FRAMINGHAM – The Framingham High boys lacrosse team will open its COVID-19 shorten season on the road Friday, May 7, against Bay State Conference rival Natick High.
Coach AJ Mulvey is very excited for the game. The 2020 season should have been his debut as coach but due to the pandemic Friday’s game will be his first as head coach, as the entire 2020 season was cancelled.
“I was hired last season so losing our 2020 season was devastating. While we never got to play last year, we did a lot of zoom sessions with hope of a season. So, we started to build our team chemistry last spring,” said Mulvey. “Our athletics department has been awesome and really supported us a number of ways, from COVID Pool Testing to all the MIAA rule changes and much more. And we are lucky to have a lot of great tools like Zoom, Remind messaging app & Hudl to continuing our coaching & learning process even when we lost last season. The pandemic has made it harder, but this is a shared difficulty across the entire state, and we are just so grateful for the opportunity to play sports again.”
Mulvey had 43 athletes try out the last week of April for the three squads – varsity, JV, and freshman.
There are 59 athletes on the three squads for the 2021 season, include 25 on varsity, said Mulvey.
There are a dozen seniors on varsity in 2021.
The team will be led by two-time captain Darren Palma, Jared Shimelman, Brady Morgan, and Sean Clark.
“Palma is arguably one of the best lacrosse players in the state,” said Mulvey.
Palma is committed to #5 ranked Division III University of Lynchburg next year to play long-stick midfield (defense).
“Darren excelled at box lacrosse all winter which enabled him to transition from defense into the leader of our offense,” said Mulvey.
“Shimelman is a 2x hockey captain and was ranked #8 defenseman in the state last year in hockey. While Jared may be known for hockey, he is about to make his mark on the lacrosse field this spring,” said Mulvey.
“Clark is a late bloomer and only non-returning varsity player to be voted captain by his peers – which says a lot about Sean as a person,” said Mulvey. “Sean is a versatile player with a unique ability to dodge, shoot and dish out assists.”
Mulvey has 9 returning varsity athletes from the 2019 season.
One of them is senior captain Brady Morgan, who will see a lot of time in net for the Flyers.
“Morgan is the returning starting goalie from 2019 (sophomore year),” said Mulvey. “At 6’3” 265, Brady is a big righty goalie with great coverage of the goal. Brady brings experience and poise to our defense.”
Morgan is committed to play D3 lacrosse at Nichols College.
Morgan “excelled in box lacrosse this winter,” said Mulvey. “Brady is a multisport athlete – football & wrestling.”
Junior Kyle Patriarca, a transfer from St John’s Shrewsbury, will also see time as goalie, said Mulvey.
Patriarca “is a 5’10” 190 lefty with more of a sporadic style. Kyle is a very vocal goalie also to command our defensive unit,” said Mulvey.
Mulvey will rely on his goalies and the defensive unit to keep the Flyers in every game.
Coach Mulvey said the Flyers “defense could be the best in the conference and arguably one of the best defensive units in the state.”
The defense is led by Shimelman, “who has a presence is hard to go unnoticed at 6 foot 190 pounds. Jared is big but quick and a knack for delivering legal body checks.”
Coach Mulvey said “senior Connor Flynn has the speed and quickness to lock down opposing offensive players but is also a vacuum cleaner on ground balls. We expect Connor to create open field transition offensive opportunities.”
Coach Mulvey said “junior PJ Farese is on a different level and probably our true ‘cover guy. PJ enjoys taking sticks out of his teammates’ hands at practice and we expect him to do the same against our opponents.”
“Sophomore John Yerardi is starting at long stick midfield,” said Mulvey. “Small but as tough as they come and has the quickness to cover with anyone. We expect John to lock down opponent’s top midfielders and create transition offense.”
Coach Mulvey said sophomore Charlie Cosgrove will be the Flyers’ first defender to come off the bench. “Charlie is a big kid at 6 foot 160 pounds with great footwork. Charlie will play a big part in our man down penalty killing situations,” said Mulvey.
