Boston High School: Blake Frasca

South Hadley's Fitzell takes MVP in All-American game

June, 17, 2014
6/17/14
2:35
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BOSTON – Two days after the best teams in the state took to Boston University’s Nickerson Field, the best individuals took to the same field in the second annual Bostonlax.net All-American game.

Behind T.J. Fitzell’s (South Hadley) MVP performance (two goals, assist) and four goals a piece from Hunter Arnold (Acton-Boxborough) and Jay Drapeau (Westford Academy), Team Under Armour shook off the early rust and cruised to a 20-14 win over Team Cascade.

But when the final horn sounded, it wasn’t about the final score or the individual performances, but rather soaking in the environment and partaking in a great cause.

All proceeds generated from admission were donated to the Wounded Warrior project.

“It’s for a great cause, it was a great thing to be a apart of and it was at a great venue like BU,” Fitzell said. “To be able to come out and perform it’s quite exciting.”

“It’s a lot of fun, I met a lot of guys, I only knew three or four guys coming down here so I met a lot of guys from the area that have been playing lacrosse so it was a good time, I had a lot of fun.”

Team Cascade jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first quarter behind a pair of goals from James Burr (Middlesex) to go along with tallies from Danny Seibel (Belmont Hill) and Needham’s Mike Panepinto.

With 31 seconds remaining in the opening quarter, Kevin Bletzer (Catholic Memorial) scored the second Team Under Armour goal that was the front end of a 7-0 run, keeping Team Cascade off the scoreboard for nearly 12 minutes.

Bridgewater-Raynham’s Travis Reid scored back-to-back goals to end the drought and Team Cascade went into the half trailing by three.

Team Cascade cut the lead down to one with a 3-0 run on goals from Morgan Cheek (Nobles), Seibel and Panepinto but pulled away throughout the second half, and igniting an all-star game feel.

With time winding down, Drapeau scored the goal of the night going behind the back to beat Tyler Blaisdell (Thayer Academy) over his right shoulder for the score.

Arnold’s monster weekend: Hunter Arnold was one of three members of the Div. 1 Champion Acton-Boxborough Div. 1 championship team that took to the field Monday night, joining LSM Austin Wolf (Team Under Armour) and midfielder J.T. Kelly.

Arnold scored a goal in the Colonials’ 5-4 double overtime win over Duxbury and went off for another four goals Monday night on the same field.

“Overall the weekend was awesome,” Arnold recalled. “First the state championship game, there is nothing better, nothing better than beating Duxbury. Double-overtime and then today it was fun a lot of great guys out here.”

Arnold wasn’t the only one who took to the Nickerson Field again, as did Division 2 champion Medfield’s John MacLean, Brian Bissell, Blake Frasca, Matt Crowell and goalie Robert Treiber and Division 3 champion Cohasset’s LSM Tim Gillis.

Jelling together: It was the first time that many of these players had met, let alone played on the same team together. Before the game the players got a 20-minute warm-up to find their rhythm.

It didn’t take Team Cascade long to find their offensive stroke scoring four of the first five goals.

“We gelled together pretty quick after passing and catching drills we all came together,” B-R’s Reid said.

It took Team Under Armour a little longer to figure it out, but once they did, they were too much to handle.

“Well we were a little sloppy on offense so we slowed it down a little but got better shots and pumped in some goals,” Fitzell said.

Arnold added: “It was pretty easy to get along with these guys out here everyone knows how to play. We all know how to move the ball well, it was just a bit rusty to begin.”

D2 Central/East: Medfield 12, Concord-Carlisle 4

June, 6, 2014
6/06/14
11:42
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MEDFIELD, Mass. - Concord-Carlisle came into the Division 2 Central-East final riding the momentum of a 10-game win streak, but that was quickly turned on its head by a dominant performance from top seed Medfield, which rolled to a 12-4 victory before a home crowd on Friday night.

“We didn’t not play well -- that team is just better than us and they forced us into the mistakes we made,” said Concord-Carlisle coach Tom Dalicandro. “We just couldn’t match the speed, the intensity, we couldn’t win a face-off, and they’re just better than us right now.

He added, “This game isn’t going to define our season. I’m proud of my guys -- it was a great run, but we ran into the wrong team in the tournament.”

Senior midfielder Matt Crowell and sophomore middie John MacLean each scored hat tricks for the Warriors (21-2), senior Brian Bissell won 18 of 20 faceoffs, and senior long-stick midfielder Blake Frasca controlled the Patriots top scorer Will Blumenberg.

