O'Brien, Sr. Tantasqua
Nick Gallo, Sr. Westboro

Honorable Mention

Justin Leva, Jr. Algonquin
Brandan Lefebvre, Jr. Nipmuc
Kieran Lyons, Sr. St. John's

Nicalek, Gallagher and Dubzinski were the class of CMass poles, each leading their respective defenses, and contributing in multiple ways. Howes proved to be a lock-down defender for the Crusaders, while Church emerged as a physical enforcer as a senior for the Tigers.

Greene and Lyons were two-thirds of a physical St. John's defense (big Sam Correnti being the other third), while Bartosiewicz was the best "No. 2" pole in the region. O'Brien had yet another outstanding season for a Tantasqua team that surprised down the stretch, and Gallo's athleticism in front of the cage was a big part of Westboro's underrated defense. Leva is a young, athletic defender, who emerged as a thorn in opposing attackmen's sides, while Lefebvre was the top guy on Nipmuc's top-ranked defense.

Grafton senior goalie Cadrin Msumba
First Team

Colton King, Sr. Algonquin
Cadrin Msumba, Sr. Grafton

Second Team

Matt Mongeau, Jr. St. John's
Jeff Bernard, Sr. Westboro

Third Team

J.T. Rothera, Jr. Shrewsbury
Drew Cannistraro, Sr. Nipmuc

Honorable Mention

Eric Rauker. Jr. Littleton
Robby Atwood, Sr. Nashoba

King finally earned All-American status this year, and Msumba was again stellar in cage for the outstanding Grafton defense. Mongeau was a surprise standout as a first-year starter, playing like a seasoned vet for the Pioneers, while Jeff Bernard's tireless work helped turn Westboro into a contender.

Rothera was another bright spot during a rough year for Shrewsbury, and Cannistraro actually led the region in goals against average (4.81) during a breakout campaign for Nipmuc.

Finally, Rauker's athleticism made him a unique player in net for Littleton, and Atwood provided leadership and stability for a young Chieftain squad. Oh yeah, and he turned in double-digit save performances game-in and game-out.

Offensive Player of the Year

Griffin Shoemaker, Jr. A, Littleton

Littleton was a bit of a surprise this year, but Shoemaker putting up video game numbers wasn't. What was surprising, was how the junior continued to pile up the points, even as the competition grew fiercer, and as a league title and playoff positioning came into play.

Shoemaker was flat-out unstoppable when he decided to go to the cage, finishing second in the region with 70 goals, but when the slide came, he proved a willing passer, dishing out 37 assists, and creating countless opportunities for his teammates.

Littleton is bringing plenty of talent back for what should be an exciting run next year, and it all starts with Shoemaker.

Defensive Player of the Year

Tom Nicalek, Jr. D, Grafton

Grafton's defense was as good as any in the state, and Indians goalie Cadrin Msumba is our reigning DPOY, so i think it's fitting that another Grafton defender gets the honor this year.

Nicalek was moved around a ton, but no matter where he was, he was always making an impact, and his awareness and toughness make him Grafton's most versatile defender. Whether he was taking on the opposition's top scorer, or helping top side or around the cage, Nicalek was always right where Grafton needed him to be.

Breakout Player of the Year

Liam McDonough, So. M, Groton-Dunstable

There were many deserving young players across the region, but McDonough's game jumped out at me when I caught the Crusaders take down Marlboro earlier this year.

The versatile sophomore was everywhere: Dominating the face-off X, snagging ground balls, dishing out assists, and scoring late goals to pull his team away. His combination of power, speed, stick skills and effort made him an indispensable piece of Groton-Dunstable's surprising run with such a young team.

Look for McDonough and the rest of the Crusaders to come back looking for more next season.

Player of the Year

Trevor McNamara, Jr. A, Westboro

This spot is usually reserved for a do-it-all middie who impacts the game on both ends of the field, but McNamara was such a dominant scorer, that he made Westboro nearly unstoppable in defense-minded Mid-Wach A.

McNamara would finish second in the league with 74 points, but was easily its most lethal goal scorer. His 64 goals were the most of any Central Mass player in Division 2, and he seemed to assert his will in the biggest games.

