Sam Feeley

Jun 052014

The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders boys’ lacrosse team is continuing its impressive season in postseason tournament play, but the girls’ lacrosse team saw its season come to a heartbreaking end on Tuesday.

ARLINGTON — Despite the faceoffs (11-8 in favor of the Crusaders) and ground balls (24 each) not being lopsided in either direction, the sixth-seed Crusaders made the most of their possessions and played better defensively, allowing them to defeat the second-seed Arlington Catholic Cougars, 11-5, in a Division 3 Central/East semifinal Wednesday at Arlington Catholic.

The Cougars opened the scoring 1:50 into the first quarter, as Danny Needham forced a ground ball and sprinted his way to the net for a shot that beat Crusader goalie P.J. Kendall (eight saves) over his left shoulder.

But the Crusaders would take over from there, scoring the next five goals. With 9:01 to go in the first, Ryan Dodge found Nick Irby for a goal right in front of Cougar goalie Louie Wolk (12 saves) on the man advantage. Later in the quarter, Irby would return the favor, feeding Dodge for his first of two in the quarter and three on the game.

With 7:10 to go in the second quarter, Austin Hourani scored while falling down after taking a hard check. With less than two minutes to go before halftime, Ryan Henser got on the scoreboard by taking the ball all the way to the net from midfield after a clearance attempt by the Cougars went out of bounds.

The Cougars clawed their way back into the game with two goals in the first 65 seconds of the second half, including Needham’s second goal of the game just 32 seconds in, a mirror image of his first goal. But the Crusaders settled down and scored two more goals, including one by Irby while he was being knocked down in front of the net, to pump their lead back up to four.

“It was a quick turnover that we weren’t expecting,” Crusaders head coach Rick Arena said. “The tide could have turned at that point … we tightened up like we usually do, we settled down, and we got it back in control. [G-D] all year has been unfazed by situations like that, and they’re very resilient, so it was just a matter of time before they got back to doing what they wanted to do.”

HARVARD — On Tuesday, the fourth-seed girls’ team suffered a heartbreaking defeat, as the top-seed Bromfield Trojans scored the game-winning goal with two seconds left in regulation to eke out the 14-13 victory in a Division 2 Central/West semifinal at Bromfield.

Livy Penney led the Crusaders with three goals and four assist. Also getting on the scoresheet were Sara Walsh (four goals), Nicki Wilkinson (two goals), Sophie Irby, Caitlynn Berube, and Olivia Aumais (one goal each). Liv Rebeski also added a goal and three assists in her final game. She scored 103 points this season alone. Goalie Maria Antonellis made nine saves.

While the Crusaders’ attack was spread out, the Trojans relied on just two players for their offense: Sophia Turchetta (11 goals) and Jackie Plachet (three goals, two assists). Goalie Julia Hoggins stood tall in net and made 14 saves.

The Lady Crusaders finished their season at 12-8.

The Crusaders put the game away in the fourth quarter with three goals in the span of 2:17. Zach Cotoni scored a hat trick of his own, with all three goals coming in the second half.

“[The Cougars are] a good team, and they were doing what we thought they were going to do,” Arena said. “But our defense played very well … offensively, we held the ball, we were patient, we knew they were going to be tough on us and come out and extend, and then we were able to take advantage of some of the opportunities we had.”

Perhaps more impressive than the boys winning their second straight playoff game on the road against a higher seed was that the win gave Arena his 100th career win, becoming only the fourth coach in Central Massachusetts to achieve the feat and earning him a Gatorade bath for his efforts.

“I didn’t know that happened,” Arena said. “I’ve had a lot of good players and good teams, so that’s how I got here. It’s been a long time, and I guess if anybody coaches long enough, you’re going to get there.”

The Crusaders (12-8) travel to top-seed Dover-Sherborn for the sectional final Saturday at 4 p.m.

“Dover-Sherborn is one of the best teams in the state,” Arena said. “It’s going to be a heck of a game.”

ASHLAND — The sixth-seed Groton-Dunstable Crusaders boys’ lacrosse team defeated the third-seed Ashland Clockers by a score of 10-8 Saturday at Ashland High School in an MIAA Division 3 Central/East quarterfinal matchup.

