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Lacrosse Stars Emerge for Milford and Algonquin at Bay State Games

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

 

Algonquin freshman Paul Nardone using his body to create space around the cage.

After going years without a single Bay State Games victory, the Central Mass boys lacrosse team took bronze this weekend and showcased some of the region's top young talent.

"It was really exciting, because we came into this year knowing that Central Mass teams have had a rough go in the Bay State Games," first-year coach Bruno Nardone said. "We have a lot of great players in this region, and we just had to get them interested in playing on the team. We put a good team together, and it was very rewarding for the kids and for me, because it shows that Central Mass can play with any other region."

Nardone's first year at the helm of the Central team was an unequivocal success, and the first step was simply building a team. His son, Paul Nardone, is a freshman midfielder at talent-rich Algonquin Regional High School. Through some recruiting of Paul's friends, Nardone was able to build a talented, albeit it very young, roster.

"I think we would have liked to have more balance (of older and younger players)," Nardone said of his 15-player roster that includes 13 freshmen and sophomores. "But I think having such good young players bodes well for us. Hopefully we can build off of this momentum for next year."

Milford junior Matt McIntire played every minute in net for Central.

Pacing the offense for Central Mass was Algonquin freshman Alex Sabel, who led the team with 10 goals. The younger Nardone was also an integral part of the Central attack, using his 6'2'' frame to create space, and often dishing out easy goals to teammates.

"I'm one of those guys that is even harder on his own kid," Nardone said. "But he was really phenomenal, and all those guys up top did a great job. (Algonquin freshman) Sean Hamling was lights out on faceoffs, it was just a total team effort."

None of the Algonquin players played varsity for the Central Mass Champion and state finalist Tomahawks, meaning Algonquin coach Rich Luongo has yet to coach any of them. Still, he has been pleased with the development of Sabel, a member of Algonquin's freshman team, and Nardone, a JV player.

"With Alex Sabel, I'm not really surprised, and it's great to see that he has gotten to that level and that he had a great tournament," Luongo said. "He's a kid we gave a long, hard look at to move up to JV. Then Paul Nardone was someone we moved up to JV really fast. He's a big strong kid with a lot of talent. It's just really great for the program to have these kids come out of nowhere to have the kind of tournaments they did, and it's all you can really ask for."

Marlborough junior Josh Daigle was another scoring threat for Central, chipping in four goals, while Nipmuc sophomore Michael Castellani was able to bring balance to the midfield. While the team was comprised mostly of freshmen and sophomores, Central still relied on a veteran between the pipes to lead its defense.

Milford's Matt McIntire was coming off a break-out junior season that saw him garner attention throughout the region. As the only goalie on the roster, Nardone was thrilled that McIntire was up to the challenge of playing the entire tournament.

"Not only did he start for us, he played every minute," Nardone said with a chuckle. "The kid did a tremendous job, and he was the real leader of our defense, moving everyone around and getting things set."

McIntire viewed the tournament as something to build off, and the Hawk standout has been working on his lacrosse skills throughout the off-season.

The Central team sporting their new bronze medals.

"This summer i have done nothing but lacrosse," McIntire said. "I'm preparing myself to get better for my senior year and expose myself to college coaches."

It isn't just Nardone that was singing McIntire's praises. His high school coach at Milford, Dave Dague, knows that his goalie will largely determine the success of his squad next year as they transition into Eastern Mass lacrosse. He also believes McIntire benefited from staying with lacrosse in the off-season and having a different coach in his ear.

"He is seeing a ton of shots this off-season, and that's great because he's going to see a ton of shots next year," Dague said. "I love to see kids playing for other coaches so that they can get a different perspective. They can only take so much of me yelling at them. So these All Star games and different events are really great for the kids." 

 

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