Boston High School: Joe Cormier

D1 North final: Acton-Boxborough 8, L-S 7

June, 11, 2014

ALLSTON, Mass. -- With their season series tied at one, last night's Division 1 North final between Dual County League rivals Acton-Boxborough and Lincoln-Sudbury seemed primed to end yesterday's tripleheader at Harvard with a flourish.

It didn't disappoint.

The Warriors and Colonials tore the house down at Harvard Stadium for 48 minutes, and at the final horn it was A-B surviving with an 8-7 win and a trip to Saturday's state final.

“Always playing L-S is a rivalry,” Acton-Boxboro midfielder Chris Wiggins said. “Last year we lost all three games, but this year we're 2-1. It's a big step up. I think it was just the heart. We never really wanted it bad last year. This year this is the only thing we wanted; we wanted to beat L-S.”

With the game tied at five after three quarters both sides played a final 12 minutes that will not soon be forgotten by any in attendance.

A-B's Hunter Arnold and Wiggins scored goals 19 seconds apart before the Warriors responded with goals by Greg Roder and Connor McCarthy.

With all of the Colonials’ vaunted weapons it was an unlikely hero who scored the winning goal. Sophomore Peter Hatch put home a goal with just over three minutes left, and the Colonials defense held the rest of the way. Hatch was one of six different goal scorers for the Colonials.

Joe Cormier, who had a hat trick for the Colonials, said the depth provides an added confidence for the squad.

“It's so relieving,” Cormier said. “You don't second guess yourself. It makes the game that much faster, it makes the defense move that much more, and inevitably more goals.”

L-S hurt its own cause with seven penalties in the game, and the Colonials made them pay. A-B scored three times in man-up situations.

“We've been working on it quite a bit so we've been better as of late,” A-B coach Pat Ammendolia said of his team's man up. “It's not anything I’m giving them it's just them making plays. I don't a heck of a lot of coaching. I just put them in the right spots and let them make plays.”

L-S had its chances to finish but failed to do so. Two chances right on the crease in the waning minutes failed to find twine.

“I think they had better intensity throughout the game,” L-S coach Brian Vona said. “We had a lot of intensity too, but I don't think we matched their intensity throughout the game. I think we had it in spurts. I really just think they executed.”

The Warriors were led offensively by a pair of goals from Eric Holden and a one-goal, one-assist game from Harlan Smart.

SEXTON GOES DOWN: It is safe to say that John Sexton was Lincoln-Sudbury's anchor. The senior long-stick midfielder was a star on defense, controlled the faceoff X, and had the green light to shoot. However, the Warriors had to play over half the game without him as Sexton went down with a leg injury in the second quarter.

“Sexton left a legacy here of kids that want to work hard,” Vona said. “That kid willed us the last couple of years. He's a great player on the field, but off the field he's really special.

“One of the kids said it best, John led us all year to this moment. He made all the kids game ready in case he went down, and the kids played hard.”6

For Ammendolia, who coached against Sexton for four years, winning the title without the Under Armour All-American on the field took a little sheen off the festivities.

“You hate to see Johnny Sexton go down, he's a heck of a player,” Ammendolia said. “It's too bad we had to win without him on the field.”

Recap: No. 2 A-B 13, No. 1 Needham 6

May, 18, 2014
ACTON, Mass. -- After the pomp and pageantry of senior night had worn off, Acton-Boxborough was faced with a four-goal deficit 10 minutes into its game against a Needham team that won the first six faceoffs of the game.

The Colonials adjusted and remedied the situation with seven straight goals en route to a 13-6 thrashing of the Rockets in front of nearly 1,000 people at Leary Field.

“We had a slow start,” A-B's Hunter Arnold said. “Senior night we had a lot of guys who don't usually start playing. Everyone stepped up. We were down 4-0 and realized we had to turn it on to win. Needham's a good team, but we brought it tonight.”

Arnold quarterbacked the Colonials’ attack with five goals, four of which came in the second half. Overall, six different Colonials scored.

The tide began turning when A-B figured out Needham's 10-man ride. The Colonials forced the ball through the middle with fast midfielders and pushed the game into transition whenever it could. The defense also did its part pushing the pace, forcing Needham into 11 turnovers.

“I think we had a lot of transition goals,” A-B head coach Pat Ammendolia said. “We have a lot of guys that can score, and any one of them can go off. They can all go off; it just depends on when and where.”

Senior midfielder Chris Wiggins stepped to the moment with a four-goal performance. Fellow seniors Joe Cormier and Joey Biggins also had goals.

“End result was ridiculous,” Wiggins said. “We came in hoping to knock them off. We're looking for a state championship and we knew this could potentially be the final so we wanted to show them what we got. Thirteen-to-six, that's a pretty big deficit.”