It was, according to Medfield coach John Isaf, one of the Warriors most complete games of the season.

“I think these guys came out really focused today,” he said. “They really wanted it; they were fired up. I think from the opening whistle, our guys just really wanted it.”

The game plan was clear for the Warriors -- possess the ball and put pressure on the Patriots (14-7) right from the start. MacLean opened the scoring inside the opening two minutes with a low angle shot to the corner. Tyler Hagan smacked the bar and Matt Treiber returned from injury to double the lead with 1:25 left in the quarter.

“Having Matt back was huge; he was a huge part of our lineup early in the season,” said MacLean. “We loved to see him get back and get that first goal.”

He added, “I think on offense we really slowed it down and possessed it well and when we got the possessions we needed then we executed on it…I guess we just had the mindset that if we had an open dodge take it to the net.”

Medfield broke the game wide open in the second with five goals. MacLean scored the first and fifth goal of the quarter to get his hat trick. In between, Nigel Reiff scored after collecting a rebound behind the net and finishing, Bissell got his lone goal directly after winning a face-off, and Crowell got his first of the game after a one-handed snag of a loose pass.

“That was probably our fewest turnovers of the season and we made it a point to emphasize let’s not beat ourselves,” said Isaf. “If we can win the turnover battle, then we’ve got a real good chance of winning. When we value the ball and realize that we don’t have to take the shot on the very first dodge we’re very hard to defend.”

Austin Hoey got the only Patriots goal of the half as the Warriors were in control 7-1 at the break. The deficit grew in the second half, as Jack Isaf, Matt Cahill, a pair of goals from Crowell, and one from Hagan pushed Medfield’s advantage to as high as 10 at 12-2.

A rare transition led to a goal for Concord-Carlisle’s Tommy Standish, which made the score 10-2 at the time. Standish and Hoey would each get their second goals, but not until the final eight minutes of the game.

Aggressive Warriors defense dominates: One of the reasons for Medfield’s domination on Friday night was the ability of its poles to control the Patriots top attackers, in particular the battle between Frasca and Blumenberg, who scored eight goals in Concord-Carlisle’s playoff win over Sharon last week.

“The less he scores, the less they can start clicking, so we just wanted to keep him on edge,” said Frasca. “Obviously, we did that pretty well.”

Isaf noted, “Blake’s covered the best middie one every team. He’s covered D1 guys…he’s just a great athlete, who stays on balance. You never see him overrun a dodge; he never falls for the rollback. When you can take a guy like Blumenberg and put our LSM on him and contain him…we feel like we can cover guys.”

It was a match-up that the coaches had been emphasizing for days leading up to the final and Frasca acknowledged that he was fired up for the challenge.

He said, “I see him scoring eight goals in the first round and obviously you know that you’re going to have a tough match-up, but I live for that you know. That’s what you play lacrosse for.”

Behind Frasca, the combination of defensive players such as William Murphy, Mike MacLean, and Jimmy Ganem, managed to slow down the Patriots offense by being aggressive.

Mike MacLean said, “We see kids who we can lock off; we can just try to strip them, pressure them, and try to make turnovers.”

Frasca added, “It’s important to get out there and play on their hands and with a chip on your shoulder, but only to a point. If you get out there and lunge a little bit then they’re just going to backdoor you or go right past you.”

Making sure history doesn’t repeat itself: Concord-Carlisle came into Friday night’s game not only with a winning streak on its side, but also a little bit of history. In 2009, the Patriots visited Medfield in a sectional final and upset what is widely regarded as one of the all-time best Warriors squads.

Medfield’s coaches used that history to ensure that the current squad did not take the Patriots lightly and, judging by the play of the Warriors, it was a history lesson that they took to heart.

John MacLean said, “Coach kind of got us motivated by getting us together and telling us how they beat us in ’09 here and we kind of wanted to get them back. So, we kind of had that fresh in our mind.”

Isaf explained, “I don’t know what Tom is going to throw at us. From five years ago, he’s done it before, so I don’t know what he’s got up his sleeves.”

He continued, “Based on past performance, we were hoping that [Bissell] could get us a lot of possessions and we noticed that they’re not very deep on defense and we said that if we can run these guys…that’s what we wanted to do.”

“We try to take away the top options and do what we can and then see who is the better team.”

Medfield advances to the state semifinal to take on the winner of Westfield and Shrewsbury, which will play the Central-West final on Saturday evening.

