We always say that we want our last weekend of the fall to be our best. And this past weekend was our best of the fall. By far.
Five of our seven teams competing didn’t lose a game. Up at the Prime Time Fall Brawl at Bryant, no teams lost. We have a pile of banners and medals that we haven’t even sorted through yet. It seems some teams won Championships, others may not have, we’re not sure exactly why. But the bottom line is, the Prime Time Clam teams – every single one – made statements. For the older teams, this was expected. But for the 2021 and 2020 teams, who had players bouncing back from tough weekends at Harvard, the performances were highly gratifying.
In Philly, which is historically the most competitive event of the fall, we finally broke even and managed an overall winning record. The 2020’s and 2021’s down there played outstanding lacrosse throughout the day. The coaches of both teams felt that each team played the best lacrosse they ever have to this point, and, fittingly, each of their final games showed much of the best attributes of each team. For the 2022’s, fatigue and some meaningful absences, led to a bit of a lackluster tournament. But even here, we learned a lot, and coaches felt some players moved forward, even if the team as a whole failed to do so at the level we’d hoped for.
On the whole, the program went 14-4-3 at our two locations on Sunday. On Saturday in Philly at the individual event, four players were named as All Stars at the highly selective event (see below).
What it all means is we got a lot better this fall. It was clear players invested heavily in their own improvement, and coaches capably led and fostered progress; by the fall season’s conclusion, it showed at every level of the program.
We as a coaching staff know that when fall ends as it did, it bodes very well for the summer season to come. But continued success won’t just happen. Hard work remains. Now, more than at any point in the weeks prior, we know it’s going to happen, and we know we’re going to be dangerous come summer!
Games of Note:
Philly Showcase: Fighting Clams 2020 (4) vs. Seattle Starz 2020 (2)
The 2020 Clams were coming off a weekend at NALA in Delaware where the group finished the day with a tie against a fierce and at times bitter rival, the Predators out of Westchester Country in New York. These games are always close, and the 5-5 final was just another chapter in the rivalry; the game’s tie resulted in an overall even record on the weekend as well, 1-1-1. Being the competitors that they are, a serious bitter taste was left in their mouths after a weekend like the one experienced in Delaware. The coaches used this as a form of motivation for the day at the Philly Showcase, but even more so for the first game of the day against a nationally recognized power house, The Seattle Starz. The team certainly responded to the coach’s motivation and jumped out to an early lead thanks to two first half goals out of the attack from Connor Sullivan (Hopkinton) and Tucker Spencer (Pingree/UVM). Reese Hornstein (St. Mark’s) was dominant at the faceoff X, going 6 of 8, and giving the Clams offense ample possession time with his timely face off wins. The Starz – like most good teams of its caliber do – battled back and ended up tying the game with a goal right before the half ended. With the game knotted at two, the Clams turned to their defense and goaltender, Pat Thomas (Gunnery), to shut down the opposition. Pat and his teammates did just that, keeping the Starz off the score board in the second half, a truly impressive feat. Defenseman like Dalton Church (Proctor), Hugh Curran (Needham), Archie Perry (Belmont Hill), & Jackson Klein (SJP) were a key reason why Pat stopped all the shots he saw. They did a great job pressuring their opposing attackman all game long. The two second half goals came from the midfield this time. One from Zach Dimuccio (LaSalle) and the other from Cam Barisano (Westford/Fairfield). The most impressive part of the entire game according to the coaches was the selflessness and attitude displayed from every player. A prime example of this was the fact that there were six points that were tallied for the Clams, 4 goals & 2 assists, yet six different Clams registered a point in this game, showing just how much every player contributed bringing the term “a whole team win” to fruition!
Philly Showcase: Fighting Clams 2021 (11) vs. Patriot 2021 (1)
I’m definitely going against the grain in choosing this lopsided game to highlight for the 2021’s, who put forth their best weekend to date, first with ten players excelling as part of the Saturday individual showcase, and then going undefeated on Sunday. There was a lot to like out of this crew this past weekend, and the hope is that this will serve as motivation right on through winter.
What was so special about this decisive win is how it reversed a clear trend, and a mildly disturbing one at that. In weekends #1 and #2, the 2021 national teams competing on the road put forth their best effort by far in their first game. At Mayflower a couple weeks back, we came out flying, downing 3d Pacific 11-4 and playing great ball; last weekend, it was a 9-6 win vs. Legacy Greyhound (a very big win for the program, and a game we chose to highlight). In each of the last weekend’s second games, we were very competitive, but couldn’t find that extra gear down the stretch. At Mayflower, we fell 5-6 to a strong FLG team; at NALA, we tied another very strong club, Madlax. Then, in each of the third games, the wheels came off a bit, first in an excruciating 1-11 to 3d NE, then decisively by a 5-10 final to a highly skilled Rising Sons team.
The meaning of the downward trendline could have meant a number of things, but mental and physical fatigue had to be among them.