The Clockers led 4-2 in the first quarter before the Crusaders went on a 7-0 run to take 9-4 lead into the fourth. The Clockers stormed back and cut the deficit to 10-8 with four goals in the fourth quarter, but the Crusaders managed to run out the final 1:26 after the Clockers’ last goal to preserve the victory.

Quintin Forbes led all scorers with three goals and two assists. Nick Irby, Zach Cotoni, and Ryan Dodge each had two goals. Austin Hourani had a goal and assist. P.J. Kendall made 14 saves. Irby and Ryan Heinser combined to win 15 of 19 faceoffs.

“Ashland was a skilled and well coached team. It was a tough game for both teams and just a good tournament game,” Crusaders head coach Rick Arena said.

Jun 012014

Alyssa Ash winds up for a pitch in the second inning of Saturday' s game at ShrewsburyArt Campbell | The Groton Line

Alyssa Ash winds up for a pitch in the second inning of Saturday’s game at Shrewsbury

SHREWSBURY — For the first three innings, Saturday’s MIAA Division 1 Central softball opening round game between the tenth-seed Groton-Dunstable Crusaders and the seventh-seed Shrewsbury Colonials was very competitive.

Then a four-run fourth inning, a six-run fifth inning, and a stellar performance by Shrewsbury pitcher Elise Lacasse spelled the end for the Crusaders’ season in an 11-0 defeat at Shrewsbury High School.

Lacasse pitched a complete-game four-hitter and struck out ten, and at one point retired thirteen consecutive batters. Her only hiccups came in the first, when she allowed a hit and a walk with two outs; and in the sixth, when she allowed the first two batters to reach, before inducing a double play on a popped-up sacrifice bunt attempt.

“She kept us off balance today,” Crusaders head coach Derek Asadoorian said. “We couldn’t put anything together.”
The Colonials got their first run in the third when Molly Dickinson scored on an error off a sacrifice bunt by Meg O’Keefe. G-D pitcher Alyssa Ash would make it through the rest of the inning unscathed, but when the fourth and fifth innings came along, things went downhill for the Crusaders.

The Colonials scored four runs on five hits in the fourth and six runs on seven hits in the fifth, and could have scored more, but left the bases loaded each time. Shortstop Amber Melideo’s three-run double in the sixth was the deathblow, putting the Colonials up 9-0.

“We didn’t have it today,” Asadoorian said. “We didn’t have the bats, we didn’t have the pitching, we made mistakes in the field that gave them extra outs. We didn’t play the way we’re capable of playing today, and that’s a disappointment.”

Celia Antonelllis, Erin Olson, Ariana Cho, and Annika Liljegren each had one hit for the Crusaders (10-11). Liljegren chalked up a stolen base.

Asadoorian was proud of his team’s accomplishments this season, including winning their final five games of the regular season to qualify for the tournament.

“I think these girls had a great season,” he said. “We had a lot of adversity on this team from the very beginning, and to win five games to get here is something we can hang our hat on … I told them that they fulfilled their potential.”
Next season will be a challenge for the Crusaders, who graduated five seniors (Antonellis, Ash, Cho, Liljegren, and Olson) and will have no seniors on next year’s team.

“They’re all quality softball players in their own right,” Asadoorian said of his seniors. “But it’s the person, the kid that I’m going to miss. The leadership that they brought, the level of commitment they lived up to … the seniors pulled the sophomores and freshmen together right away, and we had good team chemistry. I’m going to miss what they brought to the table.”

“We’re going to be very young next year,” Asadoorian added. “Hopefully the kids that were on the team this year will step up … they’re going to have to be leaders. I told the sophomores that they’re the ones who are going to be the captains next year. We have a lot of work to do, but they had a positive experience this year, and they learned from those five seniors.”

May 282014

G-D and Bellingham players scramble for a ground ball in Tuesday's MIAA Division 3 Central/East boys' lacrosse playoff game.Sam Feeley

G-D and Bellingham players scramble for a ground ball in Tuesday’s MIAA Division 3 Central/East boys’ lacrosse playoff game.

Before Tuesday’s MIAA Division 3 Central/East first round tournament game, Groton-Dunstable Crusaders boys’ lacrosse head coach Rick Arena told his team to always respect and never underestimate their opponents, even if they were the Bellingham Blackhawks, who finished the regular season 3-17.

