Boston High School: Connor Whalen

Medfield cruises its way back to D2 EMass Final

June, 10, 2011
FOXBORO, Mass. –- Once again, the Medfield High boys’ lacrosse team showed why being the No. 9 seed in the Division 2 East Tournament is one of life's great mysteries.

After beating top-seeded Wellesley, 7-5, in the quarterfinals, defending state champion Medfield made short work of No. 4 Foxborough on Friday by cruising –- and that’s the operative verb –- to an 11-5 victory in a semifinal game.

“I don’t have a problem with the seeding formula or our seed,” Medfield head coach Bob Aronson said. “We had a bunch of losses (Medfield’s now 15-7). Many teams had better records overall than we did. Some of the teams we beat didn’t make the tournament which they typically do.

“You could say there are some flaws in it but I’m not dissatisfied. But in the end, the best team will be standing. If that’s us, then maybe we had a tough road to get there. We did what we had to do."

What Medfield did in this game was torch a Foxborough team that held two of its previous tournament opponents to a grand total of one goal. And it also made life miserable for goalie Greg Stamatov (10 saves), who was voted the Hockomock League’s MVP.

As a result, Medfield advanced to the division finals where it will play No. 2 Concord-Carlisle, at 5:30 p.m. on June 14 at Harvard Stadium.

Medfield’s offense was led by David Parsons (three goals), Connor Roddy (one goal, two assists) and Chris Diana (two goals). But as Foxboro coach Matt Noone emphasized, the play of Medfield goalie Sam Aronson (14 saves) and the team’s overall defense was key to the outcome.

“From the tape, it was shoot low, shoot low, shoot low,” Noone said of Foxboro’s strategy against Sam Aronson. “They’re very effective on their defense. Their goalie is very good and that was the difference today.

“They possessed the ball. They played better defense and their goalie was outstanding.”

Coach Aronson didn’t hesitate when discussing the effectiveness of his defense.

“Cam Donnelly, our long-stick middie, had a great game,” he said. “I thought Garrett Read had a tough matchup with a big, strong guy (attack Connor Whalen) and I think he did a nice job on him. He had one assist in the whole game.”

One could make a case that the “whole game” boiled down to the first quarter –- the first 7-1/2 minutes, to be precise.

Medfield bolted to a 3-0 lead during that span on goals by Matt Crowell, Roddy and Diana.

And if Foxboro (19-4) didn’t score on a shot off the stick of Jake Hyland with a nano-second left in the first quarter, Medfield would have led 6-0 at halftime.

“We did have a good lead,” coach Aronson said. “They’re a good team. They’re good in transition. Their goalie’s good and we certainly couldn’t stop at that. We had to keep pressing.

“We gave up an easy one toward the end of the first period. It was our fault. The goal counted and it should have counted. We just stopped playing with three or four second to go, and they took advantage of that. That’s a mental mistake we need to clean up.”

Medfield definitely “cleaned up” any mental mistakes in the fourth quarter which began with it leading 7-3.

After Medfield’s Peter Gill (during a man-advantage situation) and Hyland traded goals, the visitors really broke it open on an unassisted goal by Andrew Melvin and a superb goal by Diana with 4:51 left on the clock.

Diana, a junior middie, stole the ball, raced in on Stamatov and scored for a 10-5 lead.

Despite the loss, Noone readily noted his program has come a long way in a short period of time.

“This team made history this year,” Noone said. “We made it to the semifinals (for the first time) and the program’s barely nine years old. I told them what they’ve done for this town, what they’ve done for the youth program … they gave us something to believe in.

“They gave us something to be proud of. I can’t tell you how many kids are very happy that they live in this town and that they’re going to play lacrosse on the Foxboro Warrior lacrosse team. It’s a sad day to see it end. But what a ride it was.”

A ride that, unfortunately for Foxborough, will continue for Medfield.