Flash forward to this past Sunday. In our final game, we saw a challenging showdown with Patriot out of New Jersey lying ahead. This club has been very good for a very long time (in an earlier 2020 game, we fell to Patriot 3-4 in an extraordinary contest with over 40 coaches watching; we missed a hands-free shot with second remaining that would’ve tied it). Back to the ‘21’s, Patriot hadn’t lost, and we hadn’t lost. Given the data points from weeks past, suffices to say there was some apprehension going in.
The first good sign came just 7 seconds in, when we finished an absolutely text book fast break, with Chris Carreras (Alonquin) delivery the perfect cross-crease to Daniel Addonizio (BB&N). Shortly thereafter, Addonizio pumped in his second, an unassisted effort. From that point on, we didn’t look back.
As good as the offense was (the seven different scorers were led by the aforementioned Addonizio with 3 tallies, and Carter Smith (Rivers) and Joey Kraft (Rivers) with 2 goals apiece), the defense stole the show today. Defensively, we were loaded this weekend. Michael Marinello (Belmont Hill) and Ryan Skripps (Rivers), who’d been our best ’21 netminders all fall, were both exceptional on Sunday, together stopping over two-thirds of the shots that went their way. Long poles Jimmy Freehill (St. Sebastian’s), Gregg Dennison (Rivers) and Keegan Palmer (Central Catholic) were hawking the ball all over the field, literally frightening opposing attackmen at times. This game, and the entire weekend, showed that when we have our best ‘21’s together in one spot, we’re downright dangerous. We didn’t have everyone. But we were almost as close as we get given the way we do things from a tournament selection perspective. When our best are all together in this ’21 class, we don’t lose much. And this past weekend showed that when we put our mind to it, we can close out a tournament with the best of ‘em, which certainly bodes well for the events to come, when playoffs and Championships are on the line.
Primetime Fall Brawl: Fighting Clams 2020 (6) vs. HGR Blue 2020(4)
The 2020 Clams headed into the Primetime Fall Brawl at Bryant University with some serious momentum after many of these same players went 2-1 the previous weekend at the Harvard Crimson Classic. However, after the team’s first outing of the day vs the Cape Cod Kings resulted in a rather unsatisfying tie, the feeling was that a fire needed to be lit amongst the group. Needless to say, after an intense coaching session session prior to game two vs long-time local opponent HGR, the Clams responded very well, and didn’t look back.
The team jumped out to a quick 2-0 start thanks to Brain Souza (St. John’s Prep), scoring first off a nice feed from Seth Bello (Holliston, MA), and then shortly afterwards on a feed following a hard, downhill dodge by the always-aggressive, Von Mabbs (St. Mark’s). HGR would battle back and eventually tie the game at 2 goals apiece heading into the half time break. Souza added his third goal after a hard-fought GB battle behind the net. He gained possession, and danced his way to the front of the goal and capped off the play with a nice inside finish to make it 3-2 early in the second half.
Even though it seemed to be an offensive game at times, the Clams defense was the story of the game. A deadly trio down low consisted of Wes Silver (Newton North), Cam Souza (Wakefield), and Sam Rockett (Deerfield) created a couple key turnovers in the second half, and would eventually halt HGR’s scoring chances. Other influential goals came from Jack Theriault (Northfield Mount Hermon), who had a beauty of a dodge from behind to beat his man with a backhanded goal. Both Jon Bouvier (St Johns Shrewsbury) and Von Mabbs (St. Marks) scored late in the second to pu the game out of reach for HGR. Clam newcomer Austin Colby (Gould Academy) won some key faceoffs down the stretch, allowing the ball to remain in the offense’s control as the clock wound down.
The Clams fought hard for this 6-4 win, and both teams are to be commended for a very competitive, high energy contest from start to finish that proved to be our best of the day.
Primetime Fall Brawl: Fighting Clams 2019/2020 (8) vs. Bridgton Academy (4)
The 2019/2020 Clams wanted to close out the fall season right down at the Primetime Fall Brawl. Due to snow in Rhode Island the previous days the tournament format had to be changed from a championship bracket to a fixed 3-game day. The Clams knew there was only one way to make a statement. Go 3-0.
The 2019/2020 team started out the day by closing out their first game against a solid 2019 Four Leaf team, winning 6-5. We then hit our stride winning our second game 9-4 against the Cape Cod Kings with 8 different players registering points. We entered the third game with our 3-0 mission and with an added challenge of playing indoors with sketchy visibility.
Goalkeeper, Sean Henderson (Lawerence Academy), was locked in though and battled through the tough visibility to have his best game of the day making 8 saves on 9 shots. Sean Conery (Acton Boxboro/Babson), also anchored the defense living up to his name with a license to kill, making every player he defended nervous to carry the ball.
The defensive pressure didn’t just start in the our own end. Will Crowley (Portsmouth Abbey) and Michael Petitto (Wakefield HS) took turns at LSM scooping up transition GB’s like magnets and make smart decisions in the clearing game to get it up to our attack. No clear of Bridgeton’s came unearned.