The Crusaders, the sixth seed in the section, took that advice to heart and delivered a result that, to some, was to be expected — a 13-1 shellacking over the eleventh-seed Blackhawks at Groton-Dunstable Regional High School.

Quinton Forbes, Ryan Dodge, and Tristan Lynch each had a hat trick for G-D, while Forbes added four assists. His first assist led to a spectacular goal, as he lobbed a pass from behind the left side of the goal to Nick Irby, who jumped to catch it and scored his first of two goals before his feet touched the ground.

Forbes would assist on the next two goals, then score his first goal with 1:02 remaining in the first quarter to give the Crusaders a 4-0 lead. He would complete his hat trick with 6:59 remaining in the third quarter off a dodge that buckled his defender’s knees.

“We went into this game knowing that they’re a playoff team and this was do or die,” Arena said. “We had to come out pretty aggressively, and our guys had to be at a decent level to get up on them early.”

The other Crusader point-getters were Zach Cotoni (one goal, two assists) and Austin Hourani (two assists). Paul Leonardo (one goal), and Ryan Heinser (one assist).

The Crusaders dominated not only on the scoreboard, but on faceoffs (winning 12 to Bellingham’s five) and ground balls (25-15). The only statistic where they weren’t outplayed was saves — Crusaders goalie P.J. Kendall only had to make six stops, while Bellingham’s Eri Cote made seventeen, some of which denied point-blank opportunities for the Crusaders.
“We were relentless on ground balls,” Arena lauded. “And I was really happy with the way our attackmen rode their clears … those little things are what’s going to make the difference in the tournament.”

On the subject of faceoffs, Arena praised Heinser’s efforts: “[He] did a great job today. He lost one faceoff. That’s an area where he’s been improving, and he’s done a real nice job for us the past few games. It makes such a huge difference, because those are possessions. Any time we have the ball and they don’t, it’s a good thing.”

The Crusaders will face the third-seed Ashland Clockers at Ashland High School Saturday at 2 p.m. in a quarterfinal matchup. Arena is looking forward to the challenge.

“Ashland’s good,” he said. “We’re up against a big challenge. We’re going down there, it’s going to be the day after our graduation, and we’re going to have to come out and really be mentally prepared for those guys.”

May 172014
The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders baseball team's class of 2014 (l-r): Jeremy Gaissl, Andrew Sinnery, Matt Werner, Dean McCann, Alex Marken, Nick D'Angelo, and Nate Bellerose, with their parents.Sam Feeley

The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders baseball team’s class of 2014 (l-r): Jeremy Gaissl, Andrew Sinnery, Matt Werner, Dean McCann, Alex Marken, Nick D’Angelo, and Nate Bellerose, with their parents.

Wednesday was Senior Day for the Groton-Dunstable Crusaders baseball team, but it was the Nashoba Chieftains who were celebrating a decisive 12-1 victory at G-DRHS.

Starting pitcher Nick Campana went the distance for the Chieftains, allowing one run on four hits and three walks while striking out ten, including five of the first six batters. He had the Crusaders off balance all day, and even when he uncorked two wild pitches in the bottom of the fourth that allowed Crusader pitcher Andrew Sinney to score his team’s only run, he regained his composure and resumed his dominance.

“I’d say he was more than pretty good,” Crusaders head coach Matt LeBlanc said. “He was all around the strike zone, he worked ahead most of the time. He didn’t mix his pitches a ton, but he didn’t need to. We weren’t seeing the ball as good as we typically do.”

After Sinney breezed through the top of the first, getting the Chieftains in order on just eight pitches, the visitors began their assault. They scored two runs in the first on four singles and two stolen bases. Then three runs on four hits and a steal in the third. While a 5-0 deficit isn’t normally game over, with the way Campana was pitching, there wasn’t much hope for the Crusaders after that.

The Chieftains stole nine bases as a team and had every batter, including two pinch hitters in the top of the seventh, reach base at least once. Designated hitter Nick Bosari, batting from the eighth slot, had a terrific day, going 3-for-4 with three steals and two runs scored. Catcher Matt Sabourin (2-for-4, double, two RBIs, run scored), first baseman Kevin Connelly (2-for-4, RBI, two runs scored), and shortstop John Hannon (2-for-4, three steals, run scored) also had multiple hits. Campana even helped his own cause with an RBI single, a stolen base, and an RBI sacrifice fly.