“Last but not least, we have 6 solid defensive midfielders – five seniors & one junior – Thomas Chase, Pete Sinesi, Temi Kayas, Brett Williams, Nick Tessitore and Noah Pearlman, respectively. Some would argue that the defensive midfield unit is the most underrated position. And we are lucky to have a very talented group.,” said the head coach.
Mulvey said the team’s “free-flowing motion offense is based on Canadian box principals and really embraces a ‘hockey’ mentality which is a perfect fit for Framingham.”
“We will have players stepping up, but our style of play is extremely unselfish and incorporates a ton of ball movement and two-man games – resulting in shared results,” said Mulvey.
Senior captain Palma will be expected to score every game and often.
“Palma is such a natural lacrosse player; he could start at any position. He is our best long pole defender, yet we expect him to lead our offense and create serious matchup problems for our opponents. He is just too quick for one defender to handle and has a knack for pegging corners. Darren is an All-American caliber player,” said Mulvey.
“Junior Mason Moy has also moved from long pole to our offense and another natural lacrosse player that could play anywhere. Mason’s lacrosse IQ puts him in the right spot at the right time and we expect him to score early and often,” said Coach Mulvey.
Junior Joey Ferrante will be the Flyers’ face-off specialist.
Ferrante is a “midfielder with an absolute cannon coupled with great off-ball awareness on the crease. Joey’s first step will draw help defenders to open our entire offense up for ball movement; and solid ball movement results in a lot of goals,” said Mulvey.
The head coach said sophomore Billy Neiberger is young but experienced. He is a “face-off specialist but expected to score his fair share of goals. Billy is one of the players that can play anywhere – he can dodge, shoot or play inside and do damage on the crease,” said Mulvey.
The only only freshman to make varsity was Owen Warren.
“He is young but a big 5’10” lefty with a lot of field and box lacrosse experience. Owen plays great off-ball and is a strong lefty shooter,” said Coach Mulvey.
The Flyers “attack unit is led by senior captain Sean Clark who brings poise and balance to our team offense. As started before, Sean can dish out assists or take it himself and is truly a versatile player,” said Mulvey.
Coach Mulvey said “Tommy Duane is our outside sharpshooter who also has a knack for getting open inside. Tommy just has a way of finding the back of the net and we expect a ton of goals out of him.”
“Sophomore Davin Nichols, a transfer from Hillside School, adds a very interesting dynamic to our team offense as he is constantly moving off-ball and creating space and setting picks for his teammates,” said Mulvey. “Davin is an extremely unselfish player delivering touch passes but also has the ability to rifle shots himself.”
“Senior Vinny Yerardi is also expected to contribute to our offense but has been recovering from a broken hand during Fall 2 Football season. Vinny is a strong lefty that thrives in our system with a unique ability to find screenshots. We expect to work Vinny back into the mix next week in preparation for our first home game against Milton,” said Mulvey.
The COVID shorten season has the Flyers with 10 games, 9 in the Bay State Conference, and one game against Catholic Memorial.
The season opener is May 7 at 4 p.m. at Natick High. Fans are restricted.
The home opener is Thursday, May 13 at 5:15 p.m. at Phil Read Field against the Wildcats of Milton High.
If the Flyers do well, there is a Bay State tourney, and a state post-season.
Mulvey said he wanted to thank “the entire Framingham Youth Lacrosse organization for being a true partner. Our mutual goal is one Framingham lacrosse program.”
“Over the years, I have had the unique opportunity to coach alongside some of the game’s best coaches. I believe my college coach Jamie Munro has cracked the code with his box-field hybrid system – which I admittedly steal from. I got to play for Coach Munro at Denver and then coach alongside him as he built up 3dLacrosse. My experience coaching with Jamie has made a dramatic impact on my coaching style and philosophy,” said Mulvey. “Lastly, I couldn’t have asked for a better coaching staff. My head assistant Dan Nguyen has been with the program since 2017 and given our program some much-needed continuity and really gives me the balance I need as a head coach.”
The Flyers will have “an army of volunteer coaches including many former alumni standouts including Tim Tierney, Kevin Morgan, Tom Curran and Matt Beaudet. And we are just as excited to add Scott DeLaura, Cal Howes and John Coakley to our Framingham lacrosse family,” said Mulvey just cant wait to until Friday afternoon.