Lacrosse Preps For Spring
By: Dan Crowley
Last year the Blue Knight lacrosse team finished the season at 12-8 going two rounds into the state tournament before being ousted by Concord-Carlisle. Eleven seniors graduated from that team; still Coach Mike McNeill likes what he sees this spring and has plans to take his Knights back to the tournament.
“We have as good a chance as anybody to win the Atlantic Coast League and we’re looking to return to the tournament,” McNeill explained. “I’m seeing a great deal of focus from the upper classmen and a lot of healthy competition in tryouts.”
Four senior captains will lead the Knights onto the field this spring. For all of them this marks their fourth season in the program.
“We’ll be looking to them for leadership,” McNeill said of his captains. “They are a diverse crew and all bring something different to the table. Each of them has a passion for the game and plays with intensity. They love and respect the game of lacrosse.”
Senior captains Fernando Harrington, Matt O’Connell, and Tim O’Brien return to the defensive end of the field, while senior captain Todd Davis will be running the first midfield line.
Also back on the field for the Knights will be seniors Jaryd Mohre and Tom Flynn.
“They have been in the program for four years,” the coach said. “Jaryd wrestled this past winter and Tommy played hockey. Jaryd will play midfield/attack and Flynn will be moving from short stick attack to long stick middy.”
Senior Todd Solari is back after missing last season with an injury and senior Jim Fluke, who played at Archbishop Williams last year, will be joining the Knights.
“We have three goalies,” the coach pointed out. “Juniors Nick Darzenta and John Barrett are competing for a spot along with returning sophomore Brendan Calderia. Calderia could run both the midfield and play in goal for us.”
Junior Nick Gorrasi returns for his third season.
“He’s our only full-time attackman,” McNeill said. “This could be an opportunity for him to run the offense and lead on the field.”
Several juniors are competing for the open varsity spots left after graduation last year.
Junior Devin Green returns up front for the Knights and sophomore Brad Collins is expected back in the midfield this spring.
Coach Brent Pearsall will head the junior varsity squad this spring.
“The JV program will be talented,” McNeill noted. “The group this year has a strong core of experienced, talented players.”
Coach Brett Rigazio is taking over the freshman program this season for the Knights.
“Almost all of the freshmen are coming in with experience,” McNeill pointed out. “There are some very impressive 9th graders who have a good understanding of the game for this level. I have to thank Sandwich Youth Lacrosse for sending us kids who know how to play the game.”
Coach McNeill will be assisted by volunteer coaches Jerome Fay, Erik Knauss, and Mike Gorassi.
“They make a big difference,” McNeill said of his assistant coaches. “Those three guys have a lot of experience in the game.”
The Blue Knights have scrimmages scheduled for tomorrow at home against Hanover at 10 AM and a four-team scrimmage slated for March 27 at the Oak Ridge School with St John’s of Shrewsbury, Barrington, Rhode Island, and Dartmouth beginning at noon.
“We’re going to focus on accountability this year,” the coach said, “accountability to ourselves and the team on and off the field, in the classroom and in the community. This year we are continuing the tradition at Sandwich High School that goes back to Walt Gallagher and Harry Evans. I want the kids to understand and respect that. Things are coming full circle. Back when Brent Pearsall was coaching the varsity, Matt Crocker played for him. This year his son Scott Crocker will enter the program as a freshman. (Current SHS varsity hockey coach) Jordan Mohre played for Brent, and now Jaryd is here. There have been so many brothers who have gone through the program and alumni that come back every year to help out. The kids have a great opportunity to be a part of something so much bigger.”
Sandwich will open the season March 30 at Marshfield at 4 PM.
“We’ll be ready,” Coach McNeill added. “I’m eager to play, and right now the majority of our upper classmen are ready to get out there and get the job done.”
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