“They just did a nice job of hitting the ball, because Andrew didn’t really lose control,” LeBlanc said. “He was around the strike zone the whole time … [Nashoba has] hit the ball well all year. Andrew needs to keep them off balance with the curveball.”

Sinney went 1-for-3 with a run scored, and pitched six innings, allowing eight runs on twelve hits and two walks with one strikeout. Alex Marken got the Crusaders’ first hit, a double, with two outs in the fourth. Patrick Keating and Billy Mitchell each got pinch-hit singles in the bottom of the seventh.

The Crusaders stand at 4-9 and must win all five of their remaining games to qualify for the MIAA Division 3 Central baseball tournament. All five games will be on the road in a span of eight days, beginning Thursday at Quabbin. LeBlanc knows his team has to play better than they did today in order to go on a streak.

“I think we need that balanced attack,” LeBlanc said. “We need our pitchers to throw strikes, we need to make plays, we need to hit. We’ll take it one game at a time, because every team we play is capable of beating us, but we’re capable of beating them.”

Wednesday was the final home game for seniors Sinnery, Marken, Jeremy Gaissl, Matt Werner, Dean McCann, and manager Nate Bellerose.

May 042014

Nicki Wilkinson in action against AlgonquinBriana Boskurt

Nicki Wilkinson in action against Algonquin

In a rematch against league powerhouse Algonquin Thursday, both the boy’s and girls Groton-Dunstable lacrosse teams lost their contests. The Groton-Dunstable Regional High School boy’s lacrosse team was much more competitive than the first time they played back on April 1, but the Tomahawks used lengthy possessions throughout the second half to pull away with an 8-3 victory. In girls’ lacrosse action, the Crusaders lost to Algonquin, 13-10, with sophomore Maria Antonellis making 13 saves for the Crusaders, who fell to 4-5 this season.

Girls Lead At Half, Lose 13-10

by Michelle Walsh
Groton Dunstable Girl’s varsity lacrosse team falls to Algonquin despite a 2 goal lead at the half. Caitlin Berube gained draw possession during the first half by dominating the draws with help from her teammates on the circle Nicki Wilkinson and Sophie Irby. Nicki Wilkinson led the crusaders off to a nice start with the first goal of the game. Nicki put another 2 free position goals in the net 1st half, Sara Walsh netted 3 goals and seniors Livy Rubeski and Livy Penny also added to the scoreboard to give the crusaders a 8-6 score at half.

Unfortunately Algonquin came off the half strong winning the draws and answering with 5 quick goals! Defender Fiona Henry answered back by intercepting an Algonquin pass and racing down the field to score a goal only to have it called back because it was thought to be in the goal circle! Momentum started again with a beautiful goal from Maddy Smethurst assisted by Sara Walsh, but time was not on GD’s side and there were 2 more goals by Algonquin and 1 more by Nicki before the game ended with a 10-13 loss for the girls. The girls worked hard and played hard, especially goalie Maria Antonellis who made 13 saves, 9 of in the second half. Being that this is a young team, next year should prove to be a different ending.

The girls play at home against Nashoba with a JV game at 4 p.m. and varsity at 5:30 p.m.

Boy’s Team Falls 8-3

The first half of Thursday’s game between the Groton-Dunstable Crusaders boy’s lacrosse team and the Algonquin Tomahawks was much more competitive than the first time they played back on April 1. But the Tomahawks used lengthy possessions throughout the second half to pull away with an 8-3 victory at G-DRHS.

The Tomahawks were paced offensively by seniors Mike Wood (hat trick) and Nick Polutchko (two goals). Wood’s second goal came in the third quarter on a fancy behind the back shot after the Tomahawks kept the ball in the offensive half of the field for a good five minutes. The lengthy possession was indicative of how the whole game unfolded for both teams.

“We were playing way too much defense,” Crusaders head coach Rick Arena said. “That possession was back breaking.”