Recap: No. 7 Medfield 9, No. 15 D-S 7

April, 17, 2014
4/17/14
12:58
AM ET
DOVER, Mass. - Medfield coach John Isaf would not reveal exactly what he said to the Warriors at halftime, but whatever it was lit a fire under his players.

After a sluggish opening 24 minutes that saw the Warriors trail for the first time this season, Medfield outscored Tri-Valley League rival Dover-Sherborn 5-2 in the second half to come away with a 9-7 victory on Wednesday night at Searle Field that gives them the upper hand in the league title race.

“It was more about playing the way that we’re supposed to play and playing Medfield lacrosse,” said Isaf about his second half changes. “I think our guys played a little bit looser and a little bit tougher for us then we did in the first.”

Medfield (6-0) shifted its offensive sets and it paid early dividends in the second half when sophomore Nigel Reiff collected a loose ball behind the net and came around to score and tie the game at 5-5. Three minutes later, senior pole Jimmy Ganem raced forward out of defense and caught D-S in transition. He picked out sophomore Matt Treiber who finished and gave Medfield its first lead of the game.

With 1:10 left in the third, another sophomore, BU-commit John MacLean, stepped with his second goal of the game to make it 7-5. D-S (4-2) would cut the lead to one goal early in the fourth on a laser from freshman Bailey Laidman, but on the ensuing face-off an unlikely hero emerged for the Warriors.

Jack-Henry Vara, who had just been pulled up from the J.V. after the top two face-off men went down with injuries, won the faceoff (he won 14 of 18 in the game) and took the ball the length of the field before bouncing one past the stick of D-S goalie Jack Fontaine.

"Any time that you can make a play like that, especially when they’re not expecting it -- that’s a great play," Isaf said. "Jack-Henry has been patient; he’s been working down at the JV level…we gave him the opportunity and he did a great job. We’re fortunate to have that kind of depth.”

D-S was not without its opportunities in the second half, but Medfield goalie Robert Treiber made several huge stops to keep out the Raiders.

“I think he’s one of the best goalies in the state,” said Isaf. “When he’s one and making stops…that might be the difference in a one- or two-goal game.”

Another change that worked well for Medfield was the move of long-stick midfielder Blake Frasca back into close defense to work against D-S senior attack Grant Gregory, who was making his first appearance after being out with an injury. Gregory scored two and caused havoc in the first half, but was limited to just two shots in the second and did not get his hat trick until the final 10 seconds of the game.

“I didn’t think we shot particularly well in the second half,” said D-S coach Brian McLaughlin about the turnaround in play after the break.

He added, “I thought the defense still played strong, but I thought they made the shots that they had to and I thought that we missed on a few that we could’ve had shots on. Their goalie made some great saves…but I thought, you know, we could have shot and finished a little better.”

The combination of Gregory (three goals), who has committed to play at BU, and Laidman (two goals), who has already committed to play at the University of North Carolina, was a positive that McLaughlin thinks the Raiders can build on.

“It’s the first time that [Grant] and Bailey have stepped on the field together, so we have a lot of growing to do as a team,” McLaughlin said. “We really haven’t had everybody together, so in that sense it’s a positive. We played a lot better than we did on Friday and a lot better than we have in the past couple of weeks.”

After having a relatively comfortable start to the season with several routine TVL wins, Isaf was happy to see that his team could step up when it was challenged.

He said, “What I think it said about us is, I think, we’re tough. Things weren’t going our way in the first half, it was the first time that we’ve been down in a game, and the kids responded. That’s what you hope to see from a team.”

Medfield has a quick turnaround to host Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.) on Thursday night. D-S will be back in action next week in the annual Coaches Challenge Cup.

Medfield's Frasca commits to RPI

August, 2, 2013
8/02/13
5:32
PM ET
Medfield lacrosse rising senior long-stick midfielder Blake Frasca has committed to Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute, as announced via the Warriors' official Twitter account.

Frasca, a captain elect for the 2014 season, was a key component to Medfield's Division 2 Eaastern Mass. championship, leading the Warriors with 87 ground balls on the season.

"RPI is getting a great young man who really flew under the radar," Medfield head coach John Isaf said. "Blake is an excellent student and one of those great athletes who are just a joy to coach.

"He's a high-motor guy -- a smart, tough, instinctive defender and groundball hawk. He locked down some of the best middies in the stateon our late season run to the State title game. He was a key reason we won the EMass championship at Harvard for the third time in four years."

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