Friday, July 6, 2018

Central Mass Lacrosse Award Winners 2018

Groton-Dunstable senior middie Liam McDonough did a little bit of everything for the Crusaders this year.   Photo by Abby Hoey.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Earlier this week we brought you our annual Central Mass Lacrosse All-Star team, and now we close the book on the 2018 season with our annual Award Winners.

Continue below to see who took home each award this year.

Breakout Player of the Year
 Mason Kohn, Jr. M(FO), Shrewsbury

Coming into the season, there was a feeling that Shrewsbury's midfield would be diverse and deep, but Kohn's absolute domination at the face-off X took the Colonials to another level.

On top of emerging as the region's premier face-off specialist, Kohn also became one of Central MA's best finishers, tying senior Alec Buduo for a team-high 34 goals, and finishing second on the Colonials with 52 total points.

A one-man fast-break on the lacrosse pitch, Kohn will move to Texas next year to be play junior hockey.

Ed. Note- A previous version of this story said that Kohn would be returning to Shrewsbury for his senior season. We regret this error.

Offensive Player of the Year
 Blake Moxim, So. A, Hopedale

Our Breakout Player of the Year from a season ago, Moxim took an even bigger step than we thought in his sophomore campaign. The lethal Hopedale attackman was the region's best creator, leading Central Mass in assists by a country-mile, dishing out an absurd 66 on the season (20 more than his closest competition).

Moxim also showed he could fill it up, however, throwing home 37 goals, and finishing second in the region in total points, while leading all scorers from both Mid-Mass. and all of the Mid-Wach leagues.

It's scary to think that he has two years left, and crazy to ponder just how far Hopedale has come in such a short period of time. A contributor since he was an 8th grader, Moxim has been a key cog in the building of this program.

Defensive Player of the Year
 J.T. Hartt, Sr. D, Nipmuc

Nipmuc was once again one of the best stories in the region, splitting its regular season series with Mid-Mass. power Grafton, before reaching the sectional final and falling to the Indians.

With as much as Nipmuc had to replace from a season ago, it's remarkable that the Warriors still put together one of the region's best defenses, but Harrt made sure his team always had a fighting chance. Also voted the Defensive Player of the Year in Mid-Mass. by his league coaches, Hartt elevated his game and became the region's most feared pole, constantly battling with the top scoring threats from opposing teams and giving them fits.

Coach of the Year

Michael Kelley, St. Bernard's/Matt Nofsinger, Algonquin

It's a bit of a cop out to split this award but, to be fair, you could have thrown Hopedale's Eric Moxim, Groton-Dunstable's Rick Arena, Shrewsbury's Nate Skermont, St. John's Justin O'Leary, Grafton's Alan Rotatori and Oakmont's Pete Romano in here as well... There were that many great coaching jobs in the region this year.

But I'm going with Kelley and Nofsinger by the skin of their teeth. Kelley unleashed the full power of the Bernardian offense, riding stars Mick Ginnity, Nick Bagley and Dom Valera to a region-best 15.7 goals per game. Defensively, the Bernardians were no slouches either,  surrendering a region-low 4.1 goals per game.

While it was a user-friendly schedule at first, Kelley's squad rattled off 15 consecutive wins to start the season, and finished the year with a hard-fought tournament loss to Grafton, beating some of the top teams from the Colonial and Mid-Wach B/C along the way.

Nofsinger, on the other hand, returned Algonquin to the top of Mid-Wach A, and scored his first win over regional power Grafton as coach of the T-Hawks. Dominance over league foes from Mid-Wach A and budding rivals from Mid-Wach B, plus showing that his team could play with some of the best squads in the state earn Nofsinger co-honors, as he has the Tomahawks primed to once again contend for state titles. 

Player of the Year
 Liam McDonough, Sr. M, Groton-Dunstable/Chris Campbell, Sr. LSM, Shrewsbury

The coaches in Mid-Wach A couldn't split hairs between these two, and who am I to argue?

McDonough is our reigning Player of the Year, while Campbell was our Defensive Player of the Year a season ago, and each of them turned in truly special senior campaigns.

While Campbell keyed another spectacular Shrewsbury defense and lived up to his reputation as a ground ball demon, McDonough led Central MA's largest league in points and did a little bit of everything else for the Crusaders.

Neither had their high school careers end the way they had hoped, as a brilliant defensive performance by Campbell and Co. wasn't quite enough in a 5-4 loss to cross-town rival St. John's, and McDonough suffered a concussion from a cheap shot in G-D's tournament win over Sharon, putting him on the shelf for what would be a season-ending loss to Westwood.

But tough endings aside, these two will be remembered among the best ever to play in the region, and each will continue their career at the Division 1 level next year. Campbell heads to Hartford, while McDonough is set to suit up for UMass-Lowell.

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