Needham dominated at the faceoff X (14 wins) and controlled ground balls (25-14), but couldn't adjust properly on offense to stem the A-B run. The Rockets were held scoreless for a stretch of 25:55 between the first and third quarters.

“They figured us out,” Needham head coach Dave Wainwright said. “We got stale on our offense. We threw some balls away and they made us pay. They stepped on our throats and wouldn't let us breathe again. We tried to do some things to get some looks, but it just wasn't in the cards for us tonight. They were prepared and we weren't.”

Jack Walsh had a pair of goals for Needham.

CRIMMINS CONTROL: Every body needs a strong backbone and Sean Crimmins played the role for A-B. The junior goalkeeper turned aside six shots and organized a defense that pressed Needham to the outside and forced into low-percentage shots.

“It all started with number eight in the cage,” Wiggins said of Crimmins. “He held it together; he controls the defense real well. We had a couple guys go at [Mike Panepinto], he's one of the most athletic kids we've seen all year, so I think shutting him down was the main point to stop their offense.”

Crimmins said that the goal was to keep everything simple and slow on the defensive end.

“We were just trying to game manage,” Crimmins said. “They were getting three-minute possessions and a few shots, but they were just moving the ball. We were just trying to keep long possessions, let the time run out. We knew if we got in a gunfight with them we might not win.”

D1 lacrosse: Acton-Boxborough 10, Marshfield 9

June, 6, 2013
ACTON, Mass. – With a berth in the Division 1 semifinals on the line, No. 4 Acton-Boxborough hosted No. 5 Marshfield in a quarterfinal game that pitted two of the state’s most physical, up-tempo teams against each other.

The Colonials would utilize an aggressive, five goal third quarter to hold off a gritty Marshfield squad and come away with the 10-9 victory.

[+] EnlargeActon-Boxborough Lax
Ryan Kilian for ESPNBostonNo. 4 seed Acton-Boxborough edged No. 5 seed Marshfield. 10-9 in a Division 1 quarterfinal on Wednesday and advance to play Dual County League rival Lincoln-Sudbury in the semifinals.
“That is our M.O.,” Acton-Boxborough head coach Pat Ammendolia said after the game. “We like to attack, attack, attack.”

Despite arriving in Acton slightly behind schedule, due to travel delays, Marshfield jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first 90 seconds of the game. Nolan Ryan and Mike Carbone banged home quick scores to give Marshfield the 2-0 advantage.

A-B (18-4) would settle in midway through the first quarter as their defense buckled down and their offense would score four first half goals as Joe Cormier, Chris Wiggins, Trevor Kononenko and J.T. Kelly added scores to even the game at 4-4 at the half.

“They are a tough, physical team,” Marshfield head coach Jake Jones said. “I thought we did a good job defensively of slowing them down early on.”

In an evenly played, back-and-forth game, the third quarter would prove to be the difference. Cormier did a great job at the faceoff X for A-B ad helped the Colonials control the majority of the possessions in the quarter.

A-B took advantage of the time of possession advantage, stayed aggressive, and went on a 5-2 run in the third, behind three goals in the quarter from A-B attack Thomas Cotter.

“We like to go, go, go and when we are clicking like we were in the third quarter we can score in bunches,” Ammendolia said.

Leading 9-6 heading into to the fourth quarter, Carbone would score the first goal out of the break to cut the A-B lead to 9-7.

A-B’s Hunter Arnold would then answer to extend the lead back to three goals at 10-7. The A-B defense, led by goalie Rick Kronenwett, would remain stout until the final minute of the game when Carbone would put a scare into the Colonial faithful.

Marshfield’s Shawn Daly, who played a great game all evening, would find the diminutive but tough Carbone for two late goals at the 34 and 13 second marks in the fourth to cut the lead to 10-9.

Cormier would secure the ensuing draw for A-B to preserve the one-goal victory.

“That put a scare into us late when they scored those two,” Ammendolia added. “We got the big faceoff at the end, got it behind the net and killed it. It was a good team effort today and we did the little things that were important.”

Marshfield concludes their season with an 18-5 record and showed tremendous heart and fight as they battled the entire game until the final horn sounded.

“I am just real proud to have coached these guys,” Jones said. “Having started with a lot of these guys last year, in my first year as their coach, I have seen the growth of many of them and I am just real proud.”

Marshfield goalie Pat Burchill also played well in net making 15 saves in the game.

An All-DCL Large State Semifinal: A-B advances to the D1 state semifinals for the first time in program history. They will take on a familiar foe in DCL Large rival Lincoln-Sudbury on Saturday. L-S defeated Billerica, 14-1, in quarter-final action in Sudbury on Wednesday.

L-S (17-2) defeated A-B both times they met in regular season play.

