From a strictly record perspective, we dipped slightly from last year’s overall mark. The Clam teams went a combined 9-10, not bad, but beneath what we’d aspired to as a program.
But the event was a mixed experience. A closer look reveals that two teams advanced to the semi-finals of the playoffs, a program-high for our teams at this event. One team, the 2019’s, not only advanced to the Championship, but may have delivered our program’s biggest win of the summer, besting SweetLax Upstate 7-6. This team, with 19 D1 commits according to the event’s distributed literature, was the odds-on favorite to win the event’s oldest bracket, and was put together with that outcome in mind. Upending them right out of the chute was extremely exciting, and set the tone early that this team was gonna give this event everything they had. They did just that, playing some of the best Clam lacrosse we’ve seen in months. Among the extraordinary efforts very deserving of mention was a 7-6 OT win vs. a familiar foe, the NXT ‘19’s. We’ve fallen to this team by a goal in each of the previous two seasons, so to finally get over the hump was extremely gratifying. In this game, Bennett Stankovits played the role of the hero, hammering his first goal of the day off a nice feed from the 2019 team’s leading scorer Joe Goguen.
One of our two 2020 teams also advanced to the SweetLax Playoff Semi-finals. After dropping a game to a disciplined and talented Blue Star squad 5-1, we needed to get past this team again in Round 1 of the playoffs. Coaches were prepped for another close one, but we felt we had a shot. Our players had other plans, coming out guns blazing and not letting up until the final whistle. Final: 9-3. The next game may have been the most exciting game I’ve watched personally this summer. Falling to a quick 0-5 deficit vs. a loaded SweetLax Florida team, coaches made some adjustments that allowed for a phenomenal comeback. With the game tied at 8-8 as regulation was seconds from expiring, Dylan Brown bulled his to the cage before dishing to Jon Bouvier with 2 seconds left. Somehow, Jon found the poise to hitch, come in front, and get a great look off from about 8 yards. The ball hit the pipe. We had our opportunity in the OT stanza too, but alas the shot was saved, and Sweet Lax Florida found the back of the net shortly thereafter.
Both the second 2020 team and our 2021’s had tough first days, but improved on day two. This was especially true with the ‘21’s, who outscored their opponents 21-4 on the second, displaying crisp and creative ball movement in the process. With 2021’s especially, improvement is more important than anything, and the improvement coaches observed with this team was exemplary.
This is a turning point in the summer. Now we’ve been out there, learned on the fly, enjoyed some success, and learned a lot about our players and our program. Now it’s time to regroup, and then finish the summer flying. We have three practice sessions before our next tournament. We know exactly what we need to work on. Coaches talked strategy the whole way back from Sweet Lax, on that straight shot through the heart of New York. By the time we got home, we were eager to get back at it. That starts tonight.
Fighting Clams 2019 (4-1)
W 7-6 v. Sweetlax Upstate 2019
W 9-5 v. 802 Lacrosse 2019
W 9-5 v. Blue Star 2019
W 8-7 (OT) v. NXT 2019
L 13-5 v. Dukes 2019 (Championship)
Fighting Clams 2020 (3-2)
W 12-1 v. Blaze 2020
L 5-1 v. Blue Star 2020
W 9-3 v. Primetime 2020
W 9-4 v. Blue Star 2020
L 9-8 (OT) v. Sweetlax Florida 2020 (Semi-finals)
Fighting Clams 2020 #2 (0-4)
L 6-4 v. True Michigan 2020
L 15-2 v. Sweetlax Upstate 2020
L 9-2 v. Rock 2020
L 11-4 v. Blaze 2020
Fighting Clams 2021 (2-3)
L 7-6 v. NXT 2021
L 11-5 v. Sweetlax Florida 2021
L 7-5 v. Blue Star 2021
W 12-1 v. Bisons 2021
W 9-3 v. Koopers 2021
The Fighting Clams have attended the NXT Philly Invitational in the fall and summer tournament seasons for several years, so when the directors told us they were adding another strong event to their summer schedule, we were excited to round up a team to compete in Delaware. The Clams team drew a very challenging schedule in the 2019 bracket which provided a ton of great learning opportunities for the group of 2019 and 2020 Clams. Of our four games at NXT Delaware, three saw us square off against one of the teams that made it to the event’s Championship game, and two of our four games were against the eventual Champions, Team Carolina 2019.