The Tomahawks got off to a 4-0 lead after the first quarter, winning four of five faceoffs and beating the Crusaders on ground balls, 5-3. The Crusaders cut the deficit in half in the second quarter, with goals by sophomore Ryan Dodge and senior Quinton Forbes. The Crusaders won the ground ball battle in the second quarter, 5-4. But that would be as close as they would get, as the Tomahawks outscored the Crusaders 4-1 in the second half.

“We won the second quarter, which is what we wanted to do,” Arena said. “I thought that was going to propel us into the third quarter.”

Wood completed his hat trick in the fourth quarter with three seconds left on a Crusader penalty. Later on, Ryan King scored another highlight reel goal by hauling in a long rebound at the top of the box and hitting the top shelf of the cage.

The Tomahawks won finished the game winning 12 of 14 faceoffs and 20 of 33 ground balls.

“We’re not tough enough on faceoffs, and we need to get better at that,” Arena said. “They have a good guy on faceoffs, and against a team like that, you can’t afford to give possessions away.”

Arena also said that the lack of possessions made things especially difficult.

“We actually had the ball in the second quarter, we didn’t have it in the first or third quarter. We need to slow it down. We need to possess, relax, and then run our offense. We took shots too soon and gave them the ball back, and then they controlled the clock.”

For the Tomahawks (7-4), Zach Skowronek and Alex Sabel each had one goal, while John Leach made 12 saves. For the Crusaders (5-5), junior Zach Cotoni had the lone second half goal, while P.J. Kendall made 11 saves.

The Crusaders will host St. John’s-Shrewsbury Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Apr 292014

Groton Road Race 10K 1-2 winners Jeff Veiga (l) and Peter Omea at the 1 mile markArt Campbell | The Groton Line

Groton Road Race 10K 1-2 winners Jeff Veiga (l) and Peter Omea at the 1 mile mark

Sunday marked the 23rd annual Groton Road Race, featuring more than 2,000 runners of all ages from across New England, but there was one man who stood out above all competitors but one — Jeff Veiga of Lowell, who won both the 5K and the 10K. The lone competitor who Veiga didn’t run away from was Peter Omea, 38, also of Lowell, who came in second in both the 5K and 10K races.

Veiga was a three-time NCAA Division II cross-country All-American at UMass Lowell. So it’s no surprise that he performed especially well. But to win both races within minutes of each other? That takes skill and motivation — although Veiga wasn’t shy to admit what his motivation was.

“It’s probably the money,” Veiga said, who took home $150 for winning the 5K and $450 for the 10K. “I did a few road races in college, but because of the NCAA, I couldn’t collect money, so I didn’t end up doing many.”

Omea stayed right with Veiga in the 5K, finishing seconds behind, but dropped two minutes behind in the 10K.

Veiga graduated from UMass Lowell last May, and since then, he said, “I did some races in the summer. I was hurt all fall and in the beginning of winter, but I’ve been getting after it since January and I’m in really good shape right now.”

Veiga won the 5K in 15:47, then, after a short break, won the 10K in a record time of 31:10, topping the previous best of 31:32 set by Josh Ferenc in 2007.

“I usually don’t double up ever,” Veiga said. “It went pretty well.”

In addition to Veiga’s prizes for being the overall winner in the 5K and 10K and the winner of both races in the 20-29 age group, there were prizes for the top finishers in several other age groups, the master’s division, and the fastest Groton residents in each race.

Other top performers included 38-year-old Peter Omea of Lowell, who finished second in both events, and 49-year-old
Titus Mutinda of Dorchester, who finished fifth in both events. Taryn Sleger of Westford was the highest-finishing woman in the 5K, while Nina Caron of North Andover led all women in the 10K.

The events began with the Tot Trot for children up to six years old, followed by a 2K, then the 5K, and 10K. All races started and ended at Groton-Dunstable Middle School, and for the 22nd year, the race was started by Brian Alcott, of the Groton Minutemen Company, firing a shot from his musket.


