Boston High School: John Trutza

East Greenwich (R.I.) lax reloads and rebuilds

April, 9, 2014
Apr 9
How do you spell “four-peat?”

Rhode IslandThat’s what the East Greenwich boys’ lacrosse team is seeking this season, a fourth consecutive Division II state championship (along with a fourth consecutive Division II-South title).

Prior to games of April 8, the Avengers had won 38 consecutive games before suffering an 8-5 loss to South Kingstown.

“Staying there is the tougher one because the target is on your back,” said EG coach Brian Trapani, who’s in his sixth season as the Avengers head coach. “Your first (championship), nobody expects you to be there. Once you’re there, you’re expected to be there.

“It’s tougher to repeat.”

How tough?

For starters, East Greenwich graduated 15 players from last season’s team and returns only five seniors.

“Of the five, only one has most of the experience, our captain Sam Feinberg,” Trapani said of his midfielder who scored two goals and assisted on five in the Avengers’ season-opening, 10-6 victory over Middletown. “The others didn’t see as much playing time. The only returning varsity starters are (defender) Max Gessman and Sam Feinberg.

“The seniors we lost had won three championships and were a great group of young men.”

Among others, Trapani is expecting a quartet of players to help plug the holes created by the Avengers who graduated: goalie Cam Waitkin (who replaces First Team All-Division II-South goalie John Trutza), attack Brendan Jordan and midfielders Joe Madden and Cam Ciancolo.

“Cam is a varsity-level quality goalie who was behind a great goalie (Trutza),” said Trapani. “He’s very talented and we look for two good years out of him.
“Madden is a sophomore and he’s grown. He’s matured and gotten bigger and stronger and already he’s making his mark. He’s way ahead of where he was last year.

“(Ciancolo) is growing,” continued Trapani. “He has a good, hard shot as a crease middie. His confidence and maturity on the field are amazing. He’s really been impressive.”

Arguably the most surprising Avenger has been freshman Brendan Jordan, who scored three goals and assisted on two during an 11-7 victory over Prout.
“He’s one of only three ninth graders we’ve had who’ve been starters,” said Trapani. “He’s one of the best attackers we’ve ever had.”

At the risk of stating the obvious, a lacrosse team doesn’t win 38 consecutive games before losing one just by throwing its sticks on the field.

“I think the primary reason is the growth of the youth program that develops more players that are higher skilled,” said Trapani. “When I first got here, we had few players that had played the sport. Now, almost all have played. There’s a base line of passing and catching.

“The youth program is probably the number one factor. It helps develop the pool of talent.”

That “pool of talent” is reflected in the number of boys who’ve come out for the team.

“In 2009, we had 26 players and last year we had 65,” said Trapani. “Just the amount of boys interested in the game has grown so the youth program has had a major impact on us.

“I also have to credit my assistant coaches, Chris Callahan, Brian Hennessey, Bruce Roberts and Ethan Zink (who was the MVP of the 2012 championship game). The fact we have four to five coaches means we can cover down on the boys and provide good coaching.”

Because, as Trapani alluded to, the Avengers are playing with a target on their collective backs, he expects the winning streak to end at some point during the season – which in this case was Tuesday against the Rebels.

“I would think there’s going to be some pride in whoever beats us first,” he said. “We were losing at halftime to Middletown and they were whooping and hollering as was Prout.

“We get that everywhere we go – not that we’re that great but that we haven’t lost. We’re probably going to lose a game or two. We’re building a JV team into a varsity team so I wouldn’t be surprised if we lose a game or two.”

Mike Scandura has been covering high school sports, college basketball, football and hockey in Rhode Island since the early 1970s. A native of Oswego, N.Y., he’s a member of the Words Unlimited Hall of Fame which is the statewide organization of sportswriters, sportscasters and sports publicists.

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

June, 18, 2012
Over the years, La Salle Academy has won enough state championship trophies to fill a vault at Fort Knox.

Rhode IslandNow the school must make room for one that’s eluded it for years: a state championship trophy for boys’ lacrosse.

The Rams applied an exclamation point to an undefeated (14-0) season by beating Moses Brown School, 9-7, in the finals -- after losing in the finals each of the previous two seasons.

The championship also ended four years of frustration because coach Steve O’Donnell’s team had compiled the best regular-season record (54-3) during that span but had zero to show for its efforts.

What made this championship game even more noteworthy was the fact that underclassmen led the way over the Quakers (9-6).

Sophomore Peter DeSimone, who was voted the game’s MVP, scored three goals and assisted on three; junior Brady O’Donnell fired in three goals including his team’s last two which proved to be huge in the final outcome; and sophomore goalie Matt Andrews made eight saves in the crucial fourth quarter.