“We have a lot of respect for that team and their coach,” Ammendolia said. “We look forward to playing them. L-S is just a real good team and we are just going to go out there and give it our best.”
CONCORD, Mass. -- Acton-Boxborough lacrosse trailed by four goals with less than six minutes to play in Thursday’s Dual County League rivalry game against Concord-Carlisle.

The Colonials attack was snuffed out for the great parts of three quarters before breaking off a string of three goals within a minute and nine second to get themselves within a goal. A-B parlayed the momentum into the game-tying goal, scored by T.J. Kelly with 2:34 remaining in regulation. After playing through one overtime period, Scott Rogers (2G, 1 A) made it a happy bus ride home, scoring the game-winner at the 3:14 mark of overtime No. 2.

As for the sudden change in the Colonials’ attack? A-B head coach Pat Ammendolia swears he had nothing to do with it.

“This is word for word,” Ammendolia said, emphatically gesturing with his hands. “I told them that I’m not good enough a coach to get them out of it [the deficit]. Fact, that’s verbatim.”

There was no magic wand that cured all of the Colonials’ ill from the first half. Instead, A-B (9-1) began doing the little things. The decided ground ball advantage the Patriots (5-5) enjoyed in the first half diminished in the fourth. Colonials face-off extraordinaire Joe Cormier won draws – directly or indirectly – setting up their string of three-straight goals from 5:16 to 4:07.

And then, there was the matter of patience on the attack.

“All season, we’ve been averaging pretty high in terms of scoring,” Rogers said. “We were shut down pretty much the whole game and we kept forcing plays, trying to do everything ourselves. We just needed to play as a team and move the ball around, dodge, throw it back, re-dodge.”

Cormier had as big a hand as any in the Colonials’ comeback with a key stretch of five straight face-off wins in the fourth quarter. It’s a performance that Ammendolia has come to expect.

“He’s excellent,” he said of Cormier. “He was great for us again today. He’s guy that we can count on and usually that’s at 75-, 80-percent [won faceoffs] each game. He’s meticulous and he’s really technical.

“But he’s a hell of a complete player, not just a face-off guy.”

C-C did its best to control the pace of the game throughout the first half. Although the Colonials attack didn’t do themselves any favors at times, the Patriots pressed the issue and won nearly every ground ball that was to be had behind long-stick midfielder Nick Brozowski, who scooped up five ground balls in the first half alone.

Cognizant of C-C’s willingness to grind down a high-flying A-B attack, which had scored 102 goals in nine games entering Thursday’s action, the Colonials sought to respond with a bit of the same.

“They like to hold the ball on offense,” Rogers said of C-C. “So we wanted to counter and get it the offensive zone and hold it. Again, we really weren’t doing that. We were forcing plays, taking shots that weren’t there.”

Recap: No. 12 Acton-Boxborough 18, No. 4 Westford 13

April, 10, 2013
WESTFORD, Mass. -- With so many league matchups taking place early in the season, Acton-Boxborough knew it had to make a statement against Westford Academy to avoid losing pace in the Dual County League Large race.

The Colonials did exactly that, dominating in all phases of the game en route to an 18-13 victory over the No. 4 Grey Ghosts at Westford Academy.

Ten different players found the back of the cage for A-B (4-1 overall, 1-1 DCL), topped by Scott Rogers (four goals, two assists) and J.T. Kelly (four goals, one helper). Trevor Konenenko added a hat trick while Hunter Arnold and Brian Picca each contributed a goal and two assists.

On defense, poles Ian Maxwell, Gabe Cormier, Austin Wolf and James Gnall, along with LSM Kevin Brogie, were outstanding in front of goalie Rick Kronenwett.

"We're very athletic," said A-B head coach Pat Ammendolia. "Last year I think we had some great lacrosse players. This year, we have some good lacrosse players but I think we've got great athletes on this team. We can run and that's definitely a strength of ours, team speed. That's what we like to do, get out there and try to run by people."

In order to do that, the Colonials needed to have possessions and the trio of Joe Cormier, Gabe Cormier and Josh Bucens took care of that. Joe Cormier was particularly dominant as the main draw-taker and A-B won all eight faces in the opening quarter and the offense staked the team to a 6-1 lead.

The Colonials would extend that lead to as many as nine goals in the second as Joe Cormier, Arnold, Konenenko, Bryan Sweeney, Rogers, and Kelly all scored during a 6-1 spurt. Loyola-bound attackman Jay Drapeau (four goals, assist) had the first tally of the frame for Westford (4-1, 1-1) and added two more before the half to make it a 12-5 game.

"We isolated their shorties up top, we ran our system and dodged up top," Rogers said of the offensive explosion. "Their slides were a little late and we just put it to them, put the ball in the back of the net. When we ran down the alleys, their slide would come from the crease. J.T. [Kelly] did a good job of popping up to the high crease and getting a couple looks. I got both my assists to him."