1Jeff Veiga4M23LOWELLMA31:10
New record! Old record 31:32 by Josh Ferenc in 2007

2Peter Omea3M38LOWELLMA33:15
3Christopher Gabrielson104M26WESTFORDMA35:00

1Nina Caron311F54NORTH ANDOVERMA38:34
2Bridgid Selfors501F14OLD SAYBROOKCT39:30
3Rosalie Malsberger299F27BOSTONMA41:23

1Brian Selfors500M48OLD SAYBROOKCT35:12


2Sue Lachance448F54CONCORDMA43:56

1Nick Odell512M16GROTONMA40:19

1Jennifer Kane427F34GROTONMA48:06


1 Jeff Veiga5005M23LOWELLMA 15:47
2 Peter Omea5004M38LOWELLMA 15:53
3 Chris Volante5682M40GROTONMA 16:50


1 Taryn Sleger 5001F34WESTFORDMA 18:09
2 Lauren Lesniak 5006F25DRACUTMA 19:20
3 Eline Laurent5003F13CONCORDMA 19:26


2 Mark Mayall5002M42MAYNARDMA 17:08


1 Kristen Kosiba 5479F41DUNSTABLEMA 23:24


1 Chris Volante5682M40GROTONMA 16:50


1 Kerri Strauss5122F40GROTONMA 23:48

For complete results of both the 5K and 10K, visit
For event photos, visit

Apr 152014

TYNGSBOROUGH – The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders boys’ lacrosse team found itself trailing 1-0 just 39 seconds into their Saturday game against the Tyngsborough Tigers at Tyngsborough High School. But that would be the only time they would trail, as the Crusaders won, 15-7, on the back of hat tricks by Nick Irby, Quintin Forbes, Tristan Lynch, and Austin Hourani.

“We know those guys are scorers,” Crusaders head coach Rick Arena said. “They’re capable of doing that game in and game out. It’s just a matter of getting used to each other, and today was one of those days where we were firing on all cylinders.”

The Crusaders went into halftime up 6-3, with the Tigers hanging around thanks goals in the waning seconds of both the first and second quarters.

“Tyngsborough’s going to fight the whole game,” Arena said. “We can’t let our guard down, but we did, and they took advantage of it. That’s the sign of a good time.”

But the Crusaders exploded out of halftime, outscoring the Tigers 7-1 in the third quarter, putting the game away in the process. Lynch, who scored all three of his goals in the third quarter, started the barrage 27 seconds in with a goal off one of Forbes’ five assists. 18 seconds later, Paul Leonardo scored to make the score 8-3. Hourani later scored back-to-back goals to complete his hat trick, including one eight seconds into a locked-in man advantage. During the same penalty, Forbes scored his third of the game.

“I think it was a matter of being smarter with the ball and getting good opportunities,” Arena said. “We’re playing fast, but not rushing it. We did that offensively and defensively.”

The Crusaders also registered some highlight reel-worthy goals. In the second quarter, Zach Cotoni stole a Tyngsborough clearance in front of the net and passed to Forbes, who faked the goalie out of position and scored on the second move. Later in the second, Irby scored in similar fashion, intercepting the goalie’s clearance 10 yards in front of the net and walking in for the score. In the third quarter, Lynch got his second goal as he took a pass from Zach Cotoni and buried the ball in the net in one fluid motion.
Kyle Butler, Kyle Laforge, and Ben Foley each had two goals for the Tigers (3-1).

Goalie P.J. Kendall made seven saves for the Crusaders before being pulled in the fourth quarter for Ryan McLean, who made five saves.

Cotoni and Michael Tammaro scored the remaining goals for the Crusaders (2-2), who will go on the road to face Nashoba Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Apr 072014

Strong pitching by Jack Harlan helped Lawrence Academy beat Groton School 5-3Briana Bozkurt

Strong pitching by Jack Harlan helped Lawrence Academy beat Groton School 5-3

The Lawrence Academy baseball team used timely hitting and a big day from sophomore pitcher Jack Harlan to defeat the Groton School, 5-3, in their the schools’ first “crosstown” game of the season.

Harlan went the distance, surrendering just five hits and one walk while striking out ten. He also went 1-for-3 at the plate, delivering the biggest hit of the day, a two-run triple in the bottom of the fifth that put Lawrence up 5-2.

“This is hopefully the way it goes for him,” Lawrence head coach Chris Margraf said. “He had a good year for us last year, he was our no. 2 guy, he threw 40 innings and had an ERA under 2. That’s why schools like BC, Duke, and Dartmouth are very interested in him.”

