Over the next week Boston Lax will be releasing our list of early candidates for our first annual Bruce Lerch Player of the Year award.
This initial Watch List of 26 players is diverse in nature, representing the teams and players we cover in Western Mass., Central Mass., Eastern Mass. and the ISL.
In the coming days we will be releasing our Top 10 players in three separate categories (Players 10-8, Players 7-4 and our Top 3 players.
Player of the Year Watch List
(Alphabetical order by first name)
Andrew Fidalgo ’17 – Attack – Minnechaug – Fidalgo led a surging Minnechaug squad in 2016, scoring 69 goals and adding 34 assists. Fidalgo is one of the state’s top finishers around the cage.
Bailey Laidman ’17 – Attack – Dover Sherborn – The three-time All-American and North Carolina commit (pictured below) is looking to lead D-S to a third straight State Championship in 2017. Laidman led D-S last season with 55 goals.
Bryce Adam ’17 – Newton North – The Eastern Mass. All-American teamed with his brother Hunter (attack) and father Bussy (head coach) to lead Newton North to a fantastic season in 2016. Adam set Newton North’s single season scoring record in 2016, netting 62 goals and dishing out 61 assists.
Conor Sullivan ’17 – Defense – Xaverian – Sullivan is the leader of the Xaverian defense and the Sacred Heart commit will be tasked at keeping opposing offenses at bay in 2017, despite the graduation of All-America goalie Michael Toomey (Villanova).
Dan Ryan ’17 – Defense – Lincoln-Sudbury – The talented Hobart-bound three-sport athlete has started 2017 off strong, by anchoring one of the state’s most impressive defensive units. The versatile and athletic Ryan is not afraid to push the pace in transition and play a little offense with his long pole, as well.
Dean Brooks ’17 – Midfield/ FO – Billeirca – Brooks is back in 2017 and the three-sport athlete is primed for a big 2017 season, as he leads Billerica from the midfield. Brooks has battled injuries over the past two years, but there is no doubting the UMass commit’s skills and efficiency when he is on the field.
Drew Kozub ’17 – Attack – St. John’s Shrewsbury – The 5-foot-9 attackmen is the leading returning scorer for a talented St. John’s Shrewsbury squad. Kozub scored 56 goals in 2016 to go with 30 assists. Kozub is a Trinity College (CT) commit.
Eric Civetti ’18 – Attack – Franklin – Civetti leads one of the top upstart programs in the state in Franklin, from his attack position. The Rutgers commit has started 2017 off strong with a fantastic performance against Falmouth in last week’s opening win.
Frank Higgins ’18 – LSM / FO – Hingham – Higgins was named an Eastern Mass. All-American last year and proved to be the top faceoff midfielder in the state, with his long pole as his weapon of choice. The Bucknell commit is an improving defender, who plays the game with an aggressive mentality.
Gavin Admirand ’17 – Attack – Marshfield – Admirand had a breakout 2016, scoring 52 goals and assisting on 22 more. Admirand will certainly benefit this season from some new offensive additions for the Rams. The Wagner College commit is the quarterback of the Marshfield offense.
Hayden Cheek ’18 – Attack – Nobles – Cheek is the leading returning scorer for Nobles and is the latest Cheek to star at Noble and Greenough, following brothers Morgan and Watson (both at Harvard). Cheek has been a strong finisher since his freshman campaign.
Jack Cahill ’17 – Midfield – Medfield – The veteran middie returns to Medfield to help lead the three-time defending D2 State champions. Cahill, a Holy Cross commit, will be asked to shoulder much of the offensive load from the midfield, along with teammate Owen Murphy (attack).
Jack Geiger ’18 – Midfield – Reading – Geiger started 2017 off with a bang, as he scored five goals in Reading’s 8-7 opening day win over Billerica. Geiger is a University of Massachusetts commit, who is poised for a monster season for the high-scoring Rockets offense.
Jack Frisoli ’17 – Midfield – St. Sebastian’s – One of the most seasoned midfielders in the state, Frisoli has starred been a staple at the midfield for Seb’s for the past three seasons. The Ivy league commit had a big stretch run for Seb’s last year and a strong Boston Lax All-American game performance. Look for even more from the senior this season.
Junior Almeida ’17 – FOGO – Lincoln-Sudbury – Alemeida has battled injuries throughout his high school career, but when he is healthy, the skilled faceoff man is a game-changer from the X.
Kyle LaForge ’17 – Tyngsboro – Attack/ FO – Arguably the top player in Central Massachusetts, LaForge has been dominant at the faceoff X for three seasons and last year the UMass Lowell commit exploded for 63 goals and 52 assists.
Max Fields ’18 – Belmont Hill – Defense – The top defender on the State’s top team, Fields enjoyed a breakout 2016 season, as a sophomore All-ISL player for the 2016 ISL champions. The Ivy League commit is back with one of the state’s top defenses to defend their crown and Pre-Season Top ranking.
Nick Loring ’18 – Midfield – Nobles – Loring may possess the biggest shot in the state and the talented midfielder is ready for a breakout season at Nobles. Loring is an explosive, talented and balanced offensive midfielder, who gained great experience last season running with his brother George (Harvard) and the other talented Nobles middies.
Owen Murphy ’19 – Medfield – Murphy is going to be a go-to man for Medfield, from the attack position. Murphy enjoyed a stellar freshman season, and by the looks of his 5 goal, 3 assist opener, in a win over Holliston, Murphy is certainly ready for the challenge.
Patrick Abad ’17 – Defense – Longmeadow – The veteran long pole is coming off a fantastic basketball season, which garnered him numerous recognitions, while leading Longmeadow to a Western Mass. D2 sectional title. Abad has quick hands and is battle tested. The athletic defender is a St. Lawrence commit.
Peter Rizzotti ’18 – Lincoln-Sudbury – Defense – The IVY league commit had a breakout season in 2016, as a starter for the Division 1 State Champions. Rizzotti is a skilled defender, who is steady and excels in the L-S team defensive system.
Sam Abate ’17 – Midfield – Beverly – Beverly’s returning All-American, Abate is a multi-sport star, who is a balanced scorer and distributer. The athletic and versatile multi-sport star is committed to Sacred Heart.
Sam Dwinell ’17 – Middlesex – The Duke commit is another multi-sport athlete, who has the ability to take over a game from the midfield position. The “Red Rocket” possesses speed and a skill set that is tough for defenders to match-up with, as he is as talented on the move, as he is when he sets and shoots.
Sean Sperzel ’17 – Attack – Xaverian – The Penn State bound Sperzel is a goal-scoring machine, who has improved and increased his output, each year, since playing meaningful minutes as a freshman at Xaverian. Look for an even bigger year for the senior.
Trevor Ballantyne ’17 – Rovers – M – Ballantyne was one of the most impressive midfielders in the ISL in 2016, as he helped lead the Rivers offense from his midfield position. Ballantyne is an Ivy recruit, who should be asked to do even more this season for the Red Wings.
Will Thomas ’18 – Cohasset – Midfield – Thomas will lead a dangerous Cohasset offense in 2017. The Providence College commit has the total package from the midfield position and will look to have a breakout season in 2018.