2018 D2 State Championship Preview & Picks – C-C vs. Reading

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2018 Division 2 State Championship Preview/Predictions

at Boston University – Nickerson Field – 10:00 a.m.

Concord-Carlisle Patriots (18-5)

vs.

Reading Rockets (15-7)

Concord-Carlisle Patriots (18-5)

D2 Central/East Sectional Champions

Head Coach: Tom Dalicandro (18th Season)

2017 Tournament – D2 C/E Sectional Semifinalists (13-9 overall record)

2016 Tournament – D2 C/E Sectional Finalists (18-3 overall record)

2015 Tournament – D2 C/E Sectional Semifinalists (14-5 overall record)

 

The road to the 2018 Final (tournament scores and articles)

2018 D2 C/E First Round: Concord-Carlisle 11, Bromfield 4

2018 D2 C/E Quarterfinals: Concord-Carlisle 9, Foxboro 6

2018 D2 C/E Semis: Concord-Carlisle 11, Wayland 10 (3OT)

2018 D2 C/E Finals (VIDEO): Concord-Carlisle 14, Westwood 13 (OT)

2018 D2 State Semifinals: Concord-Carlisle 9, Longmeadow 7

 

5 Season Highlights (Boston Lax Clips/Videos)

The Nuts and Bolts: Concord-Carlisle battled through the loaded and deep D2 C/E Sectional bracket and rose to the top. They followed up their Sectional run, earning a spot in Saturday’s D2 State Championship, with an impressive 9-7 win over D2 C/W Sectional champion, Longmeadow. C-C has excelled on the road this postseason in true Road Warrior fashion, having pulled out big wins with their amazing balance, unselfishness, and staple “stingy defense”.

C-C’s defense is led by senior goalie Ben Kacher and senior defenseman Henry Nelson. Kacher has had one of the best tournament runs of any goalie this season, and Nelson provides a strong and steady pole, who has helped neutralize some of the best attackmen in the state.

C-C was dealt a tough hand in the injury department this season, having lost sophomore standouts Mason Dorr (Defense) and Cole Pascucci (FOGO) to season-ending injuries. The Patriots have displayed impressive resiliency, however, and have had players step-up to the challenge and exceed expectations in the face of loss. LSM/Faceoff middie Welles Hatch has been one such player who has stepped up and done a great job. Hatch’s work at the faceoff X, along with his play in transition and on the ball have all been noteworthy.

Offensively, the balanced Patriots have received raised contributions from a number of players, including middies Robert Doherty, Derek Stout, Alexi Hunt, Noah Alter and attackmen Matt Moreau, Brad Labadini and Jack Bowen. Doherty and Labadini both have OT winning goals this postseason on their resume.

The X Factor: Sophomore attackman Devin Smith has returned to action this week and provided C-C with another postseason offensive weapon. Smith, who had a breakout sophomore campaign, gives C-C the all-important lefty attackman to compliment Bowen, Moreau, and company up front.

Legacy: Concord-Carlisle is one of the most storied programs in Massachusetts lacrosse, having won State Championships in 1982, 1987, 1998 and 2012. Their most recent State title in 2012 capped off an undefeated 22-0 season, where they did not give up more than seven goals in a game all season.

Coach Dalicandro picked up his 250th career win earlier this season, and the chatter among many across the state is that this season may be the best coaching job of his decorated career.

While C-C has no Eastern Mass. All-Americans this season, they have a loaded sophomore class, led by Bowen, Smith, Dorr etc., which does not bode well for opposing programs the next couple of years.

 

Reading Rockets (15-7)

D2 North Sectional Champions

Head Coach Charlie Hardy (18th Season)

2017 Tournament – D1 North Sectional Semifinalist (16-4 overall record)

2016 Tournament –  D1 North Sectional Finalist (19-2 overall record)

2015 Tournament – D1 North Sectional Semifinalist (20-1 overall record)

 

The road to the 2018 Final (tournament scores and articles)

2018 D2N Quarterfinals: Reading 14, Marblehead 6

2018 D2N Semifinal: Reading 11, Melrose 6

2018 D2N Final: Reading 10, Winchester 7

2018 D2 State Semifinals (VIDEO): Reading 11, Scituate 9

 

5 Season Highlights (Boston Lax Clips/Videos)

The Nuts and Bolts: The Rockets are another surging team who have faced plenty of adversity this season, and have overcome it. They are looking to be at full strength heading into Saturday’s Championship game. The 1-2 punch of senior Jack Geiger and junior Mike Tobin is as good as any you will find in the state. Both UMass Amherst commits are hungry and playing at the top of their games, despite facing hyper-focused defensive efforts from opposing defenses.

Complementing Geiger and Tobin is the enhanced offensive play of Colin Comerford and Domenic Masucci this season. Both players stepped up BIG against Scituate in the D2 State semis, and have raised their games throughout the season. Veteran Jack Stanton is another skilled offensive threat, who has lifted his game this season, along with Joe Bean and Dan Cranitch out of the midfield.

Chris Connery has been a staple at LSM for the Rockets throughout his high school career and the senior will be counted on to help control the surging Patriot midfield. Defenseman Noah Donovan has also stepped up his play, in both settled situations and in transition.

The X Factor: The improved play of sophomore goalie Charlie Giuliotti has been instrumental in the close games which the Rockets have won this postseason. The youngster looks to be comfortable in the cage in big games and is looking to cement himself along with the great lineage of Reading goalies, highlighted recently by former stars like Matt Comerford and CJ Hart, who set a very high bar.

Legacy: With over 300 wins Charlie Hardy is “the father” of Reading lacrosse. One of the true gentlemen in the game, Hardy has built a program in Reading that compliments their exceptional athletic program. The Rockets are tough, resilient and ready to represent the Middlesex League in Saturday’s Championship. With proud lacrosse families like the Tobin’s and Geiger’s Reading has truly transformed into a lacrosse hotbed, beginning at the youth level.

After graduating Hart and UMass freshman standout Kevin Tobin, among others, it is truly impressive to see Reading bounce back from an up-and-down regular season, to now having the opportunity to play for the State Championship.

 

The Staff Picks

Ryan Kilian – @masspreps – BostonLax & Mass Prep Stars – Concord-Carlisle – After two dramatic overtime wins C-C looks like a team of destiny. C-C has one of the best-coached team defenses in the State, and their impressive and improved overall balance should help add another Championship trophy to the stacked “case” in Concord. Reading is tough, resilient, and also surging at the right time, and this will be a close one. Buckle up to start your Saturday morning!

Nate Weitzer – @nweitzer7 – Boston Globe – Concord-Carlisle –  While both teams went through the ringer in their sectional bracket, Concord Carlisle was a bit more battle tested. The Patriots’ experience and their coaching acumen should allow them to devise a solid defensive scheme and prevail.

Jake Levin – @jakelevin09 – Norwood Record, BostonLax & Boston Globe – Concord-Carlisle – The C-C faithful will probably wish I kept picking against them, but there’s something to be said for being the last team standing out of that Division 2 C/E sectional.

Kevin Stone – @kstone06 – Metro West News & BostonLax – Reading – The Rockets have been clawing to get to this point for years. No better time to finish the job than now.

Mike Flanagan –@fLAno0  – Hometown Weekly & BostonLax – Concord-Carlisle – It seems as if fate is on the side of Concord-Carlisle with all of the insane overtime games they’ve been able to come out on top of. I think that trend continues on Saturday in a nail-biter.