Published April 11, 2019

NORTH READING — The 2019 NRHS boys’ lacrosse team is hoping to build on another fantastic year in which they went 14-7, were co-CAL Kinney champs with Masco, got a 6-seed in the Div. 2 North Tournament and beat Danvers in the first round before falling to Winchester 14-8 in the quarterfinals.

The Hornets lose seven talented players from last season, but return enough experienced players to make another run.

“We really hope to be a balanced team with contributions coming from as many players as possible,” said Hornet head coach Chuck Campobasso. “Unfortunately, we graduated a lot of talent and that will make it our goal to improve every day and hopefully see quick development from some younger guys.”

Back to lead the Hornets in 2019 are senior captains Sean Fagen, Mark Potter and Mike Sheridan.

CAPTAIN SEAN FAGEN returns to lead a talented Hornet attack who averaged an astounding 13.4 goals per game last season. (John Friberg File Photo)

Attackman Fagen and midfielder Sheridan have been two of the league’s top playmakers throughout their careers and will need to bring that same firepower this season.

The two played a big role in helping an NR offense who averaged 13.4 goals per game, which was two goals betters than the next closest team in the CAL.

“Sean Fagen and Mike Sheridan will hopefully help us on the offensive end but we are going to need contributions and stability from many players if we want to be a successful team,” said Campobasso.

Potter is a long stick midfielder and will be a key part of both the offense and defense.

North Reading’s defense has plenty to work on. So much so that the coaching staff needs every defensive player to step up, perhaps none more than sophomore Griffin Murphy who will be counted on a lot this year.

“If we can’t stop the opposing team from scoring then we will not be able to compete,” said Campobasso. “Griffin Murphy has shown growth from last year and Matt Luciano is picking up the game quickly.”

The goalie will once again be senior goalie Matt Supple.

Despite the promise of talent, the Hornets have a long way to go to be able to compete in an extremely talented Div. 2 North. They’re looking for more intensity in practice as they go forward.

“We haven’t looked the way I would expect a North Reading Lacrosse team to look, we have a long way to go,” said Campobasso. “Every game will be tough. We are just looking to improve each day and be a better version of ourselves each game.”

The Hornets have scheduled plenty of tough opponents to get ready for another strong slate of CAL teams. That schedule included a season opener against Danvers on April 4. The Falcons won that one 15-11. The Hornets then play two CAL games at home against Pentucket on Wednesday after press time and Friday, 4 p.m. against Ipswich. They then continue their challenging non-league schedule by playing Gloucester, Wakefield, Bedford and Ashland.

Against the Falcons, Supple made 13 saves but the Hornets couldn’t slow down a strong attack and couldn’t catch up after trailing 9-4 at halftime.

The Hornets made it close in the third, outscoring the Falcons 5-1 but Danvers pulled away in the fourth.

“We couldn’t win faceoffs consistently and our close defensemen really struggled with their attack,” said Campobasso. “We also had issues clearing the ball.”

Fagen had four goals to go along with five assists. Sheridan had three goals and an assist.

Senior midfielder Jay Schille chipped in two goals and senior midfielder Travis Spencer added a goal and an assist.

“We had some good play from Fagen and Sheridan as well as Matt Luciano but it wasn’t enough to change the scoreboard for us,” said Campobasso. “Danvers is a better team and we are going to need more guys to contribute all over the field if we hope to be competitive this year.”