After ending the first half up 3-1, we came out flat in the second half and quickly the game became tied 4-4…..that is until Alec Matho (Hebron/RPI) decided to take it upon himself. Matho broke the tie by scoring 3 consecutive goals with a dodge from up top scoring lefty on the run, righty on the run, and a nice roll back shot to put us up 7-4. Colin Harrington (BC High) handled the first half scoring adding 2 goals of his own from dodges up top as well.
The 2019/2020 Clams finished out the game 8-4 and 3-0 on the day. Way to finish out the fall season.
Primetime Fall Brawl: Fighting Clams 2021 (10) vs. HGR 2020 (1)
The Clams 2021 squad finished their run at the PrimeTime Fall Brawl with a record of 2-0-1 while competing up in a 2020 bracket. The sophomore Clams notched wins over HGR 2020 and Catamount 2020 and mixed in a very competitive tie with Team Central 2020. The best game of the day for this group was their first tilt where they defeated HGR 2020 by a score of 10-1.Throughout the game the ’21 Clam asserted their dominance over their opponent. They led 4-1 at the half and never looked back. Instead, they put the pedal to the metal and ran away in the second half with a 6-0 run to finish the game. The most impressive part of the game was the way the Clams tallied their goals. Six different players scored goals in the contest and five different guys tallied an assist. Most impressive was the fact that eight of the ten Clam goals were assisted. The team was moving the ball well to find the open man consistently throughout the opening game of the tournament and it continued throughout the day. Through the first two games, twelve of fourteen goals were assisted – a truly remarkable statistic.Against HGR, Graham Brady (Acton-Boxboro HS) was the quarterback of the offense. Brady assisted four of the ten Clam goals and the most impressive part was the way in which he dished it. Brady would get open at or below GLE, receive the pass and then immediately feed it back to cutters. It truly was fun to watch. In addition to his four assists, Graham also tallied the first goal of the game to get the squad rolling. Thomas Skolnick (Belmont HS) also tallied five points in the game but his came on four goals and one assist. Skolnick, primarily a midfielder in the Clam organization, saw action at attack as well and proved to be very capable of dodging and finishing against a longpole. Michael Lee (St. Sebastian’s), Joe Lombardi (Holliston HS) and Rex Mabbs (Middlesex) all chipped in with two points for the very well-rounded Clam offense.This team had tremendous energy throughout the day and their positive attitude was a major reason for their success and fostered a very entertaining brand of lacrosse. The defensive effort was backboned by Chris Perri (Lawrence Academy) and Dominic Pasquale (Nashua South HS) who led a stingy defensive effort that only allowed a combined six goals in three games.
Primetime Fall Brawl: Seasoned Clams (6) vs. HGR 2019 (4)
The Seasoned Clams team did not disappoint at the Bryant Tournament as they lit up the competition to the tune of a 3-0 record. Their closest game was their last game, against a solid HGR 2019 team for the 2019 bracket championship.
The Seasoned Clams started off lethargic in their last game of the day against a talented HGR team. Cory Bannon (Hopkinton/Wheaton) kept the team competitive in the first half by making numerous big saves to keep the deficit at 1-0 before the offense began to heat up.
Offensively, the player who stole the show in this one was Jake Erickson (AB/Ithaca). Erickson contributed an impressive 3 goals in what ended up being a 6-4 contest. Erickson’s contribution paired with Boyd Hall’s (St.Marks/Quinnipiac) strong defensive performance which, included 4 forced turnovers, carried the Seasoned clams to a championship in their final fall event as a team.
Fighting Clams 2020 (2-1)
W 4-2 vs. Seattle Starz 2020
W 6-3 vs. 3D Upstate 2020
L 4-3 vs. Patriot 2020
Fighting Clams 2021 (2-0-1)
T 4-4 vs. True Lacrosse 2021
W 4-2 vs. SouthShore 2021
W 11-1 vs. Patriot 2021
Fighting Clams 2022 (0-3)
L 7-2 vs. Predators 2022
L 6-4 vs. Tri State 2022
L 8-2 vs. Annapolis Hawks 2022
Seasoned Clams (3-0) Bracket Champion*
W 7-0 vs. MXB College Prep
W 9-3 vs. NH Tomahawks 2019
W 6-4 vs. HGR 2019 Blue
Fighting Clams 2019/2020 (3-0) Bracket Champion*
W 6-5 vs. 4Leaf 2019
W 9-4 vs. Cape Cod Kings 2019
W 8-4 vs. Bridgton Academy
Fighting Clams 2020 (2-0-1) Bracket Champion*
T 5-5 vs. Cape Cod Kings 2020
W 6-4 vs. HGR 2020 Blue
W 4-2 vs. 207Lacrosse 2020
Fighting Clams 2021 (2-0-1) Bracket Champion*
W 10-1 vs. HGR 2020
T 4-4 vs. Team Central 2020
W 11-1 vs. Catamount Red 2020
Philly Showcase All Star Game
2020 Fighting Clam LSM Carter Hampson (Deerfield) & 2020 Fighting Clams Coach Dube.
2021 Fighting Clam Goalie Ryan Skripps (Rivers) & 2021 Fighting Clam Midfielder Malcolm Steegstra (Proctor).