Groton looked to set the pace in the first inning both in the field and at the plate. They strung together three consecutive base runners with two outs in the top of the first to score the first run of the game when junior catcher Ejaaz Jiu (1-for-2, 2 RBI, 1 SB) singled home Joe Gentile (1-for-3, 1 R, 1 SB). In the bottom half, junior pitcher Johnny Lamont needed just ten pitches to record three outs. The first two runners reached base, but were erased on a fielder’s choice and a failed stolen base attempt.

That would be as easy as it would get for Lamont, as the Lawrence batters worked his pitch count into the twenties in each of his next four innings. He would end up going five innings, allowing six hits and five walks while striking out eight on 103 pitches.

“It’s early in the year,” Groton head coach Glenn DiSarcina said. “Johnny struggled with his control in the middle innings, and they capitalized on pitches that were up in the zone.”

Harlan’s day went in the opposite direction from Lamont. He threw 29 of his 102 pitches in the first inning, but settled down and didn’t throw more than seventeen in any other inning the rest of the way, including two innings of single-digit pitches.

Lawrence Academy catcher Cam St. Amand at batBriana Bozkurt

Lawrence Academy catcher Cam St. Amand at bat

Groton would extend its lead to 2-0 in the top of the third thanks to picture-perfect small ball. Two infield singles and two sacrifice hits and a sacrifice bunt allowed Ward Betts to score on a sacrifice fly by Jiu.

After two quiet innings, the Lawrence offense got going in the bottom of the third and tied the game at 2 with an RBI single by Sean Winthrop, plating Jake Cassidy; and a groundout off the bat of Rocco Daigneault that scored Luke Benoit.

“We’re a very young team,” Margraf said. “The bats are usually the last to come, so we focus more on teamwork and work ethic.”

Ward Betts slides home against Lawrence AcademyBriana Bozkurt

Apr 042014

Both Groton-Dunstable varsity teams lost their season openers to Algonquin TuesdayChris Wraight

Both Groton-Dunstable varsity teams lost their season openers to Algonquin Tuesday

Both the Groton-Dunstable boy’s and girl’s lacrosse teams lost their season opening games to league powerhouse Algonquin Tomahawks on Tuesday. The Crusaders boys’ team ran into a buzz saw, falling 16-5 at 9/11 Memorial Field. The girl’s game was more competitive and less lopsided; the final score was 18-14.

Boy’s Team Drops 16-5

SOUTHBOROUGH — The Groton-Dunstable Crusaders boys’ lacrosse team ran into a buzz saw in their season opener Tuesday, falling to the perennial power Algonquin Tomahawks by a score of 16-5 at 9/11 Memorial Field.

The Tomahawks won seven of ten faceoffs in the first quarter and used that advantage to open the game on a 5-0 run. The first quarter came to a close with the Tomahawks up 7-2, with three players each scoring two goals — Mike Wood, Mike Martins, and Alex Sabel. Sophomore Austin Hourani and senior Tristan Lynch each had a goal in the opening frame for the Crusaders.

“They had a great faceoff guy, and we had no answer for him,” Crusaders head coach Rick Arena said. “You can’t spot Algonquin that many goals in the first quarter and expect to climb out of that hole.”

Wood continued his magnificent play in the second quarter. He scored three more goals, including one where he faked two shots, drawing three Crusader defenders and goalie P.J. Kendall out of position, allowing him to put it in the wide-open net to make the score 12-2 going into halftime.

The second half was much more competitive, with the Crusaders only being outscored 4-3. Hourani tacked on his second goal of the game, and junior Zach Cotoni got on the scoreboard as well, but the Tomahawks kept their advantage at ten after the third quarter with more goals by Sabel (four on the game) and Ryan King (two).

“We got a lot of guys in there that are looking to take a step up from last year’s team, or new guys coming in looking to make a mark for themselves,” Arena said. “Against a really good team, it becomes difficult. We had a tough time containing Wood. He was phenomenal.”

Girl’s Team Stays In Hunt, 18-14

by Michelle Walsh

Groton Dunstable Girl’s team lost by 4 goals to Algonquin, the champion of last years’ Central Mass districts, proving that they are a team to watch out for in 2014. GD’s team this year has only 3 seniors, therefore showing they are a young team that will be continuing to grow in experience in the near future.

