×

Woodstock Boys Lacrosse Has Eyes on Hardware

  • Woodstock's Lucas Piconi drives past Rutland's Tyan Hayford during their game in Woodstock, Vt., on May 14, 2018. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Woodstock's Gabriel Marsicovetere makes a save during their game with Rutland in Woodstock, Vt., on May 14, 2018. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Woodstock head coach Brandon Little talks to his players at a time out during their game with Rutland in Woodstock, Vt., on May 14, 2018. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Woodstock — Lucas Piconi and some of his teammates on this spring’s Woodstock High boys lacrosse team are still riding the high of breaking an 18-year boys hockey championship drought back in March.

Momentum from the winter title run, Piconi admitted, has transferred between seasons, carrying over into a 16-10 boys lax victory over Rutland on Monday afternoon. Woodstock (10-2) is two wins away from its best regular season since 2014. It has also not won a state crown in 19 years — opening the door for the Wasps to break two championship dry spells in a matter of months.

Piconi just doesn’t want to say anything that might get in the way.

“I don’t want to jinx it,” Piconi said with a smile. “I don’t want to talk about that.”

Senior Cullen McCarthy, sophomore Trevor White and freshmen Field Willis, Andrew Gubbins, Riley Shephard and Mason Harkins were all teammates with Piconi on the Woodstock hockey team that went 22-0-1 this past winter. 

“They’re just all great athletes, that’s what it comes down to,” Piconi added. “(Winning a hockey title) also just built a ton of chemistry.  Everyone is real close. We’re all brothers out here.”

The junior attacker scored four goals and assisted on four others to pace Woodstock against the Raiders (3-7) in a game that was largely one-sided. The Wasps, who have won four straight, outshot Rutland, 35-26, and held a 28-21 advantage on ground ball controls. But 10th-year Woodstock head coach Brandon Little said the victory was not his team’s best effort.

“I don’t think we played the best Woodstock lacrosse today,” Little said. “Mental errors, mental mistakes. We’ve got to make better decisions when we’re playing a tougher opponent, because they’re not going to spot us that many.”

The Wasps built a 9-5 lead by halftime thanks in large part to a stingy defensive effort in the second quarter that kept Rutland pinned for long stretches of play. Woodstock led, 5-4, after the first, but pulled away with a 4-1 run before halftime.

“Our transition game, we’re really strong on it,” Little said. “We get a lot of layup goals. We move the ball really well; we like fast-break offense and unsettled situations. It’s something we thrive on.”

Woodstock’s third quarter featured more of the same, as the Wasps largely kept Rutland under wraps. Goals from Piconi, Willis, Caden White and Jed Astbury paced the Woodstock offense after halftime, giving the hosts a 13-6 lead. It led by as many as eight goals early on in the fourth.

The Raiders broke out in the final stanza, scoring three goals in a span of 61 seconds during a 4-2 run. Rutland’s last goal, with 5:04 remaining, cut Woodstock’s lead to 15-10. Piconi later helped stop the bleeding, taking a massive hit at the side of the net before finding a wide-open Micah Schlabach in front with 1:14 left.

“I think we’re finding our rhythm (on offense),” Piconi said. “All three of the attackmen, we can all take the ball and make plays. That’s a great base to have. … I love playing with them.”

McCarthy finished the game with two goals and three assists for the Wasps. White added three goals, Willis netted two and added a helper and Patrick Potter scored twice with two assists.

Woodstock junior goaltender Gabe Marsicovetere made 15 saves, including a hard shot off the chest plate in the third quarter that seemed the rattle the experienced keeper. Rutland goaltender Chris Wilk was credited with 10 saves and was charged with two penalties.

The Wasps were 2-for-8 on the man advantage and added a shorthanded goal — a fast-break score by White — a little less than four minutes into the second quarter.

“It’s a young class,” Little said. “A lot of new players in new roles; everyone is finding their spot. Even today, even this far into the season, we’re still finding players in new situations.”

Woodstock is 0-3 in finals since its last state title in 1999, according to Vermont Principals Association records, and has not made an appearance in the semifinals since 2014. The Wasps graduated 13 athletes — including prolific scorer Dan Robinson, now at St. Lawrence University — from a 2017 squad that went 8-7 in the regular season before falling to BFA-St. Albans in the quarters.

“It’s surprised me,” Piconi admitted on his team’s success this year. “We lost so many seniors that were such a big part of our game last year. I think the junior class and the freshman, everyone just stepped up a ton.”

The Wasps have three regular season games remaining. They next host Middlebury (7-4) on Thursday.

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.