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Jun. 3—We have never seen a high school lacrosse season like this one — ever.

That declaration can be undisputedly made by the mere fact that the entire 2020 spring season was wiped out by the pandemic. That has resulted seniors and juniors who were bit players for their varsity clubs two seasons ago now being asked to play major roles and/or serve as leaders, while sophomores, who last played competitively as eighth graders, are literally learning on the fly with no prior experience.

It’s made for some interesting challenges for both teams and coaches. But as the season has gone on, we’ve also witnessed these 10th, 11th and 12th graders evolve and reveal the skill sets that they possess.

Today, let’s take a look around the North Shore and check in with each squad and mention a senior, a junior and a sophomore who may have been previously unheralded but are now contributing mightily to their clubs. They’re not necessarily the team’s stars or leading scorers, per se, but players whose contributions have made their squads better.


J.T. Monahan, Sr. goalie. Having experienced a boatload of success as a Headers’ hockey defenseman and two-way lineman for the Northeastern Conference football champion Magicians, he’s now led his unbeaten lacrosse team to the top of the Northeastern Conference again. Big, agile and great with his stick.

Remy Poisson, Jr. defense. Has made himself into one of the area’s best defenders by combining strong stick skills, a head for the game and robust on-field energy to shut down the most dangerous attackers.

Baxter Jennings, Soph. FOGO. Outstanding at the circle in terms of technique and grit, he constantly gets possession for the Magicians with his quick hands and feet. Lot of power coming out of his stance and gaining ball possession.


Emmett Schillinger, Soph. defense. The Eagles have so many terrific choices here, with a baker’s dozen of 12th graders on the roster, but we’ll go with the unheralded defensive stopper from Marblehead. Schillinger is a rock in his own end, using strength, athleticism and his long pole to keep scorers at bay.

Thomas Sarni, Jr. attack. He’s patient in the offensive zone, extremely athletic, and draws attention to him before whipping off passes to open teammates. Sarni leads the team in assists (12) and sits third in both goals (13) and total points (25).

Jimmy Ayers, Soph. attack. Hard not to pick the team’s top marksman, who has ripped home 27 goals and handed out seven assists to lead the Eagles in scoring. He’s got moves like Jagger and terrorizes some of the top defenses in the state with his offensive acumen.


Wilton Lestage Sr. attack. Coming into his own as a marksman for the Tigers of late, having assimilated into the team’s offensive flow after not having played varsity ball previously. Makes himself valuable with his stickwork and smarts in the offensive zone.

Ned Donovan, Jr. FOGO. One of a number of faceoff guys on our list, his win percentage seemingly increases with each passing game. In doing so, he gives Ipswich possession more often than not.

Henry Wright, Soph. middie. Has found his scoring touch with increased playing time and has 22 goals to show for it, second most of the squad. Elusive and smart dodger who can avoid slides to give himself open looks at the net.


Anthony Bettencourt, Sr. attack: Came into his senior year wanting to prove he could run with the big boys and has done so, generating 13 goals and 10 assists.

Derek Patturelli, Jr. goalie. One of the big reasons why Peabody won its first six games was his ability to make all the stops he had to. Not a lot of wasted movement between the pipes and plays his angles like a seasoned veteran.

Trotman Smith, Soph. defense. Earned his first start Tuesday against Beverly after showing what he could do coming off the bench earlier in the season. Good instincts, aggressive when the time calls for it, and a steadying presence who doesn’t lose his head in pressure situations.


Liam Hill, Sr. attack. Marblehead native has taken his game to new heights when his team needed him by most by scoring 32 goals in nine games. With classmate Stefano Fabiano hoping to return from injury as early as Thursday, they could be a prolific 1-2 scoring punch for the Crusaders the rest of the way.

Nick Wesley, Jr. defense. No fanfare here; just steady play every time out from the defender from Peabody. Intelligent, he hustles all over his own end to scoop ground balls and clear the zone.

Manny Alvarez-Segee, Soph. attack. Strong facilitator has worked well with Hill, dishing out 12 assists to go with eight goals. Seemingly finds a way to get on the scoresheet every game.


Christian Burke, Sr. middie. He netted three goals two seasons ago, but has become a truly vital part of the offense by increasing that by more than 600 percent in his final high school season. Catch-and-release tendencies make him particularly dangerous.

Jimmy Thibodeau, Jr. middie. Does a lot of the dirty work for the Falcons that can go unnoticed by the casual observer, but his helping hand — especially in the defensive zone — has been a boon for the Falcons.

