The local boys and girls high school lacrosse squads are quickly entering the stretch run of their respective seasons. This lacrosse season has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for most Cape Ann teams as a few young squads have taken their fair share of lumps this spring while others have shown some improvements. Here's a look at how our teams got to where they are right now.
Season Highlights: By all intents and purposes this has been a rebuilding year for the Gloucester boys lacrosse team as its record currently stands at 3-8 on the season. The problem does not appear to be lack of talent for the Fishermen, but size and experience.
Offensively Gloucester has really struggled to score goals averaging less than five per game. The future, however, looks bright for Gloucester offensively as its top scorers are all underclassmen. Ian Kennedy, Jason Lattof and Winslow Lewis have already showed potential and aren't going anywhere for at least two years. With youth, however, comes inexperience. Combine that with a size disadvantage next to just about every team defense they have played and a strong and deep Northeastern Conference and it's easy to understand why Gloucester has had trouble putting the puck in the net.
On the defensive end, however, Gloucester has shined as opponents rarely reach double digit goals. Net minder Sean Kennedy is a legit weapon in net while Coltyn Rivas has been a lock down defender at the defensive midfield position that can also help out the Fishermen in fast breaks. Senior Matt Taormina and sophomore Mike Falzarano have also helped power a strong Fishermen defensive unit as they bring a combination of physicality and athleticism to the table.
Outlook: Head coach Drew Dominick's squad has made strides this season as all three of their wins have come recently after the starting the season 0-5. With five contests remaining on the schedule the Fishermen are looking to finish the year on a positive note. With four of its final five games on home turf Gloucester is looking to string a few more wins together.
Manchester Essex Boys
Season Highlights: Manchester Essex is also going through a rebuilding year as it will miss the tournament for the second season in a row. With a current record of 2-10, the Hornets have struggled to put together wins in the deep Cape Ann League. Like Gloucester Manchester Essex is also forced to play several underclassmen significant minutes. With a pair of key injuries to key defensemen head coach Nate Levie had to insert multiple Freshman in the starting lineup, and in a league as strong as the CAL freshman are going to take their fair share of lumps regardless of how talented they are.
Nick Douglass and Connor Bergmann have been consistent scoring options but the biggest strength of the team has been its defense. Manchester Essex is tough and physical on the defensive end led by Doug Rodier and Chris Pellegrini, who have stepped in nicely for injured senior Andrew Randall and Paul Pennoyer.
Outlook: The Hornets have started to turn things around recently putting together two straight wins after dropping their first 10. Manchester Essex continues to allow few goals and the offense is getting better with each game. They may be playing for just pride over the final four games of the season, but the Hornets are still looking for a strong finish. The regular season finale against Gloucester on May 23 (4:00 p.m., Newell Stadium) should be an entertaining battle as the teams have faced once before in a very tight 5-4 Fishermen win.
Manchester Essex Girls
Season Highlights: Sarah Holch's squad came into the season with high expectations and has lived up to them with a record of 8-3. A Cape Ann League Division 2 title is in the picture for Manchester Essex, as it has plenty of important games coming down the stretch run. The Hornets biggest strength is their balance. Offensively they can put up points led by Taylor Meek, who has eclipsed the 40 goal mark. Olivia Mastendino and Olivia Lantz have also been key offensive contributors this spring.
Defensively Manchester Essex is stingy led by senior captain Taylor Coons, who will be heading to St. Anselm College this fall to play field hockey.
Outlook: The Hornets have already clinched a spot in the state tournament and will be playing for seed over the final five games. Just about every game is important as the late season schedule is riddled with challenges starting with CAL Division 2 rival Newburyport today and always tough NEC foe Marblehead on the schedule tomorrow (both games 3:45, Hyland Field). Manchester Essex trails only Ipswich in the CAL Division 2 and does not play the Tigers again so it will need help to win the CAL. League title or not this is a dangerous team in the postseason.
Season Highlights: After finishing the last two seasons without a win, Gloucester has made some strong strides in 2012 with two wins on the year against Lynnfield and Tewksbury. Gloucester has also had several close defeats proving that it can hang with just about anybody in the Northeastern Conference.
Gloucester's resounding strength this season has been its offense. Blessed with blazing speed, Gloucester has been able to light up the scoreboard game in and game out. Head coach Amanda Barker's squad also have several quality scoring options. Junior Melodie Orrell has led the team in goals but Caity O'Leary, Tess Destino, Hayley Labrecque and Julienne Orrell also light the lamp multiple times a game.
A huge surprise for Gloucester this spring has been senior goalie Claudia Oliva, who hadn't played any competitive lacrosse before the 2012 season but has thrived in goal despite her lack of experience.
Outlook: Gloucester has already taken a step forward, and with a few more winnable games remaining on the schedule, most notably Saturday's clash with Tewksbury at Newell Stadium (10:00 a.m.), the team could take a few more steps forward before the season is through.