The Senior captains helped lead their team both offensively and defensively. Liv Rubeski led the way with 6 goals and 2 assists, defender Shelly Herlihy with an interception and several ground ball wins, along with a goal and some key forced turnovers by Livy Penny. Junior captain Nicki Wilkinson contributed 5 goals and 1 assist along with 8 ground ball wins.

At half time GD was only down by 3 with a score of 11-8. After the half the Crusaders fought hard to come within 1 with 2 consecutive goals from sophomore Sara Walsh to bring the score to 14-13, before Algonquin took off with the lead.

One of the key areas where GD was strong was with sophomore goalie Maria Antonellis, stopping 7 of the quality shots on net second half and finishing the game with 16 saves, 4 of which were from the 8 meter!

“I was really impressed with the girls performance against Algonquin. “ Crusaders head coach Sarah Valacer said. “Starting the season with such a big game can be difficult, but they proved that they are ready to perform this season. Defensively we have plenty of things that we need to work on, offensively as well, but Nicki Wilkinson and Liv Rubeski really proved that they are ready for the season to start and really wanted to win. I am looking forward to playing next Thursday against Shrewsbury to see how far they have come since last week.”

The Tomahawks’ offense wasn’t the whole story. Sophomore goalie Colton King played out of his mind, making seventeen saves, including eight in the second quarter, surrendering no goals in the process. He was pulled after the third quarter for backup goalie Johnny Leach, who made four saves.

“We did get a lot of good looks,” Arena said. “Once we started to shoot low on him, we started getting the ball by him … we peppered him, but he took what we had.”

Paul Nardone added the last goal for the Tomahawks, while freshman Michael Tammaro had the final tally for the Crusaders.

The Crusaders travel to Bedford High School on Friday for a nonleague contest against the Buccaneers at 4 p.m.

Mar 062014

MARLBOROUGH – Last year, the Groton-Dunstable Crusaders came within a shootout of winning the MIAA Division 3 Central boys’ hockey sectional championship. But they were denied by the Wachusett Mountaineers and their leading scorer, Marc Happy.

Fast forward to Wednesday night at the New England Sports Center, where the No. 2 Crusaders again faced off against the No. 3 Mountaineers. And just like before, the Mountaineers, on the back of a Happy hat trick, eliminated the Crusaders by a score of 3-1.

The Mountaineers outshot the Crusaders 11-5 in the first period, and got on the board with just over a minute left when Brian Boulette intercepted a pass in his own zone on the power play and fed Happy speeding up ice on a breakaway to beat Crusader goalie Jason Robes.

In the second and third periods, the Crusaders outplayed the Mountaineers offensively, putting relentless pressure on Mountaineer goalie Jake Strasser and outshooting the Mountaineers 26-8, but Strasser did not flinch, stopping 30 of 31 shots.

Happy struck again 16 seconds into the third period, firing a slap shot from just inside the blue line that rang off the far post and into the net. The Crusaders protested, but after the officials conferred, they upheld the call.

The Crusaders cut the deficit in half four minutes later when Connor Maguire took a shot from the right point, hoping to get a deflection into the goal. Josh Rabbitt, who was camped in front of Strasser along with Derek March, forced the puck through heavy traffic and into the net, giving the Crusaders hope.

But Strasser and the Mountaineer defense held firm, denying every opportunity the Crusaders had in the final ten minutes. Strasser made the save of the game – and potentially the Mountaineers’ season – when he denied Justin Cole on a wide-open one-timer with a split-legged save well out in front of the goal.

“Their defense packed it in, and (Strasser) played well,” Crusaders head coach Phil Rowley said. “They deserve a lot of credit.”

The Crusaders pulled Robes for the extra attacker with 90 seconds left, but Happy sealed the deal as he stopped an attempt by the Crusaders to get the puck into the offensive zone from center ice, then skated in to put home the empty-netter and send the Mountaineers to the sectional final against Shrewsbury on Monday.

“He’s one of those pure scorers,” Rowley said of Happy. “He’s always in the right place at the right time.”
Robes made sixteen saves in his final game for the Crusaders, who finished the season at 16-5. Despite the loss, Rowley was pleased with his team’s effort all season.

“I’m proud of my kids,” Rowley said. “After the season we had last year, we lost eight powerful seniors, and this team just stepped up, and came out to play game after game after game.”