Friday, June 23, 2017

Central Mass Lacrosse Award Winners 2017

One of our award winners is (probably) in that pile... Somewhere.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

We've already unveiled our annual CMass Lax All-Star team, so I won't waste any time with introductions. Here are our award winners for 2017.

Breakout Player of the Year

Blake Moxim, Fr. A, Hopedale/Brandon Witherell, Fr. G, Littleton

Call this a cop-out, but I couldn't choose between these two breakout freshmen. Blake Moxim, somehow, seemed to get better as the season went along, and ended up leading Hopedale in points (78) and assists (44). The Blue Raiders certainly have a bright future with Moxim, and a few of our other all-stars, returning next season.

Meanwhile, Littleton came into 2017 with a question mark between the pipes. Thanks to a football injury, returning starter Erik Rauker was on the shelf, and all Witherell did was have, arguably, the best freshman goalie season in CMass history. Allowing a region-low 4.5 goals against per game, Witherell was a revelation for an already talented team, and helped the Tigers reach the Division 3 Central/East finals.

Offensive Player of the Year

Drew Kozub, Sr. A, St. John's

The key piece of a great offense at St. John's, Kozub put together a fantastic senior season, leading the Pioneers with 97 points (65G, 32A), and he put those numbers up against the toughest schedule in Central Mass.

A tough and balanced attackman who always plays under control, Kozub separated himself as the best finisher and pure scorer in the region. There are players with more impressive numbers, but none who did it against tougher competition, and in bigger games.

Defensive Player of the Year

Chris Campbell, Jr. LSM, Shrewsbury

Campbell's coaches liken him to a "shutdown corner" in football, where opposing teams just won't even bother trying to dodge on the athletic junior. On top of great defense, Campbell's nose for ground balls, and ability to push the pace in transition helped the Colonials win 10 in a row midseason, and run away with the Mid-Wach A title outright.

Returning for his senior season, expect Campbell, and the Colonials, to again be stingy defensively.

Coach of the Year

Eric Brockett, Nipmuc

Brockett was also voted Coach of the Year by his peers, and it's hard to argue with their choice. The Nipmuc coach guided the Warriors to the best season in program history, and pressed all the right buttons to maximize his athletic midfielder and gritty defense.

While Nipmuc will lose several contributors, including All-American middie Ryan Richards, Brockett has laid the ground work for this team to be a contender for the foreseeable future.

Player of the Year

Liam McDonough, Jr. M, Groton-Dunstable

Our "Breakout Player of the Year" from a season ago, McDonough took the next step and became a bona fide star in 2017. One of the best face-off guys in the state, and the Crusaders' top offensive weapon (60 points, good for second in Mid-Wach A), not to mention a solid defender as well, there wasn't much McDonough didn't do.

A big, physically imposing player with outstanding stick skills and footwork, McDonough went from very good to dominant in a year's time, and helped the Crusaders keep pace in Mid-Wach A, and nearly pull off a huge upset against eventual Division 3 state champion Ipswich.

While his team ran into a buzzsaw against Littleton in the tournament, McDonough's complete body of work remains impressive.

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