Foxborough keeps historic run going

June, 8, 2011
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -– It took all four quarters for Foxborough’s offense to produce points against Reading’s midfield and defense, but in the end, the Warriors earned an impressive 8-1 victory over Reading on Tuesday afternoon in an MIAA Division 2 East quarterfinal.

“It was a good game. We worked hard [and] it feels like we wanted it more,” Foxborough senior co-captain Connor Whalen said. “We want to keep [our tournament run going because] we’re making history right now.”

Foxborough’s offense came to life when Whalen netted his first of three goals at 9:37 in the first quarter. Reading (15-6) responded two minutes later with their only strike of the contest when freshman David McDermott connected with junior Nick Guenard, who sent the ball past Greg Stamatov (13 saves).

The Warriors (19-3) recovered and earned their second lead of the contest during the closing seconds of the opening quarter, as senior James Stather scored to give Foxborough the lead for good.

“It looked like we weren’t clicking in the first quarter,” Foxborough head coach Matt Noone said. “We had our opportunities, some silly turnovers [but] they turned it on in the second quarter.”

Senior co-captain Cam Felix connected with Whalen in the second quarter, while senior Dan McCarthy found junior midfielder Jake Soccorso in the third. The Warriors offense added four more goals during the final 12 minutes, as Soccorso and Whalen each chipped in one, while senior midfielder Jake Hyland recorded the final two points.

“Our defense was spot on today, we got a great goalie in Stamatov. We just possessed the ball all day long and when you posses, they can’t score. Today was another good example of that and that’s been my theme all year with these guys,” Noone said. “It was just a great game, overall effort by the offense and the defense.”

“I think we just ran out of gas,” Reading head coach Charlie Hardy said. “We [had] a little bit of illness over there. We have three kids with mono, two kids were [vomiting] before the game. I think they played hard, they’re good kids, they did the best they [could]. Foxborough’s a good team. They’re a good club, they’ve got the right things and they outplayed us today.”

Foxborough will face-off against Medfield on Friday in the Division II East semi-finals. It is the farthest the Warriors have ever been in the MIAA tournament.

“We’ve never been [to the semi-finals] this is all uncharted,” Noone said. “It feels very satisfying and yet, we have a lot of work to do still. I’m very proud of these guys, but they know that there’s a bigger wolf up North and they can take [them] out.”

“We’ve still got to work harder if we want to get any further though,” Whalen said.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. –- There’s nothing like home cooking.

Well, sort of.

“The kids just came ready to play,” Foxborough boys’ lacrosse head coach Matt Noone said Saturday. “Even though this was technically an away game for us, this is in our backyard. The kids were so energetic before the game that I think they could’ve flown.”

Facing Hockomock League rival Franklin in the first game of a long day of lacrosse action at Gillette Stadium, the Warriors were off and running from the get-go, scoring in the game’s second minute. Foxborough never trailed while taking an impressive 13-7 win over the Panthers.

The Warriors (5-0) received consistent performances from their attackmen with Jake Hyland, Billy Roberts, James Stather and Connor Whalen all tallying multipoint games. Cam Felix also chipped in two goals.

Roberts led the scoring barrage with a hat trick for a four-point game along with Stather (2 G, 2A). Hyland and Whalen each had three-point games with two goals and an assist each.

Foxborough controlled play in the Franklin (4-2) zone for long stretches of the first half, establishing a 7-4 lead at halftime. Still, there were few things Noone wanted his squad to improve.

“The key to everything is possession,” Noone said. “Our defense was a little sloppy in the first half and I told our guys that we wanted to step that up in the second half.”

The Warriors played a stifling defense in the third quarter, limiting the Panthers to a handful of shots on goaltender Greg Stamatov (11 saves). Meanwhile, Foxborough increased its lead, netting the only two goals of the third.

“We would come down in transition and we would have players out of place,” Franklin head coach Lou Verrochi said. “We’ve been working on fastbreaks daily, so that was a little unfortunate, and we threw the ball away a couple of times. But you have to Foxborough credit, they did nice job of extending out on us and we didn’t the pressure as would’ve hoped.”