The team posted a final record of 1-3. In addition to the two losses to Team Carolina, the other defeat was to the team they defeated in the title fight, LI Sting 2019. Their victory came in a day one battle with Hilltoppers 2019 by a score of 10-5.
The goal of bringing a team to this event was to challenge this team against bigger, strong and often older competition and the schedule we drew did exactly that. It was great to see players like Alec Matho (Hebron Academy, 6G, 1A), John LaViolette (Brewster Academy, 4G, 1A), Brian Souza (St. John’s Prep, 2G, 3A) and Kenny Offner (Pingree, 3G, 1A) step up to pace the offense throughout the event.
Matthew Petitto, Cam Souza & Michael Pettito, all hailing from Wakefield HS provided the framework for the solid defensive effort, along with Sean Sullivan from Wellesley HS. Rishi Banerjee (Belmont Hill) anchored the crew with sixteen saves over the four-game stretch.
Fighting Clams 2019/2020 (1-4)
L 12-2 v. Long Island Sting 2019/2020
W 10-5 v. Hilltoppers 2019
L 15-5 v. Team Carolina 2019
L 15-2 v. Team Carolina 2019
FLG BIG X CLASSIC
For the eighteen years the Clams have been in existence, we’ve always believed in bracketing our teams in a manner that best challenges our players against the strongest competition they can handle. This summer’s FLG Big X offered a great opportunity to do just that. We entered a team comprised of hand-picked 2020’s and 2021’s to compete in their 2020 bracket, and they posted a final record of 2-3.
The young Clams started off the event with a solid 5-1 win over the LI Tomahawks, a team that they would eventually see again on day two. After the victory over the Long Island Tomahawks, the Clams dropped decisions to 3d NE South 2020 and Igloo Sub Zero 2020, both by a score of 6-1. Although the offense was slow to get rolling in day one’s weather-shortened games, the defense held strong and was backstopped by 2020 goaltender Sean Henderson (Franklin HS). Rising juniors Aiden Chitkara (Wayland HS) and Alec Matho (Hebron Academy) paced the offense throughout the event.
Day two began with a 5-2 loss to the LI Tomahawks 2020 but the Clams were not done yet. In their final game of the event, the Clams battled back and forth with a very strong LI Tide 2020 squad. The game went back and forth while no team ever led by more than two. Will Mohr (Shawnee Mission East HS) and Remi Creighton (Oliver Ames) played huge roles in the midfield and Seth Bello (Holliston HS) made plays all over the field while chipping in a goal in the effort. Aiden Chitkara (Wayland HS) led the scoring in the final game with three goals and an assist. The final goal was scored with 30 seconds on the clock to take the lead for good on a terrific ride and feed by 2021 Jack Duffy (Newton South HS) to Chitkara for with winner.
Henderson was great in the cage throughout the weekend and got a ton of help from great defensive by the five 2021s defenders in front of him. Brandon Lavey (Pingree), Francis Gannon (Deerfield), Sam Duffy (Newton South HS), Luca Steinert (Middlesex) and Liam Alley (Middlesex) all played key roles in the defensive effort on Long Island.
Fighting Clams 2020/2021 (2-3)
W 5-3 v. Long Island Tomahawks 2020
L 5-1 v. 3D New England South 2020
L 6-1 v. Igloo Sub Zero 2020
L 5-2 v. Long Island Tomahawks 2020
W 6-1 v. Long Island Tide 2020