Published in the April 5, 2017 edition
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — The boys’ lacrosse team has returned to the field and is looking to make steady progress in the Cape Ann League this spring.
The Pioneers’ concluded last season with a 12-4 overall record, and were the third seed in the Division 3 North state tournament. Lynnfield fell 4-3 to sixth seed Manchester-Essex in the quarterfinals.
“We lost 17 players from last years team and they will not be easily replaced,” said Pioneers head coach Joe Papagni. “We believe we have a competitive team, but depth will be an issue. We are out working every day evaluating who will be able to step up and compete at the varsity level. There are some pleasant surprises, and some areas where we are still looking.”
Senior captain Kingsley Corona and captain Peter Look will lead the Pioneers this spring. Corona, who is the locals’ starting goalie, is looking forward to getting the season underway.
“We’ve got a young team, but everyone wants to compete and get better,” said Corona. “That’s what we are focusing on in practice.”
“We have a lot of spots to fill with limited numbers, but we want to keep getting better as a team,” said Look.
Senior Ryan Freitas, who has been suiting up for the Pioneers for the past four years, noted “we’re a young team this year with not many returning starters.”
“We need a lot of work to get to where we want to be,” said Freitas. “We definitely have the ability. We just need a bunch of guys who need to step up.”
Senior Jimmy Whelan echoed Freitas’ point of view.
“Our defense was one of the top defenses in Division 3 last year, giving up only four goals a game,” said Whelan. “We have a tremendous amount of work to do before we get to where we want to be, but we can definitely do it.”
Papagni noted Corona will “quarterback the defense from the goalie position.” He said Look is a “full-time offensive and defensive midfielder who is constantly working to better himself.”
Whelen and senior David Mineo will be playing a key role with the Pioneers’ defense, Papagni said.
“Jimmy will start and David will get plenty of action,” said Papagni.
Papagni said newcomer Hunter Allain “has looked exceptional as a crease defenseman.” He said Nick Moreschi, Nick Buonfiglio, sophomore Harry Drislane, Anthony Murphy and Zack Huynh will also be playing key roles on defense.
“Zack and Murph are tough physical kids that have to be on the field,” said Papagni. “I’m counting on their contributions on both sides of the ball.”
Papagni said Freitas will be playing offensive midfield this spring along with Look and Jack Razzaboni.
“Both Jack and Peter missed a good part of last year with injuries, and we expect them to really help our offensive output,” said Papagni.
Papagni said the decision on who will be playing attack is still a question mark.
“We need players who are capable of providing significant offense as well as who are physical enough to implement our aggressive ride system,” said Papagni. “Sophomore Gianluca Alfe has a leg up on the competition, as he is becoming a complete player. Nick Metrano has been injured, so it’s tough to evaluate his ability, but we are counting on him to provide some offense at attack or middie. Ryan Frasier and Peter Razzaboni are also getting a long look at attack. Our back-ups include Brandon Tammaro, Mike Vargas, Steve Barrett and Antonio Deluca.”
Papagni said the Pioneers’ back-up goalie Tom Deady is “ready to compete” if he gets the call. He said he’s impressed with freshman Peter Razzaboni’s face off skills. He said Look and Jack Razzaboni are “ready to step in too” during face offs.
“We have bodies,” said Papagni. “We just have to keep working to get the right mix of defense and offense from those bodies.”
Papagni said the Pioneers’ strengths are “our ability to continue to use the example set by our alumni in a solid work ethic, and emphasis on team offense and team defense.” He also said the Pioneers’ “desire to compete in every instance” is an asset to the locals.
When asked what the locals need to work on, Papagni said, “our weakness is our limited varsity experience.”
“We have to be able to improve and learn from every practice and game,” said Papagni.