Colby Dunham, Soph. attack. With one of the area’s best flows spilling out of the back of his helmet, Dunham is a pass-first attacker who knows his way around opposing cages and how to hit open teammates. He’s among the top five of assists guys locally.


Hogan Rose, Sr. middie. Captain was always dependable and trustworthy whether he was asked to lock down defensively or contribute at the other end (10 goals, 7 helpers).

Jack Savoie, Jr. attack. Showed glimpses of his potential as a freshman (5-10-15) two years ago but really burst into the spotlight this spring by leading the Highlanders in goals (23), assists (18) and points (41).

Mekhi Taylor, Soph. middie. The future appears limitless for gifted midfielder after scoring 11 goals and adding four assists in 11 games. He’ll no doubt improve in all facets of the game as he gets bigger, stronger and with more experience at the varsity and club levels.


Kyle Oliphant, Sr. attack. Having not played since his freshman year, Oliphant has been a model of good behavior and even better offensive production for the Panthers as its best scorer (17 goals, 23 points).

Graham Speidel, Jr. defensive middie. Having never played the sport before his freshman year and losing his sophomore season to the pandemic, he’s a self-made man who has become a vital part of the Panthers’ D. Ate two shots in man-down situations Tuesday against Peabody to prevent goals, a testament to his willingness to do anything to help the team.

James Silva, Soph. FOGO/middie. Another of the area’s outstanding young faceoff guys who explodes off the whistle and gains both leverage (through his wrestling background) and ball possession thanks to quick instincts and even quicker hands. Can run it downfield off the drop and rip shots into the net, too.


Grant Landon, Sr. goalie. Picked up where he left off from an all-star campaign in net for the Generals’ hockey team and has been terrific between the pipes. Cuts down angles, makes all the saves he should and a few he probably shouldn’t be able to get to as well.

Peter Gourdeau, Jr. close defense. Big, strong and skilled, Gourdeau also thinks the game extremely well and seemingly always knows where to be in his end of the field. Good communicator with his teammates, too.

Lucas Hunt, Soph. middie. Plays with confidence and does whatever the coaching staff needs from him. Has popped in seven goals to boot.


Vinny Palmer, Sr. middie. Having improved in all aspects of the game, especially at winning faceoffs, Palmer has truly exceeded all expectations. With a team-leading 27 goals, his importance to the squad was evidenced when he won a faceoff against Danvers, gained possession and scored the game-winner just a few seconds into overtime.

Aidan Breault, Jr. goalie. Having transferred back to Swampscott High from St. John’s Prep, he stepped back between the pipes for the first time since middle school this season and has guided the Big Blue to eight wins in their first 10 games. He’s terrific in the clearing game, throwing long passes to breaking middies while also scoring six goals on his own.

Jack Russo, Soph. attack. Having developed into a dual threat in both the dodging and passing aspects of his position, he’s atop the Swampscott leaderboard in assists (14) and total points (33). He’s picked up the offense quickly and broken bad habits from youth lacrosse, said head coach Geoff Beckett.


Teddy Fellows, Sr. defense. Quite possibly the biggest defender in the area at 6-foot-1, 285 lbs., he’s surprisingly fleet of foot and makes his slides easily to cause problems for would-be offensive threats. Uses his long pole — and the obvious strength that comes with being an elite football lineman — to his full advantage.

Andrew Saumsiegele, Jr. attack. Has proven to be a nice complimentary scorer to the Chieftains’ big two of Keo Kiriakos and Andrew Aylwin. Moves the ball around the perimeter nicely, finds holes in the defense and buries his chances.

Cooper Easley, Soph. middie. Worked into the mix and has already shown a glimpse of what his bright future in the sport holds. Responsible defensively and eager to contribute up front when given the chance.


Luke Streng, Sr. middie/defense. Using his short stick to disrupt plays, scoop ground balls, knock the ball away from opponents and making smooth clears, Streng is a vital part of Essex Tech’s ability to keep the ball out of its own end of the field.

Jonathan Daley, Jr. middie. Uses the talents that make him a valuable part of the Hawks’ hockey team on the lacrosse field as well, with his dodging and stick skills allowing him to gt in prime scoring areas.

Josh Heath, Soph. defense. One of two underclassmen (along with freshman Armani Booth) who have helped make the Hawks’ defense a strong point. Continually gets better on his slides and man coverage. — Lax Lowdown, a column on North Shore high school boys lacrosse, appears each Thursday in The Salem News. Contact Executive Sports Editor Phil Stacey at, and follow him on Twitter @PhilStacey_SN