McNamara scored a tying goal with less than 30 seconds to play against Grafton on May 23rd, then scored the overtime game-winner moments later, finishing the day with 8 points (5G, 3A) in a 9-8 victory. The explosive attackman also engineered Westboro's surprising blowout of St. John's, scoring five goals and dishing out an assist in a 9-3 route of the Pioneers.

Because he came up big in the biggest moments, and powered one of the Division 2's best offenses all season, McNamara is our choice for Central Mass Lacrosse Player of the Year 2016.

Coach of the Year

Tim Montgomery, Westboro

As I began asking around about this award, a few names kept coming up. Eric Moxim at Hopedale, John Pedace at Tantasqua and Alan Rotatori at Grafton (our winner from last year). And no, I wasn't just talking to Mid-Mass people. But, when I brought up the job first-year coach Tim Montgomery had done at Westboro, it was met with universal praise. Quite frankly, Montgomery took over a pretty good team that had just lost an All-American (Jake Foster), and made it one of the best teams in Division 2.

A league crown, Top-3 seed in the D2 C/W tournament, district semifinal appearance and 16 wins later, and the results on the field speak for themselves. Montgomery's first year on the job was a masterpiece, as he turned the Rangers into one of the region's most explosive offenses, and stingiest defenses, all while playing in Central MA's toughest league.

A six-goal win over St. John's, along with a pair of one-goal wins against Grafton made Westboro our top team, and those same victories made Montgomery tough to beat as our Coach of the Year.


Anonymous said...

Great Read Joe, as Always! you ever think about doing a CMASS Best of All-Time team? that could spark some interesting debates about the great talent that's come out of here in recent years

Anonymous said...

Joe, some great picks , not an easy job at all . Great work

Anonymous said...

Hey Joe,

Lots of work hear, I feel Robby the goalie from Nashoba was overlooked by many this year , he was great in every game I saw him in with little help from the D. I see he is an honorable mention which is a good catch and well deserved. I noticed Leva D-Pole from Algonquin is listed as a Sophomore but he was a Jr. this season. I know in at least one game he was sent out to cover Westboro's McNamara and helped keep him to two goals, at home - not an easy thing to do, look for good things out of this kid !

Connie said...

Congrats to each award winner!

Rick said...

Joe, thanks for your insightful work thoughout the season. You are a tremendous advocate of CMass lax and all the players

Joe Parello said...

Thanks for the kind words everyone, and thanks for reading the site all season long. I just made the change on Justin Leva (I foolishly trusted Hudl on that one), and a CMass All-Time team would be interesting. Unfortunately, I've only been covering the region since 2012, but I could definitely reach out to some coaches and put something together.
Anyways, thanks again to everyone who read the site and contributed this year, it makes all the work worth it. All the best!

Anonymous said...

The HM's at attack look more like a second team...

Anonymous said...

I do not agree with your attack teams at all....

Anonymous said...

I disagree with your offensive player of the year and player of the year awards

Anonymous said...

And here come the grafton and Algonquin posts .....

Westboro parent said...

Joe thank you for recognizing Tim Montgomery as coach of the year. I cannot tell you how much we appreciated him this year. He took a team without much star power (with the exception of Trevor) and made them into a great team. He had the ability to instill confidence in every player and was able to get max potential from each and every one of them. The camaraderie between these players was the best I have seen in all my years of watching lacrosse. He took players who didn't even start last year and made them into valuable contributors on the field. Case in point Jon Gross who was terrific on the wing and a formidable defensive middle this year. And he is a terrific guy as well able to achieve the tough balance between bring genuinely liked and respected by the boys. He put his heart and soul as well as countless hours into the season and was truly appreciated by us all. Looking forward to the years to come.

Anonymous said...

For an all time team go to the CMass coaches website and start by looking at their all -American page, or go to the and look at their All American page. That is the starting line.....Though some may have qualms about it being SJS and Gonk heavy (and it may be but...), its hard to argue the talent that those programs have produced consistently from the start.

Cool Idea to play with though.

All the best

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