Acton-Boxborough pushed the lead back up to nine in the third (15-6) as Rogers, Max Emond and Kelly all connected before Josh Sawyer (four goals, assist) slowed the run. The Colonials slowed the pace in the fourth, trading goals to start the frame with Joey Biggins getting the final score for an 18-9 lead with 5:05 left. The Grey Ghosts popped in four in a row to close it out.

"I think I underestimated their athleticism a little bit," admitted Westford coach Matt Tholander. "I knew they had good, individual, on-ball defenders but I didn't realize that the faceoff circle was going to be a huge problem for us. Faceoffs and ground balls were the big differences in the game."

"Our unsettled defense has been better this year and we obviously got caught up a little bit there with our matchups," he continued. "We knew defensively, we weren't ready at the beginning of the year and we're a long way from where we need to be but like I said to the kids, I've been on this side of it multiple times with A-B where they bum-rush us and next time around, it always seems to work out that you always get another shot at them."

Recap: No. 9 A-B 15, No. 3 L-S 9

May, 10, 2012
ACTON, Mass. --- The Dual County League Large awarded tri-champions last year as Westford Academy, Lincoln-Sudbury and Acton-Boxborough all shared the honor at the top. This year may prove to be the much of the same as A-B defeated L-S 15-9 on Thursday night to lock the three teams up at the top once again in one of the most completive leagues in Massachusetts.

A-B (11-3) led 5-4 at the half in a back and forth beginning that featured strong goalie play from L-S senior Dan Shaughnessy and A-B junior Rick Kronnenwett.

With under a minute to go in the half Kronnenwett made two big saves for the Colonials on a scoring bid from L-S junior midfielder Dan Delaney. The saves helped preserve the lead and momentum for A-B at the half.

“Rick has been great,” said Acton-Boxborough head coach Pat Ammendolia. “We inserted him midway through the year and he has really stepped up. His legs and feet are swollen with ball marks from saves and he has been just doing a great job for us.”

A-B midfielder Joe Cormier (two goals, assist) won the opening face-off of the second half and teammate Kyle Soroka (three goals, three assists) beat his man in transition and scored the opening goal at the 11:26 mark to give the Colonials a two goal lead. The 6-4 lead was the largest lead of the game to date for either team.

Soroka would come back and score again at the 8:48 mark in the third, followed by a tally from Cormier to give A-B an 8-4 lead midway through the third quarter.

L-S would battle back and score two man-up goals to cut the deficit to 8-6 but it would be all A-B from there on out in the third as they would take an 11-7 to the final quarter.

“It was infectious,” Ammendolia said. “One guy will make a great play and then another guy will make a great play and it snowballs. I thought we played a little timid in the first half but we came out and scored one right away and I thought that broke our hesitance.”

A-B would control the possessions and add four more goals in the final quarter to seal the win and create balanced chaos at the top of the DCL Large once again this season.

Despite the loss L-S (9-5) remains one of the most dangerous teams in Division 1 as they boast one of the state’s top young, explosive rosters.

Delaney led the Warriors in scoring on the night as the Fairfield commit scored two goals to go along with one assist. Sophomore midfielder Greg Roder also added two goals for L-S in the loss.

McKelvie Scores: Tyler McKelvie’s six goals earned the senior one of three game balls presented by Coach Ammendolia at the end of the game. (The other two went to Soroka and Kronnenwett ).

McKelvie proved that he did not need much room on the evening to get his shot off and also proved efficient burying six goals with three coming in each half.

“We were fired up to play them,” said McKelvie. “We lost in overtime the first time and clearing killed us. This time we cleaned it up and just did our jobs.”

The senior sniper also scored six goals in A-B’s 19-9 win over Westford Academy last week and leads the Colonials in scoring with 46 goals and 10 assists on the season.

Improved Clearing: The knock on A-B this season has been their struggle in the clearing game. L-S really took advantage of A-B in that department when the two teams met at the beginning of the season in a 14-13 overtime win for the Warriors.

Despite the occasional lapse on Thursday night it is evident that A-B has definitely improved their clearing game and looked fast in transition and composed off of saves.

“I would not say that we clear every day at practice but we do on most days,” Ammendolia explained. “They have been getting better and it is a credit to the kids. I just guide them and it all comes with their hard work at practice.”

Right Time to Be Hot: A-B has now won 10 out of their last 11 games after starting the season 1-2. They have defeated ESPN Boston Top 25 teams Weston, Westford Academy and L-S soundly over the past week and only lost to No. 2 ranked Concord-Carlisle by one goal, 8-7, at the end of the game.

“I think we are a lot more calm and comfortable with the offense and with our off hands,” McKelvie said. “It is nice to just go out there and play.”