Algonquin and St. John’s Meet in Lacrosse Championship Rematch
Friday, April 06, 2012
In 2009 and 2010, the Pioneers of St. John’s knocked Algonquin out of the Central Mass playoffs, but the Tomahawks exacted revenge in last season’s Central Mass Championship Game. Algonquin, powered by four goals from then-sophomore Davis Kraft, scored an overtime victory over the Pioneers, and advanced to their first ever State Championship Game in 2011.
The teams will meet again Saturday at Algonquin for the first of two games they will play this season. Though it is a rivalry born out of high-level play and familiarity, there is also a great deal of mutual respect.
“There is a sense of pride and rivalry that comes with this game,” Algonquin coach Rich Luongo said. “But the kids respect each other on both sides, and I think they generally enjoy seeing each other. A lot of them are friends off the field.”
Physical On the Field
While the team’s may be friendly off the field, that is far from the case between the lines. St. John’s senior Sean Wilson has said that the teams’ similar styles make the game fun, but that the Pioneers will need to bring it physically if they are to defeat the defending champs Saturday.
“The games are always close, and we know we have to play tough and physical,” Wilson said. “We just want to get real physical against them. We know that if we play our game, we can come out on top.”
Central Mass is improving as a lacrosse region, but few will debate that these are the top two teams in the area, perhaps by a significant margin. Algonquin and St. John’s rank 19th and 20th, respectively, in ESPN Boston’s latest boys lacrosse Top-25, the highest rankings of any schools in Central Mass.
“There are years where other teams have had deep talent,” St. John’s coach Terrence Leary said. “But the last three years, it’s come down to us and Algonquin. Because of that, and the fact that we play them twice every regular season, I would say this rivalry has gotten a lot more intense lately.”
Growing the Game in Central Mass
Both teams will do everything they can to be the best in Central Mass this season, but both coaches agree that growing the game in the region will be beneficial to everyone. Luongo is hoping that the “lacrosse culture” will catch on in Central Massachusetts.
“The guys on both sides are going to beat the heck out of each other (Saturday),” Luongo said. “But that’s the lacrosse culture. It’s a rivalry, and you have good, tough play. But after that, you hang out with the guys and say ‘It’s great to see you.’ We want to spread that mentality, and grow the game here in Central Mass to raise the level of play. That will force us all to get better.”
- 2012 CMass Lacrosse Players to Watch
- Algonquin Lacrosse Reloads for Another Title Run
- St. John’s Lacrosse Works to Recapture CMass Bragging Rights
- Nashoba Lacrosse’s New “Business-Like” Approach
- Nashoba Tech Lacrosse Looks for Third Consecutive Playoff Berth
- Worcester Academy Lacrosse Works to Improve On and Off the Field