In other boys’ finals:

*At the risk of using a hockey metaphor, East Greenwich’s Ethan Zink scored a “pure” hat trick as the Avengers beat South Kingstown, 10-4, for the Division II championship. The Avengers (19-1) were leading by a slim 3-2 margin in the last minute of the second quarter when Zink scored for a 4-2 halftime lead. Then, Zink tallied the first two goals of the third quarter and the Avengers went on to clinch their second consecutive state title. EG goalie John Trutza came up big in net by making 19 saves.

*Smithfield senior Ryan Benoit made sure he would end his career in style by scoring three goals and assisting on another as the Sentinels whipped Narragansett, 12-6, for the Division III championship. Benoit’s younger brother, Ryan contributed three goals and two assists to the triumph.

What the Moses Brown boys were unable to accomplish, the Quaker girls did, capturing a Division I lacrosse championship.

Coach Jeanne Carhart’s team completed an 18-1 season by defeating Barrington, 14-10, with senior Hannah Saris scoring two goals and assisting on five.

But what Saris meant to the Quakers’ offense so did goalie Jamie Marshall to the defense. The sophomore stopped 15 Eagles shots and earned the game’s MVP award.

Saris finished the season with 93 goals and 56 assists.

In the Division II championship game, junior middie Chloe Andrew scored four goals and assisted on three as Cumberland edged defending state champion Tiverton, 12-10.

The championship was the second in school history for the 17-1 Clippers.

Hendricken and South Kingstown will make the much-anticipated bus ride to McCoy Stadium – home of the Pawtucket Red Sox – for the best-of-three Division I state baseball championship.

The Hawks punched their ticket to the finals by sweeping Coventry by identical scores of 3-2 (although the second game lasted 10 innings).

Tom Pannone, a senior pitcher/outfielder who last week was selected in the 33rd round by the Chicago Cubs, went the distance on a five-hitter and belted a solo homer in Game 1.

Then, in the clincher, Rob Hendry lined a one-out single in the top of the 10th which snapped a 2-2 tie.

Jake Newberry earned the victory by virtue of pitching three innings of scoreless relief.

Cumberland and South Kingstown split the first two games of their best-of-three semifinal series.

The Rebels won the opener, 4-3, but Cumberland evened the series with a 1-0 victory in Game 2 as Justin Patrick went the distance on a three-hitter.

The third and deciding game was over almost before it started because South Kingstown romped, 16-1. The game was called after 4 1/2 innings because of the Interscholastic League’s mercy rule.

Jeremy Swan earned the victory as he allowed only two hits and struck out six.

T.J. Lynch paced an 11-hit attack with a two-run single plus a solo home run.

Hendricken will be chasing its seventh state title in the last 10 years while the Rebels will be seeking their first since 2002.

Johnston and Prout will battle it out for the Division II title. Prout will be making is fifth consecutive trip to the best-of-three finals after beating Woonsocket in three games.

In the decisive third game, Kory Lawrence belted a two-run double and Marshall Vigneault allowed four hits as the Crusaders prevailed, 3-2.

Johnston also went to three games before eliminating Westerly with a 10-1 triumph in the final game.

Joe Bongiovanni went the distance for the Panthers as he allowed six hits. And at the plate he collected two hits which were good for three RBI.

What were the odds before the first pitch was thrown in anger that Lincoln’s softball team would go undefeated in 2012?

Right. Don’t ask.

But that’s what’s on the verge of happening.

Lincoln upped its record to 21-0 by blanking Toll Gate, 5-0, in the Division I winners’ bracket final.

Lindsay Mayer, who’s been a standout all season for the Lions, allowed six hits and fanned 15 en route to winning her 18th game of the season.

Coventry, came out of the losers’ bracket to reach the championship round as the Oakers beat Toll Gate, 4-2, in the bracket final.

Kerrie Deliberis went the route on a six-hitter replete with 10 strikeouts to pace the Oakers’ triumph.

*East Greenwich and West Warwick will clash for the Division II title. The top-seeded Avengers prevailed 11-0 over Woonsocket in a game that was called after 4 1/2 innings because of the league’s mercy rule. The Wizards came out of the losers’ bracket thanks to an 8-5 victory over the Villa Novans in the losers’ bracket final.

*Davies Tech captured the first softball title in school history by outlasting Central, 18-10, in the Division III finals. The Patriots were led by Maddie Goodhart, Kassandra Therrien and Caterina Martinez.

Mike Scandura has been covering high school sports, college basketball, football and hockey plus minor league baseball in Rhode Island since the early 1970s. A native of Oswego, N.Y, he’s a member of the Words Unlimited Hall of Fame which is the statewide organization of sportswriters, sportscasters and sports publicists.